Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>

Matt Brunk | March 27, 2014 |


Competitive Forces in the Telecommunications Shark Tank

Competitive Forces in the Telecommunications Shark Tank VARs/Interconnects are vying with Managed Services Providers to develop more cost-effective service delivery models, especially for SMBs.

VARs/Interconnects are vying with Managed Services Providers to develop more cost-effective service delivery models, especially for SMBs.

Hosted models are gaining momentum, and the pay-as-you-go rationale to gain a comfortable method of predicting business expenses and cutting them instantly is prevailing--at least in theory.

N-able Technologies, acquired by SolarWinds, seems to think that growing the business of traditional VARs and Interconnects is a good idea, too. A key reason is to sell some managed services to their existing installed base of customers before these customers are lured away to cloud services.

The other market that N-able is after are managed services providers (MSPs) that instinctively know the law of the jungle: Be proactive with customer service and deploy the right network and management tools to support those customers, else fall prey to some other MSP that is doing a better job of servicing. The distinct difference between VARs/Interconnects and MSPs is that many VARs/Interconnects are less proactive and focus on service-based offerings, according to N-able's market research.

I asked the folks at N-able an age-old question: "Who's going to pay?" Unlike large enterprises in some cases, the SMB is thinking only of the bottom line, and they tend to develop a myopic view of the value of delivered services over the life of ownership. They often miss the true cost of doing business--until chronic and expensive problems develop into budgetary nightmares. Unlike the more expensive model built for larger enterprises, N-able's pricing model is structured to meet the needs of the SMB with a pay-as-you-go platform that can expand or contract.

The other dilemma that resurfaces and continues to plague the SMB about moving to IP telephony, UC and convergence is, "Does the cost of troubleshooting go up, and if so, how much?"

The answer isn't simple, but it can be divided into parts. First, a substantial amount of effort and cost are wasted on finding root cause issues. Then, because there is a lack of proactive network monitoring tools, anytime a business or technician, network manager or vendor/provider reacts to an issue, the cost is usually higher. Time to resolve issues and the impact on business are metrics that range from hard to soft. Mean time to resolve is easily quantifiable, but business impacts can be subjective.

Still, N-able believes that they can effectively help VARs/Interconnects use the pay-as-you-go model to hang on to their existing customers, and still increase revenue and customer retention/satisfaction--thus providing value.

The other idea that N-able seems to focus on is that VARs/Interconnects need to begin shifting to a more cloud-based business to survive and thrive. In past posts, I've written about the shark tank in which telecommunications resides, and its competitive nature. The investment into cloud services can range from very low to very high.

What I see evolving in cloud services are improved and useful metrics such as those in Thinking Phone Networks. Then, when I consider that our provider Jive Communications provides us with our cloud-integrated Panasonic IP-PBX, I know that cloud services will not remain static.

In fact, I anticipate growth in what cloud services offer in the way of customization and practical needs for providing relevant data on what benefits SMBs and large enterprises. I think imparting relevant information to facilitate better decision making will be the future, with less emphasis on network management tools themselves.

Network management tools are mature, and while there is room for improvement (simplification, lower cost, proper notification to the right person to resolve, and automation), I believe that the real growth will be knowledge data to empower business owners to make better decisions and to become more proactive and less reactive.

N-able extends a trial period to evaluate their services here. The picture that N-able paints is that VARs/Interconnects must get on board with proactive services or the competitive advantages that MSPs offer will pressure businesses to buy in. Cloud services will create new differentiations that will distinguish best of class from the many generic offerings that reap only monthly subscription revenues with predictable turnover of unhappy customers for the sake of churning cash.

Using numbers only is a game that fails to recognize the need for information that empowers business owners and enterprises to improve their businesses, services and processes. Competitive forces may impel everyone to deliver on a newer model and method.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
Matt Brunk on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
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 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.