2014 Significant Trend - Secret Impact of UC Use on Customer Acquisitions
Listening to fellow UCStrategies experts (see last week's podcast), I noticed again this year that we bring different viewpoints of our analysis and assessments of the UC space about what has happened in 2014. I agree with most of their assessments from their respective areas.
Similar to Steve Leaden, Marty Parker, Don Van Doren and J.R. Simmons, we at FOX GROUP work with end user business and government organizations to help them develop strategies and acquire appropriate technologies and services for their future UC, IT and contact center enhancements.
So here are my thoughts about the biggest 2014 event. I would say that it could also be considered a secret trend that most people in the UC space are not even aware of. It's this: customers are using various media and information sources to research and determine how to spend money and with whom, without potential vendors ever knowing about it, and determining whether they are using their own UC apps!
The majority of business, non-profit and government clients we work with are all looking at all of the various types of digital information available, whether web pages, social media sites, search results, podcasts, web casts, etc. to help them understand, interpret and analyze who, how and what technologies they will be investing in for 2015 onwards.
The secret part is that they are also looking at which vendors (particularly channel partners) are actually using UC technologies themselves as more and more important in their decision criteria for acquisitions.
They are reviewing and analyzing if and how future vendors use their own technologies to work with them during the sales process in their UC acquisition projects, i.e., example of using web collaboration, document sharing, and SMS during the sales process.
We believe that part of the reason for this trend is that more of the UC decisions are coming from the IT side of the house compared to telecom, and as we all know, IT folks generally don't trust vendors and want to check things out themselves.
As part of the customers' review of vendors, they expect the vendors to also provide guidance, expertise and training on how to deploy, support and USE these UC technologies in their daily business life (whether communicating internally within an organization or externally with customer and other companies).
This part also ties into Blair Pleasant's comments about user experiences, in that the customers are now expecting the vendor to provide the soft skills parts, not just hardware and software, as well as Art Rosenberg's comments on information storage and analysis. There are now many new, different factors for organizations to consider for future UC investments. Using UC technologies is getting much simpler, but acquiring, installing and sometimes supporting them is becoming much more complex.
My closing thoughts for 2015 UC customers: make sure you have clearly defined what you want, what you expect the technologies to do, and what help you need to get there.
My advice for the UC industry for 2015: if you don't use what you sell, and work to help potential clients understand why and how to use your UC apps themselves, you are going to have a harder time getting customers' money in 2015!
We believe at FOX GROUP that 2015 is going to be a turbo-charged year in the UC space, with things moving harder and faster than during the past 6-8 years that UC applications have been available. I look forward to being on the ride and helping make sure that we all survive and succeed!