11 Reasons to be a White Label UCaaS Reseller with SkySwitch

11 ReasonsOur frenemies over at Coredial posted a great blog enumerating 10 Reasons to be a White Label Partner for UCaaS Solutions.   The compendium, available in full here, is so good that I have incorporated it into this blog post.

However, it misses one reason that is unique to SkySwitch and possibly the most important reason why you will want choose SkySwitch vs Coredial.  Read on to #11 below to learn why SkySwitch is the best partner for you to take advantage of the rapidly growing market for UCaaS.

1. Leverage your existing relationships.

With the UCaaS market size expected to grow to USD $24.88 Billion in 2020, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.5% from 2015 to 2020, it’s likely that your current customers are interested in UCaaS solutions — or will be soon. If they already see you as a trusted partner, that’s a good reason for them to consider you for delivering UCaaS solutions to them. After all, you know their business. You know how they work. You know where they are going, and how UCaaS solutions can help them get there. The same statistics cited above indicate that there’s also a whole market for UCaaS solutions beyond your existing customer base. Offering UCaaS solutions enables you to expand your service portfolio to cost effectively extend your customer base.

2. Your customers will thank you.

UCaaS deliver benefits that your customers will appreciate — and that will reflect well on you. Among them:
Cost Savings CapEx becomes OpEx. Costs are more predictable and transparent. The savings from UCaaS solutions are well documented.

Flexibility

As long as a WiFi connection is available, your customers can embrace mobility and empower their employees with greater flexibility, which can lead to more satisfied, productive employees.

Streamline Workflows

UCaaS enables companies to streamline day-to-day operations and increase overall collaboration. It offers real-time access to employees, applications, and data, but isn’t location, or device, specific.

Scalability

The UCaaS is a pay-as-you-go service. It easily scales to meet changing demands, and your customers pay only for what they need. BC/DR (Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery) Cloud-based solutions are geo-redundant, which significantly decreases the chance of system disruptions. As such, UCaaS can be an integral component of a DR plan.

3. Enjoy faster time to market.

With a white label UCaaS solution, there’s no need to build a platform from scratch. You don’t have to commit time or financial resources to developing, testing and deploying the solution. The platform has been fully tested to ensure it operates at optimal capacity, and the vendor provides the support so you can be up and selling almost right away — no matter your level of experience. By partnering with the right service provider, you will likely have access to training, as well as marketing and educational resources to further accelerate your entry into the UCaaS space. (See #7.)

4. There’s no CapEx.

With a white label UCaaS solution, there are generally no capital expenditures and only minimal upfront costs. You don’t have to worry about housing the hardware yourself or maintaining it. You have more time to focus your energies on business growth and customer relationships. The same cost savings applies when new or enhanced services are developed and launched. Those development costs belong to the UCaaS service provider, not you.

5. Earn recurring revenue and higher margins.

While a white label UCaaS program may entail more initial costs than working as an agent for another brand, you have far greater earning potential. You can set your own pricing and margins. You also get the benefits of recurring customers and brand loyalty, as well as the monthly recurring revenue. With monthly recurring revenue, it’s also easier to focus on building your business rather than trying to gain enough new sales to match previous revenue targets.

6. Strengthen your brand.

When you work as an agent for another company selling its UCaaS solution, you can’t really cultivate your own brand. White label UCaaS solutions are sold under your brand, so you can steadily build your business without signing over rights to another company. You control every aspect of your business and customer relationship. The quality of the service and customer experience reflects back on you. That builds both your brand and customer loyalty. The key is to go with a service provider that offers stellar UCaaS solutions and support.

7. Gain greater ownership of your business.

You are the primary contact for your customer when you provide a white label UCaaS solution. Whereas, in an agent model, you can get cut out of the customer relationship once the sale is finalized. As a result, you can lose out on additional sales as well as customer loyalty and referrals. With the white label model, you are empowered to build much greater brand and customer loyalty.

8. Get access to marketing and training support.

You’re in control with a UCaaS white label program, but never alone. When you sell a white label UCaaS solution, you get the support of the UCaaS solution provider. That includes both technical and sales training and things like branded marketing content, lead generation plans and custom pricing and packaging offerings. There’s cost- and time-savings associated with it as well.

9. Be at the industry forefront.

When you partner with a white label UCaaS provider who is at the forefront of the industry, you’re right there with it. Yet, you don’t have to devote the financial or technical resources required to stay abreast of fast-changing technology and business trends, to enhance service offerings or introduce new services.

