In the past, and some would say in the present, the better-known IP-PBX and Unified Communications (UC) vendors focused on large enterprises. The real profit was in obtaining the most significant number of subscribers per business.
The small and medium enterprises (SME) were by default not a priority, henceforth the commercial models or technology ignored their requirements. It was all about economies of scale. The interesting fact is that in most countries, the SME represents an average of 90% - 95% of the total number of enterprises. In the APAC alone, the SME actually represents 99% of all firms and 50% region’s GDP output.
It’s perilous to dismiss SMEs' real-time communications (RTC) feature requirements. In the age of hyper-connectivity, the SME needs more than ever to have multiple channels to communicate in real time. Just because an enterprise has ten employees or less, does not mean they use fewer features than a business that has hundreds of employees. Traditional Service Providers (SP’s) and Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) want to address this market but lack the proper tools. Many of them already work with a UC platform that is either too costly or does not provide the same carrier-class reliability and scalability that results in increasing the support costs and decreasing margin. It’s not an easy problem to solve, and it requires a balanced mixture of the right features, technology, and pricing. It’s all about the Average Margin Per User (AMPU) and how to get the right formula to serve this audience while keeping both internal and external stakeholders happy.
The cloud has indeed given us the tools needed to start solving this problem. Scalability and geo availability with low hosting costs provides a good start, but the RTC application vendors in many cases are still not in-tune with the needs of the SME. Either they overdo it regarding features which can result in rigid licenses schemes and irrelevant offers due to prohibitive pricing and unneeded functions, or they underdo it which leads to the affordable but incomplete proposal that doesn't adequately address the SME requirements and doesn't scale accordingly. It’s a hard balance to achieve and monetize primarily in such a volatile segment, for an SME it’s much easier to switch UC providers so getting that stickiness and keeping the end subscriber engaged is a must. Hence the need for service providers to have a full understanding of the requirements and to shape the offer accordingly. The technology is available, all we have to do is listen.
For the past few months and after traveling across several regions globally, listening to all stakeholders, it became abundantly clear that the problem is still there and both the SP’s and MSP’s want to jump on this UC growth. SMEs can no longer be ignored and will soon become the more significant number of UC subscribers. Dialogic is striving to achieve the right balance of technology/value that enables easy deployment, enablement, and management of UC subscribers irrespective of the enterprise size. We are building a platform that allows both SP’s and MSP’s to chase the “right fish.” Stay tuned, and let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Dialogic.