Like many others, I follow various industry blogs to keep on top of trends and market news, and one of particular interest is by True North Advisors. True North Advisors is former BroadSoft c-level executives Michael Tessler, Scott Hoffpauir, and Jim Thole, for those who might not know. The firm provides strategic business guidance, thought leadership around technology, and insight from their learnings from the BroadSoft era.
I have enjoyed working with them throughout my years in the industry and the rest of the BroadSoft team before Cisco’s acquisition in February 2018. Recently a blog post by Scott Hoffpauir, entitled “The Rise and Fall of BroadWorks,” caught my eye. Given that BroadSoft was a leader among its peers in the Unified Communications (UC) market, the title was quite jarring regarding their flagship solution. At the same time, I believe it accurately encompasses what I’ve witnessed during my late tenure at CounterPath and now Alianza.
In my opinion, the downfall of BroadWorks is due to three key areas:
1. Cisco is now competing with customers.
Service providers are now in the awkward position of competing with Cisco, their platform provider. This is not an ideal position to be in, as it limits the go-to-market leverage for service providers. Beyond losing the customer, it also produces acute conflicts around the strategic aspect of the relationship. For example, the inherent lack of trust impedes successful partnerships, roadmap innovation, and general information flow.
2. The new business model around BroadSoft is not flexible and does not map to service providers’ business strategies.
With competition from the current generation’s UCaaS providers (RingCentral, 8×8, Fuze, etc.), service providers struggle with the aforementioned competitive issues and developing a win-win model with legacy vendors. From my perspective, BroadWorks is not getting the innovation and investment that service providers need to compete. BroadSoft’s UC One has been effectively abandoned by Cisco – with aspirations to move customers to WebEx. The economic problem is very different from what BroadSoft offered initially, and now service providers are stuck choosing between a low growth model or giving more money to Cisco.
3. The UC market has moved on, looking for next-generation solutions that meet end-user workflows (especially the frontline worker segment).
In the blog, “The Rise and Fall of BroadWorks,” Scott asks an important question: “So, what’s next? If history is any indicator, there will be a new generation of solutions emerging soon.”
The Alianza and CounterPath combined platform represents the next generation of cloud-first, UCaaS solutions, targeted to service providers, delivering a full-stack offering. The offering incorporates customer success and enablement – a new approach for service providers. The combination is more financially attractive, focused on growth for service providers providing a solid competitive answer against the OTT apps like MS Teams, Zoom, Slack, and others. The focus is on enabling all UC users – from the knowledge worker (i.e., the 20% that is the primary focus today) to frontline workers (made up of service and task workers). Frontline workers make up 80% of the untapped UC market, and are eager to leverage the best solution mix. Businesses will be re-evaluating their communications infrastructure as they deal with the now normal of hybrid work environments forced by the Covid-19 pandemic. They will be looking for voice, mobility, secure messaging, and cloud meetings, all seamlessly delivered to the end-user
The future belongs to the service providers and their customers
Alianza is leading the way, creating the next-generation cloud communications platform. It’s rare for a company to be in a position where its highly innovative solutions serve an immediate market opportunity – one that’s differentiated against the competition, and positions service providers to grow revenue rapidly. I am excited to be part of Alianza to drive market transformation.
I look forward to sharing our company and product vision with the industry — these are exciting times for all service providers.