10. Mitigate risks. Increase rewards.

As previously mentioned, white label UCaaS programs typically don’t entail capital expenses. You don’t run the risk of blowing your investment on a UCaaS solution that may or may not work, and that may or may not be appealing to your customers and prospects. The white label UCaaS service provider has that all worked out for you. The provider also has done considerable market research. Its reputation is on the line if it fails to provide in-demand services and support, so there’s great incentive for it to offer the kind of UCaaS solutions that can help you succeed.

11. Have the Control and Flexibility of Operating your Own Switch.

SkySwitch gives white label partners all of the benefits listed above. Unlike Coredial however, SkySwitch offers white label partners the same control and flexibility that they would have if they were to purchase and integrate their own carrier class geo-redundant VoIP switch. Among other things, we don’t lock you into using our origination and termination. And, we give you a clear and defined path to migrate to your own switching platform should you ever decide it is in your best interest. The White Label business model is a great fit for many organizations. But as they say, good choices are made from good options. And only SkySwitch gives you the option to move to your own switch with zero downtime and no migration headaches.

Every SMB Needs Call Center Features

This blog series from Jon Arnold is great food for thought.  Every sales pitch for UC or hosted PBX to an SMB prospect should stress how the platform’s embedded  contact center features can improve not just productivity, but also customer satisfaction.

Most small business owners do not think they have use for a Call Center. But any business that takes calls from customers can benefit call center features. For example, simply tracking the amount of time that employees spend on the phone with customers instead of performing other duties can be provide illuminating insights about staffing and manpower needs. Call Center utilization reports make this far easier than it may sound. Similarly, offering callers the option to receive an automated callback (a feature named Call Parking with Ringback) during the hours when employees are busy doing other tasks (and therefore unavailable to speak on the phone) can greatly alleviate customer frustration.

As Jon puts it:  the way you think about technologies is more important than the technologies themselves. If you only think of VoIP as cheaper telephony, that’s all it’s going to be. If you think the contact center belongs separate from everything else, you’ll make buying decisions accordingly. There is no shortage of options with today’s technologies, but if your thought process has been static since analog times, then there’s no reason to change the status quo and do something like integrate UC with the contact center.

In case you were wondering, every SkySwitch seat has a rich CCaaS (Call Center as a Service) feature set that can help you close the deal.

Not all Multi Tenant Hosted PBX Providers are Created Equally

I could not resist the urge to post this graphic analogue to using Asterisk servers for multi-tenant hosted PBX.

multi-tenant-asterisk

SkySwitch Webinar: Simplifying Polycom Provisioning Using DHCP Option 160 and a SimpleWan Router

If you deploy Polycom phones and SimpleWan routers, then you should know how to use DHCP Option 160 to automate the provisioning  process. In this SkySwitch University Webinar, our Support Team Leader, Cameron Besaw, explains how to take advantage of this capability.

 

Panel Tells Why Most SMBs Still Not Using Cloud for Voice Services

According to William Haskins, Sr. Analyst and Partner, Unified Communications at Wainhouse Research, a recent panel of 300 U.S.-based IT decision makers (ITDMs) who support businesses from 20 to 500 employees revealed that more than half are still running telephony services in-house.  The primary reason for maintaining these systems in-house was concern over security.

Another notable finding uncovered by the panel is that virtually all ITDMs would use MPLS it it were a viable options.  This is not necessarily surprising, but worth keeping in mind as SD-WAN solutions (such as SimpleWan) continue evolving to provide both security and MPLS-like benefits at a fraction of the cost.

Other findings outlined by Haskins (the full post here) include:

1. Odds are, we’re not using the cloud yet – for telephony

What we found: over half of our survey respondents are still rolling their own, running telephony themselves, supporting users out of their own data centers (or closets, or garages, or basements). These findings are consistent across all respondents – from the very small business with 30 seats to the mid-sized gang with 500.

Why this is interesting: wait, whaaaat? I thought every small business was already in the cloud, certainly for voice services. We’ve been tracking the hosted voice market at a confident and consistent 25%+ growth rate year after year, and the IT teams we work with all seem to have at least some seats in the cloud.  Indeed, a third of all respondents note they have a hybrid voice deployment, pointing to ongoing migration. Still, 50%+ of businesses with telephony on-prem – especially in the small and medium side of the market – was higher than this analyst expected.

