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Top 10 UC Events of 2018: Page 2 of 2
6. Mitel Goes Private -- Trying to shift from a predominantly premises-based business model to a cloud-first one is akin to changing the wings on a plane while it’s flying. It can be done, but any hiccups can have disastrous consequences. This was the dilemma Mitel was facing, particularly as a publicly traded company under the watchful eye of Wall Street. In April, Searchlight Capital ponied up about $2 billion for Mitel to take it private. Mitel’s CEO Rich McBee, CFO Steven Spooner, and CMO Wes Durow make up a solid management team, and now the company has the opportunity to make the tough decisions it needs to in order to compete better in the future.
7. RingCentral Breaks Away from the Pack in UCaaS -- A year ago, RingCentral and 8x8 were neck and neck for UCaaS leadership, with Vonage being a close third. Over the past 12 months, RingCentral has blitzed the industry with marketing, been aggressive with channel, and stepped on the product gas to break away from the pack. According to Yahoo Finance, this year the company is projected to grow 33%, compared to 19% for 8x8 and 5% for Vonage. Of the challengers to RingCentral, Vonage spent much of the past few years re-tooling through a mix of acquisitions and home-grown products. Its UCaas + CCaaS + CPaaS go-to-market is differentiated, and CEO Alan Masarek has done a nice job bringing in the new without disrupting the older products. This should set up a good battle for years to come, but right now, it’s advantage RingCentral.
8. Zoom Zooms into UC -- Many of the vendors that play in the UC ecosystem are one-trick ponies. Zoom is an excellent example of this, as the company offers a competitive, easy-to-use online meeting platform. Its aggressive marketing, combined with LogMeIn’s bumbling of the GoToMeeting business, created an opportunity for the niche vendor and its business has been zooming since. This year, at its second annual Zoomtopia user conference, the company launched a number of new products, including Zoom Voice and Zoom Rooms, making it a full-fledged UCaaS vendor. Voice is very easy to do, but as so many have found out, quality voice that scales is very difficult to do, so it will be interesting to see if Zoom can convert its meetings base of customers to UC.
9. Twilio Flexes its Contact Center Muscles -- Enterprise Connect has become a platform for vendors to launch major products. Twilio chose the 2018 event to launch its contact center offering, Flex. As contact center analyst Sheila McGee-Smith points out in her No Jitter post, Twilio’s hypothesis is that the high end of the contact center market has remained dominated by on-premises solutions because the current crop of CCaaS offerings can’t scale up to tens of thousands of seats. Also, Twilio can offer a level of customization not typically found with CCaaS services. Will customers gravitate toward this type of building block approach? Lyft and Shopify have, and it will be interesting to see how many other businesses follow.
10. The UC Industry Says Goodbye to Brian Riggs -- Of all the industries I cover, none have the same kind of family feel as UC does. This year we sadly had to say goodbye to long-time analyst Brian Riggs, who passed in a tragic accident. I didn’t know Brian as well as many of you, but I did know he was liked by everyone and never heard a negative word about him. Enterprise Connect GM Eric Krapf wrote a wonderful post about him. He was just one person, but he added a lot to this little family of ours.