The Struggle for Relevance

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.  |  June 01, 2016

There are a number of providers struggling to be relevant today. In the unified communications and collaboration space, many providers are trying to figure IT out. That being, why is Slack so hot? Why aren’t our users adopting our features? Why don’t our partners sell our stuff?

I have seen a couple of launches bomb. Sure, internally everyone was excited. It was new. Look at all that pomp. But externally you get a big yawn.

It is a struggle for attention, sure. If only they would just listen. Well, they would listen, if you built something remarkable. Seth Godin wrote a book titled Purple Cow, about being remarkable and unique.

“Remarkable has nothing to do with the marketer. Remarkable is in the eye of the consumer, the person who 'remarks.' If people talk about what you're doing, it's remarkable, by definition. The goal, then, isn't to draw some positioning charts and announce that you have differentiated your product. No, the opportunity is to actually create something that people choose to talk about, regardless of what the competition is doing.”

Slack is cool because of its user experience and containers. Usability is a key to adoption. I hate to use this reference, but think of the iPhone (News - Alert). Why do people love it? The design, the usability, the iOS, the apps, the ecosystem and the story they tell themselves about using it.

When you get a demo from a new communications platform, is the design worth talking about? Is the usability frictionless? Could grandma figure it out?

Kids growing up with iPads think every screen should swipe. They get to work, and nothing swipes or drags-and-drops. It is clunky and frustrating.

As the market becomes saturated, it will take more effort and money to make a sale. It becomes about the usability, the service delivery, the sales process, the 16-page service agreement. Simpler is better. Anyone can make it complicated. The art is in making it simpler.

Peter Radizeski is president of Tampa, Fla., telecom consulting firm RAD-INFO Inc.

Edited by Maurice Nagle