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Rumors of Adomo's Demise are Dispelled

Adomo told me that they are reorganizing and restructuring operations in order to adapt to customers and the changing environment. The company has strong products and a good customer base, and customers are very happy with the product, especially the business continuity aspect. Everything except sales and marketing remains unchanged, with engineering and customer service staying untouched. Adomo notes that its clients are generally large enterprises with complex environments, and it has been a challenge to most effectively reach that market and fill their needs in a timely, cost-effective manner. Adomo now needs to figure out what are the best options to reach these companies.

Adomo is one of the few independent vendors not tied to a PBX company. I was introduced to the company when they first began operations and was impressed with their product, which leverages Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, and Active Directory. I was also impressed with some of the people on the Adomo board, especially Chairman Bob Cohn, who was CEO and founder of Octel - if anyone knows and understands the messaging market, it's Bob. However, like many others in the industry, I have had my concerns about the viability of Adomo once Microsoft announced and introduced Microsoft Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging, which competes directly with the Adomo offering, but at a much lower price point. While the Adomo product certainly has some advantages over the Microsoft UM product, it became a much harder sell once Microsoft got into the UM business.

Adomo's products include patented technology with out-of-the-box Exchange and Active Directory connectivity without requiring schema changes, as well as integration with any PBX, whether TDM or IP. There are also some impressive mobility capabilities, including SmartNumber with a "Priority Caller" feature that immediately routes user-defined priority callers to a preferred number while other callers get sent to voicemail. Adomo BlackBerry "Play on Phone" enables users to play the voice message attached to email on the BlackBerry (pre-4.2 and pre-Pearl BlackBerries cannot play voice messages attached to an email). Adomo notes that its "secret sauce" is the fact that the architecture is serverless. The UM server has been replaced with a hardened Linux plug and play appliance. It is a dedicated platform and no data is stored on this appliance so no backups are required. Also, instead of integrating each and every UM server in the network, Adomo has only a single touchpoint to Exchange. This means Exchange integration is done once, even if there are multiple sites and multiple appliances, simplifying deployment and maintenance. If Exchange or the network fail for some reason, the Adomo appliance goes into off-line mode, with full voicemail functionality.

The company recently raised a new round of $15 million from Menlo Ventures and Storm Ventures, which was going to be used to expand product development, marketing and sales efforts, but now I assume will be used less for sales and marketing and more for product development and supporting customers who have deployed the company's products. As the company scales back sales and marketing and looks at options for how to get to market quicker and better, it will look into options like partnerships with larger companies, a channel strategy focusing on indirect sales, and other alternatives (which I assume means acquisition partners). In addition, Adomo wants to focus on supporting its current customers and those in deployment and make sure that engineering can develop the features and roadmap desired without spending too much effort on go-to-market.

I'm not sure which company would be the best fit as an acquisition partner at this point. Most switch and telephony vendors already have their own UM products, and there aren't very many companies willing to go up against Microsoft head on. While Adomo certainly has its share of challenges ahead, hopefully the restructuring will help it find better and faster ways to market.