SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jim  Burton
JIM BURTONFounder and CEO, CT Link, LLCCo-Founder, UCStrategiesJim Burton is Founder and CEO of CT Link, LLC. Burton founded the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Jim Burton | September 20, 2011 |

 
   

Major Vendors Are Looking for Partners

Major Vendors Are Looking for Partners All the major UC vendors need a combination of hardware and software partners to help them deliver a complete solution.

All the major UC vendors need a combination of hardware and software partners to help them deliver a complete solution.

Vendor partnerships have long been a key element in the communications and collaboration landscape. In the early to mid '90s, the PBX vendors looked for partners to help them move into CTI. During the Dot -com bubble, vendors looked for partners and strategic acquisitions to help them move into VoIP. Cisco's acquisition of Selsius, 3Com's acquisition of NBX, and Polycom's acquisition of Circa Communications are prime examples.

Today the major vendors are looking for strategic partners to help them round out their unified communications offerings. IBM and Microsoft, because they're not in the hardware business, need partners to deliver endpoints and gateways. All the major UC vendors need a combination of hardware and software partners to help them deliver a complete solution.

Cisco and Microsoft got into the web collaboration business through acquisition--Microsoft acquired PlaceWare and Cisco scooped up WebEx. Cisco also bought Tandberg to help round out their video offering, while IBM and Microsoft partnered with Polycom.

If history it is an indicator and if you look at today's UC market, there are still a number of strategic partnership opportunities. Contact centers are an excellent example. When Cisco entered the IP-PBX market they did not have a contact center offering so they bought GeoTel, and developed several strategic partnerships, including Spanlink.

Neither IBM nor Microsoft have contact center offerings; they both depend on strategic partners. Microsoft has developed a special program just for contact center partners. Again, it's history as an indicator; vertical market solutions are a huge area of opportunity.

There's a long list of UC vendors that is looking for strategic partners. For example, in addition to the companies listed above, Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, HP, Mitel and Siemens all have product roadmaps that include products that could be delivered by a strategic partner in the near-term and then replaced by an internally developed product down the road. It is important for the partner to understand this and look for ways to keep in front of the major vendors' product roadmap.

The major vendors want partners they can work with over time as their product offerings evolve. They're looking for -long-term strategic relationships, but that can be a very tricky process. The good news is that all the major vendors are very upfront about their plans and where they can use help in the future.

But the larger vendors are a challenge to work with, because they're big organizations--there's a built-in bureaucracy. The biggest challenge for small companies is finding the right person to talk to, but even when that person is identified, the smaller company often only gets one chance to get its message across.

Having been involved in this courtship process for more than two decades, I have seen smaller companies have success in building partnerships when they:

1. Figure out where there is a fit for their product in the major vendor's offering. This may seem obvious but you'd be amazed how often it's overlooked. The major vendors spend a lot of time thinking about and developing their product roadmap and about what they need to offer a more complete solution. Smaller companies may think they understand what the bigger vendor wants and needs, but all too often, they're wrong. If the two vendors are out of sync, the likelihood of creating a successful partnership shrinks. 2. So to avoid that happening to you, I recommend that you focus on what your company and its products can do rather than trying to build a presentation that emphasizes how your product fits with a major vendor's strategy. This approach opens up the conversation and can often lead to an opportunity the smaller vendor did not know existed.

There are many great partnership opportunities out there. Good luck.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.