2. We’re getting what the cloud has always promised

What we found: we asked ITDMs who are currently using the cloud what benefits they are achieving. The top three responses = IT Productivity, Quality, and Faster Upgrades.

Why this is interesting: because this is what I’ve been talking about for the last 10 years!! It’s what the cloud is supposed to be delivering! Look – if the cloud is adding overhead to your IT team, you should likely be shopping for a new cloud provider, full stop. One of my favorite quotes in recent history came from a VP of IT who said “I want my team to excel at managing vendors – not applications.” The cloud had better free up your IT team from tactical day-to-day break / fix activities, allowing them to focus on strategic growth and transformation. As for quality and upgrades, these should also be considered ‘table stakes’ for a cloud service – if I can do it better / faster, why do I need a hosted solution? Thank you ITDMs for making us look like we’re paying attention!

3.…Except for one thing

What we found: the cloud’s not perfect, however. The biggest cloud gripe = we thought we’d save money – but we’re not!

Why this is interesting: oops! I thought this was going to be a key benefit.  I mean, I heard the provider has these magical “Eco Gnomes of Scale, right?” The reality: it is difficult-to-impossible to deliver a realistic cloud-based cost/benefit model that applies to every enterprise. This perspective is reinforced regularly during our cloud-provider briefings. From my chair, the biggest opportunities the cloud delivers were uncovered in finding Two above – expect increased productivity, quality, and more features. Combined, these can (and do) deliver material hard benefits that just don’t often make it into the typical CFO-approved business case – think company-wide productivity, increased employee engagement (and retention), happier customers, IT efficiencies, and increased EBITDA. Take advantage of these correctly, and you’ll come out on top. Compare your telecom invoices line by line, however, and you may be disappointed – likely because your cloud costs expose line items you may not associate directly with your telecom services (e.g. support, vendor management, power and equipment, etc.).

4. MPLS is damn sexy

What we found: almost all small to medium decision makers would use MPLS for their enterprise voice if they had it their way.

Why this is interesting: because a material percent of small to medium business’ hosted telephony is still reliant on the Public Internet. The PI debate wages on and on – a number of providers will tell you that the PI is all good now, that bandwidth is plentiful, and that voice applications now handle un-managed networks just fine. What I think: it’s mainly the PI-based service providers who believe this. And whether or not I believe MPLS is a better transport solution for corporate telephony services is absolutely irrelevant – it’s the ITDM who will be making a purchase decision and living with the results. Based on this survey, the vast majority associate quality, reliability, and security with a managed network.

5. So why are we still on prem?!?

What we found: the most popular cloud barrier (if barriers can be popular): security concerns.

Why this is interesting: current VoIP solutions promote application-layer security, pointing to Transport Layer Security (TLS), Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP), and a host of other acronyms that should help the ITDM sleep at night. However, these same ITDMs are well aware that the cyber-criminal wants more than just your real-time-voice packets.  Data is the new bacon: directory information, meeting content, and customer lists are all very tasty and potentially profitable targets. In reality, security needs to be a core competency of every hosted provider – you should expect they run a tighter (and more secure) ship than you can in this regard.  It’s their business!

SkySwitch Control Tower Expands to New Location

cybercenterThe Philippine contingent of our growing Control Tower team moved into new digs this week.

The move is long overdue and will allow us to expand operations – continue meeting the technical support needs of our resellers, and to offer additional services that take advantage of the exceptional talent pool available in this region.

Our new office is located in the Negros First CyberCentre, a newly developed state-of-the-art technology hub in the city of Bacolod, which is in the Negros Island Region (about an hour by air from Manila).  Bacolod has been recognized as one of four Philippine centers of excellence for information technology and business process outsourcing, and was recently named one of the Top 100 outsourcing destinations by the research organization Tholons. Known as the “City of Smiles” because of the warmth and hospitality of its citizens, Bacolod has developed into one of the more exciting global offshoring destinations in recent years.

As it turns out, Bacolod also happens to be my father’s hometown and in an interesting twist (at least to me) the new office is located on Hernaez Street which was named after my Grand Uncle, Pedro Hernaez.

 

SimpleWan Integrates Ubiquiti Controller into Dashboard

unnamed (2)SimpleWan recently announced that it has integrated the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller into its dashboard. This will be welcome news for anyone that has struggled to deploy mesh Wifi and VoIP QoS on the same LAN. Now control of both networks can now be centralized from the SimpleWan dashboard.

