As summer comes to an end there has been a lot going on in the unified communications and collaboration space. The Gartner Magic Quadrants have come out, UC vendors are ramping up their channel offerings, and the M&A train is starting to roll. Here is some of the action that has been catching our eye.
Channel News - UC Vendors Sweeten the Pot for Channel Partners
The land grab is on. As we reported recently, there are over 250 UCaaS vendors worldwide with over 100 in North America alone and all of these companies are hustling to sign as many customers as possible as quickly as they can. To succeed and to be sure they are helping their customers move to the cloud at a pace that works for them, vendors are relying on their channel partners to make things happen.
Mitel Expands Agent Program for Cloud
Nobody is currently grabbing more land than Mitel, which is understandable as they are the only vendor to appear in both the UC and UCaaS Magic Quadrants. According to a recent press release Mitel has:
...the largest share of cloud users globally, Mitel is now twice the size of its nearest competitor, reaching 1.6 million subscribers and seats, up from 850,000 in under a year. Strong growth also helped boost Mitel's total recurring payments to agent partners by 134 percent over a 24-month period.
In order to be sure that the agent community is helping them maintain and accelerate this growth, Mitel has launched new incentives and services for their agent partners which “simplifies and consolidates previous programs, triples rewards and provides preferred access to RFP resources.” Making things easier and tripling rewards? Can I sign up?
ANPI Automates the Partner Experience from RFP to UCaaS Customer Management
I had a chance to meet with folks from UCaaS vendor ANPI last week at the Cloud Partners event in Boston and got a look at Atlas, their partner portal that supports agents, resellers and ILEC partners in everything from RFP management to installation to customer care. This platform provides ANPI partners with a single login to access all their customer accounts, streamline sales activity, place orders, close deals and then allows them to go into the same system to turn-up new customers and manage each UCaaS deployment from one spot. A huge time saver, and also very cool (if you’re into partner portals).
ANPI sells direct, but also offers their UCaaS platform as a white label solution for ILECs, CLECs and larger VARs. According to Mike Cromwell, Chief Sales Officer for ANPI, the company’s history of working with ILECs convinced them of the need to build their platform from day one to be of service to their partners. “We’ve invested millions of dollars making sure that Atlas meets the needs of our partners so they can quickly ramp their UCaaS business line and easily manage and support all their customers from one spot.” This approach seems to be a significant differentiator for the company as they have already signed up over 100 ILEC partners around the country.
Redbooth Launches UC Channel Program
Redbooth, the company best known for an all-in-one workstream collaboration platform, just announced the launch of a new UC-centric channel program. Adding voice calling to their platform made all the difference in moving to build their communications reseller channel. According to the company:
In July, Redbooth announced it had added click-to-call voice to its comprehensive mix of communication modalities and collaboration tools to create the industry’s first seamless integration of real-time business messaging, file sharing, powerful search, in-stream task management, high-definition video conferencing and voice, centralized into an intuitive virtual workspace. The addition of voice and other recent enhancements such as integration with Microsoft SharePoint® and OneDrive®further establishes Redbooth’s unified collaboration platform as being robust and mature enough to be resold by reputable outside channel partners.
There’s a fine line between unified collaboration and unified communications, but if you’re offering voice, video and IM in your platform, you’ve pretty much jumped over it..
Unified Communications Acquisitions - Is this The Start of Something Big?
I feel like a broken record in saying that there are a lot of UC vendors in the market and we should be seeing some strategic acquisitions or mergers happening with increasing regularity. Here are some from the last few weeks that may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Vonage Acquires iCore - Continues Their Move Up Market
When I met with Vonage at Enterprise Connect, they were featuring the integration of their Telesphere acquisition (with the resultant indirect sales channel), while at the same time breaking news about the SimpleSignal acquisition, which was announced, but not yet closed and came with an even larger channel. Both of these acquisitions were meant to deliver technology, employees and relationships that would allow Vonage to move upstream towards larger enterprises. By the way, it’s working, with Vonage now showing up in the UCaaS Magic Quadrant and getting a lot of positive press about their acquisition strategy.
Now they are continuing the roll by acquiring iCore. As their CEO explains it:
"iCore is a natural complement to Vonage's rapidly growing UCaaS business and strengthens the Company's national footprint. iCore is particularly successful in serving mid-market and enterprise customers, with more than 60% of its revenue derived from customers with 100 or more seats."
Don’t be surprised to see Vonage continue to be active. They have a large war chest, and they want to be a dominant player.
Momentum Expand UCaaS Capabilities with Alteva Acquisition
Momentum, a hosted VoIP, broadband services and UC provider added some heft to their business by acquiring UCaaS vendor Alteva. It’s all about scale as businesses rush to expand in order to be well positioned for the continued market growth and potentially to be acquired themselves. As the release explains it.
"It has become exceedingly clear that profitability in the Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) space requires significant scale to achieve maximum efficiency. ... Momentum Telecom and Alteva together constitute the most viable solution toward achieving these goals and benefiting our employees, customers and partners."
In addition, Momentum Telecom noted that the Alteva addition increases its total number of users to over 250,000 and will allow the company to expand its presence.
These types of acquisitions and mergers will likely become more common in the months and years ahead. What are you seeing in the marketplace that is newsworthy? Does your company have news to share? If so, let us know in the content section or click on the “Submit A Press Release” button.