Focus on Enabling Business Transformation - Not Just Selling Your Stuff

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Focus on Enabling Business Transformation - Not Just Selling Your Stuff

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 22, 2015

We’ve had this discussion again and again over the years. But apparently it bears repeating. We as an industry need to stop putting the focus on selling specific boxes and software and pushing technology, and instead figure out how to apply our expertise and solutions to help companies transform their businesses for the better.

This is particularly important for companies in unified communications, which as

Peter Bailey noted in his speech at the recent ITEXPO (News - Alert) has failed at doing that. The Vertical Communications CEO said his company is working to change that by taking the time and initiative to really understand its customers’ workflows and then deliver UC solutions to meet their specific needs. He also talked about a couple new offerings.

The 11-year-old privately held company caters to mid-market organizations with 50 to 2,000 employees. It’s been particularly successful with retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies. International grocer Ahold, Albertsons, BJs Wholesale Club, CVS Pharmacy, Macy’s, Medisync, Putnam Automotive, and YMCA are among Vertical’s customers.

Vertical Communications (News - Alert) leverages its customizable software-based platform to outfit such customers with phone systems, IVR capabilities, people counters, paging and messaging, and more. Professional services can also come along for the ride.

The platform could potentially be used to enable an organization to connect a person visiting its website with someone on the sales floor of one of its stores, to support a kiosk on the sales floor to allow for high-end help sessions, and to more effectively connect mobile workers (like at auto dealers, where sales people and managers are on the floor or the lot) with one another and with shoppers. Vertical also offers an application that enables a store or a collection of locations to easily update store hours on an auto-attendant.

Vertical is also working with its grocery store customers to create more traction in their different bakery, deli, florist, and pharmacy areas. For example, Bailey said, a worker in the bakery can pick up the phone and say “fresh bread” after she takes bread out of the oven, and the Vertical platform will trigger a message throughout the store that freshly baked bread is now available. This practice, he added, has been proven to increase bread sales by 50 percent.

“Every business has critical workflows, and they are evolving,” said Bailey, and if you can identify the specific pain points and/or opportunities to drive new sales you can make the sale and really help the customer.

Delivering solutions that address specific workflows is not a simple process, however, he added. It involves comprehensive, iterative engagement – including designing, piloting, and redesigning. But Vertical Communications has found tremendous differentiation with this strategy, he said.

As for the new product news, the company this year will launch Vertical Meetings, which makes it really easy to join meetings. It will include a native mobile app for end user ease of use and will support up to 1,000 participants per meeting.

The company is also expanding and going commercial with its Vertical Cloud Call Manager. This call management capability enables organizations to centralize their calls and eliminate trunks to save money and allow for ease of management. It has been in field trials the past couple months in a 5,000-port configuration. In the first quarter it will be commercially available as a 10,00-port solution, with retail being its initial target.

Vertical also expects to unveil a new client strategy that involves WebRTC. The company will reveal the details in February, but Bailey said it has to do with the ability of escalating communications from the desktop to mobile phones for voice and video.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere