A Message from Duane Barnes, SVP, Technology
As many of you know, I’m responsible for technology here at RapidScale, and in that position I often get peppered with questions related to why we have chosen to support or not support certain technologies, point solutions, and/or a myriad of other cloud-based services. I’ll preface my forthcoming comments with the fact that we do not have a direct sales force. We rely solely on the indirect channel to bring us into managed cloud opportunities. With that said, we are frequently asked by our sales partners why we do not offer hosted voice services.
Hosted voice, now commonly referred to as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), is by far the most crowded solution set in the indirect sales channel, with new providers cropping up all the time. Most technology distributors have dozens of UCaaS providers in their portfolios for their sales partners to choose from. How do you differentiate in a crowded market? There are many answers to that question, some good, some flawed. Some of the UCaaS providers tout their slick provisioning portals, others use their carrier networks as the answer, and still others venture into our space in an attempt to bundle cloud-based IT services with their voice services. More often than not, the most successful ones answer the question with the point that they are focused on voice only and are best of breed in the particular market segments they focus on.
What I will say emphatically is that the most successful hosted voice providers focus 100% on hosted voice, and even more on specific market segments. Those providers have learned from others not to allow a network, security solution, or managed IT solution to cause them to lose focus on what they are best at.
If for no other reason that that basic fact, we here at RapidScale are 100% focused on managed cloud IT services, which do not include hosted voice solutions. You can apply this line of thinking to just about any other industry. Consider all of the traditional network carriers that have sold off their data center and cloud practices (CenturyLink, Verizon, and Windstream to name a few). Those carriers realized that, while the services were definitely complimentary, it was difficult to be the best-of-breed provider with multiple services that are vastly different from each other. Depreciation schedules for burying fiber in the ground, for example, are very different from ones related to standing up compute, storage, software and network gear, even if it’s for the same customer.
The moral of this post is simple. Work with best-of-breed products and services, from focused companies. You don’t want to be a small fish in a big pond, a big fish in a small pond, or a cloud customer with a voice company. Bundling may sound like a good idea, especially when related to the old adage of one throat to choke, but at the end of the day it is simply a marketing strategy; and while it may work in the fast food extra value meal business, it simply does not have the customer’s best interests in mind when related to managed IT services.