Keynote: A Random Walk down Communications as a Service Street by Jim Machi, Sangoma

Firstly, thank you to Sangoma for sponsoring TADSummit EMEA Americas this year. Without their support TADSummit can not happen. If you see value in what TADSummit does, please support us by sponsoring. Thank you.

Jim’s short keynote presentation (12 minutes) sets out a vision for the mid-market in programmable communications. As well as some interesting tidbits on what he’s seeing with customers through the pandemic.

Sangoma is known for being the custodian of Asterisk and FreePBX.  And has a ‘soup to nuts’ offer across enterprise communications including:

  • UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)
  • TaaS (Trunking as a Service), both retail and wholesale SIP trunking
  • MaaS (Meeting as a Service), their recently announced collaboration service
  • CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service), from their acquisition of VoIP Innovations
  • FaaS (Fax as a Service) – which has being doing well through the pandemic
  • ACaaS (Access Control as a Service) – not yet launched, but definitely from Astricon 2019 a hot theme across Sangoma’s customers. Using IoT for controlling access to builds and rooms, which naturally leads onto video surveillance
  • DaaS (Devices as a Service) – that is the rental of devices, as some people still need phones

Sangoma did a study on the business benefits of deploying UCaaS, that showed a 10-15% productivity benefit. Some of the sources of that benefit include:

  • Mobility, your deskphone is with you everywhere, including your home. Jim is seeing many people using their mobile phone as their primary ‘deskphone’ at home.
  • BYOD: voice, video, chat on your laptop or mobile phone.  No learning curve, and available on multiple devices. Left your mobile in the other room as a call comes in, take it on your laptop or tablet.
  • Multi-tasking on video conference calls, through not being trapped in a room with people looking on disapprovingly as you do email, chat, check the web and a host of other things.
  • Online meetings are shorter, more focused, and more efficient.
  • The list goes on but these were some of the points raised.

Interestingly, based on some focus-group work Jim’s been doing, most people are not aware of all the services available in a UCaaS, including: Phone Calls, Conferencing, Mobility, Video, Chat, File Sharing, and Presence.

Today they are using a frustrating mish-mash of services. Most of the geeks who follow TADSummit will think, what mish-mash? However, those less comfortable with tens of tabs open, and a desk tray full of messaging clients are wishing for greater simplicity in their enterprise communication. It is an issue, I see it across my neighbors has they complain about work from home experiences.

Given most UCaaS are reaching a good-enough level of usability / functionality. This raises an interesting point around mid-market companies reducing the clutter and using their UCaaS as a lingua-franca across the organization. Groups will still have their preferences for some apps, diversity is not removed, but could be reduced.

Of course with Matrix.org / Element you could bridge across all the communication islands, but that vision is longer term.

Jim wrapped up with mapping of Sangoma’s offer to the needs of MSPs / ILECs (Managed Service Providers / Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier). This is an important step, in delivering such a soup to nuts solution through a channel that has an existing relationship with mid-market companies, that are notoriously hard / expensive to reach.

2 thoughts on “Keynote: A Random Walk down Communications as a Service Street by Jim Machi, Sangoma”

  1. Thanks Jim for our fastest keynote :) Some questions I have include:

    AQ1) In the focus-group work you highlighted, most people are not aware of all the services available in UC. How can that gap be closed? Is it education, training, user experience, culture change, bridging between platforms so people see UC does messaging?

    AQ2) How important is CPaaS to the mid-market?

    AQ3) On-prem versus Cloud for UC. When I talk with UC channels, it’s always such a starkly different message to the Cloud hype. On-prem remains an important deployment model because of regulatory, customer preference, and operational needs. What do you see in the market, and how long will on-prem remain relevant?

    1. Regarding how the gap can be closed, I think it’s a combination of a few things. First, as vendors, we have to talk about what we have available – UC is more than just a phone system and I’ve seen customers be delighted about what UC has, even if they just needed to update an old phone system. So it’s part of the sales process and part of on-boarding. Also continued communication to those that are already customers.

      CPaaS is important to the mid-market. CPaaS enables some value added differentiation to be added to your solution, in an easy to program way. That is at the core of what TADS is all about.

      Interesting question about on-prem. Yes, if you read the industry news all you hear about is cloud. And cloud is great for many businesses. But it’s not the only way to deploy UC. Many businesses prefer on-prem for many different reasons, some of which are in the question. While our cloud UC business is growing, we still have a very strong on-prem business. I see on-prem remaining relevant for many more years.

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