The Growth Dilemma

By Matt Townend, Director of Research & Consulting at Cavell

“We just returned from our Cloud Comms Summit in Virginia and I am so grateful to the support of my friends in the industry, and my amazing team.  As usual the event left me with a few key questions circulating in my mind, the one that stands out is “how can Service Providers take advantage of the large market growth (upwards of 30% year on year) that we are seeing?

The key Dilemma, which I also referenced in my keynote, is how do you differentiate your company in a consolidating and increasingly competitive market place. I highlighted that we see providers pursing strategies differentiating across both their Operating Model and their go to market approaches. To demonstrate this clearly, we presented a simple model below which identifies some of the areas in which we see differentiation. 

Highlight the key elements of a SPs GoTo Market and Operating Model

Throughout the two day event, we heard from different providers who gave us practical examples of how they were doing this and a few themes kept returning: 

Trust Economy 
As we saw in our new Enterprise research, which we previewed at the event, peers and colleague in your profession are the most important influencing group in the decision-making process for communications services purchasing decisions. This category massively outweighed the importance of supplier sales people, IT magazines, events etc and highlighted just how important having a strong reputation is amongst your customers. They are one of your most important Business Development tools. 

Vertical propositions both Technical & Commercial 
It was clear amongst all the companies that spoke with us that a real focus on segmenting your market and then building specific value propositions for each segment was crucial to their success. This segmentation is often done on a vertical basis, and is particularly relevant where the Service Provider is looking to sell in a larger segment. We had Armen Martirosyan CEO of BluIP present to us describing how they had built services for the hospitality sector, with specific technical integrations and developments being crucial to the success they have seen in that vertical. Jim Murphy from Broadvoice spoke about how they had built marketing and commercial offerings for verticals rather than technical integrations and used customer references to drive growth in each segment.  Jim also gave some really good advice which is to find out where your identified segment hang-out or meet-up – be that online, or at physical events – and then position yourself in that same area. As Service providers look to move up-market a vertical strategy seems to be a key focus they all share, this was backed up by the CCA Service Provider survey which was also launched at the event. This research demonstrated that vertical is one of the key strategic initiatives of SPs.

Tell a Simple Story 
One of the other key messages from many sources at the show was to ensure your message and proposition is really easy to understand by the enterprise. Sounds obvious and simple advice but also we were reminded of  how many times companies can get too focussed on feature overkill and forget the key value proposition. 

AI/CPaaS and Mobility key areas of Product Differentiation 
In terms of product and platform differentiation the main areas of focus service provider were looking at were around the opportunity offered by AI and CPaaS and what their strategy for mobility was. We also had a really interesting breakout track on the role of SD-WAN which is about to grow in momentum across Europe, and we have recently released some research on.

One of the most interesting panels was on whether you should buy, manage or build your platform. With an interesting split between vendors who are offering a fully outsourced model to those offering the capability for SPs to manage it themselves. One point made was the importance of future integration and extendibility because you need to be able to integrate into the next “slack” or equivalent new cloud application.

Over the next few months we will be returning to the subject of differentiation as providers look to hone their go to market and operating strategy. If you would like to find out more about our enterprise or SD-WAN strategy just simply drop me an email matthew.townend@cavellgroup.com or visit www.cavellgroup.com.”

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