Comparing Features isn’t the Answer – Service Providers need Agility and Solutions that Evolve
Many UC solutions are based on replicating legacy PBX features that no one really uses. They stagnate and rarely flourish. Service providers need to deliver what business users really want and develop the agility to anticipate what they will need in the future – and that also means adopting solutions that support continuous evolution.
As a long-established vendor of hosted UC solutions to MNOs and MVNOs of all shapes and sizes, we’ve seen a large number of RFPs and RFIs over the years. Typically, these include a long wish list of features and capabilities that has been created by a team of experts within the organisation, each with his or her perspective.
These features normally replicate functionality that was found on the previous generation of on-premises PBX solutions, with the result that there can be hundreds of obscure features to which we (and other vendors) have to declare compliance.
While there are hundreds of such features, most recognise that few are actually used regularly. In fact, it’s easy to get caught up in ensuring the absolute perfection of the wish list, as the authors strive to ensure all perspectives and requirements are included.
But the reality is that these wish lists rarely determine the success of the product that is finally launched. They may capture the requirements of previous generations of users but they do not necessarily reflect the needs of today’s users and the coming generation.
Worse, they do not necessarily have anything to do with the agility that is required to deliver a compelling service, achieve differentiation and ensure that it remains competitive and attractive in challenging times. Some users may well find features such as “camp on busy” absolutely compelling, but they are likely to be in a minority.
Service providers need to think about more than just a rich set of features. They need to think about simplicity of delivery, how easy it is to buy the service, how well it is supported, and how it can evolve to stay ahead of changing market requirements. This last point is absolutely critical. It’s pointless launching a service based on requirements that evolved in the 1970s; today’s users will simply not understand the benefits.
There’s a wealth of research that indicates what users want. It turns out that they are interested in a handful of critical, but high-level features. Things like presence, a single identity, reachability, and so on – as we have noted before. But users also want clarity. They expect to intuitively understand the benefits without struggling to understand a lengthy list of features, the majority of which they will never use. We have never seen any research that indicated that potential hosted UC customers want 195 legacy PBX features.
In this context, service providers, such as MNOs and MVNOs need to be sure that the solution in which they invest also has the capability to evolve. It’s all very well meeting the needs of the past, but how will it evolve to meet the needs of the future? The ways in which people interact are changing all the time, albeit that the fundamental need to speak with each other remains in place. What changes is where and how, over what medium, and in what context. Service providers need to anticipate these changes and ensure that the solutions they offer can evolve to meet new requirements that they have yet to anticipate.
And that’s the difference, really. At Gintel, we’ve been helping service providers deliver differentiated solutions for decades. We enable them to adopt agile evolution, delivering the flexibility to create new capabilities and ways of enhancing human communication to deliver clear business benefits. If you want to look to the future, why not talk to us and see how we can help?