We expect to have Unifi access points available for purchase in the SkySwitch Store within the coming weeks.

Ubiquiti is known for its line of outdoor wireless products, which are popular among WISPs. The Unifi line of indoor access points is relatively new, but has gained traction as a result of its blazing fast speed (up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band), low entry cost (MSRPs are under $100), and the ease in which WiFi mesh networks can be created and managed.

The UniFi Controller software is enterprise wireless software used for high-density client deployments requiring low latency and high uptime performance. A single UniFi Controller running in the cloud can manage multiple sites: multiple, distributed deployments and multi-tenancy for managed service providers.

As stated in the SimpleWan product announcement:

 

Wireless has changed a lot over the last few years and is continuing to change. Putting an integrated box in the corner of an office no longer works with all of toady’s wireless technology. Wireless must be deployed strategically; for the best coverage and fastest speeds. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel for Wireless N & Wireless AC, SimpleWan looked for the best technology and the best value in a partnership. We decided to partner with Ubiquiti to integrate their wireless controller into the SimpleWan dashboard. Any Unifi Access Point now will fully integrate into your SimpleWan configuration. The devices are fully cloud managed in the SimpleWan Dashboard and designed for zero touch on site. There is no need to buy any additional hardware or solutions; except for the access points themselves.

 

 

Ubiquiti-Unifi-AP-AC-Access-Points

Apple Announcement Means that True Mobility Apps are Closer to Reality

I hear all the time from customers that they would like to replace their SIP desk phone with a mobility app (like the SkySwitch PBX Fone) running on their smartphone. On its face, this seems to make sense. In practice however, it’s not a viable solution for several reasons.

One of the biggest impediments to making this idea work has been the inability for 3rd party app developers to integrate more tightly with the phone operating system. For example, an incoming cellular call will always take precedence over a VoIP call on a mobile app, and there is not an effective way for app developer to override this behavior. As a result, it has always been my opinion that a mobile app could never displace a SIP desk phone in a business environment until the Apple and Android OS developers decide to make it possible.

apple-ios10With the recent announcement by Apple of an API for VoIP apps (named CallKit) in iOS 10.0, it seems that day may be on the horizon. According to the Apple developer website:

The CallKit framework (CallKit.framework) lets VoIP apps integrate with the iPhone UI and give users a great experience. Use this framework to let users view and answer incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen and manage contacts from VoIP calls in the Phone app’s Favorites and Recents views.

CallKit also introduces app extensions that enable call blocking and caller identification. You can create an app extension that can associate a phone number with a name or tell the system when a number should be blocked.

Of course, this is just one piece of the puzzle.  The other impediments to displacing the desk phone being neatly summarized by Polycom (Imagine that) here.

In the meantime, we will be working with our mobility development partner to get these features into PBX Fone.  Keep an eye open for future developments.

Obihai – Amazing 20 Years of Innovation

The Obihai Webinar for SkySwitch resellers is now posted to our YouTube channel.

One slide in the presentation really captured my attention because it demonstrates a pretty spectacular history of success from an entrepreneurial team that has used innovation (in both product and business model) to change the way that people communicate.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 12.12.37 PM

I remember getting my hands on the Komodo ATA way back in 1999.  It was a real game changer.  So much so that Cisco purchased Komodo and transformed it into the globally ubiquitous ATA188.  I can’t think of many other products that have influenced the communications landscape in a similar way.

The Obihai team continues to bring the same innovative thinking to their current products.  If you are not familiar with them, watching this webinar will be worth your while.

 

Top 10 UCaaS Leaders In 2016

The Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market is worth $3.9 billion per year, and expected to grow 11 percent annually through 2020.

Interestingly, the top 10 UCaaS providers (ranked by the Research firm IHS based on criteria such as service capabilities and development, financial stability, operational cash flow, growing revenue, market strategy, installed base of seats and support – see list below) account for only 30% (estimate based on available data) of the total market.

Rank Company Annual Revenue (Millions)
10 Nextiva 66.2
9 Fuze 14.7
8 Broadview Networks 36.4
7 Star2Star 49.5
6 Verizon Enterprise Solutions UCaaS business unit revenue not available
5 Mitel UCaaS business unit revenue not available
4 Ring Central 299
3 West Corp. UCaaS business unit revenue not available
2 Vonage Business 200
1 8×8 209
Page 10 of 15« First...89101112...Last »