Go Big or Go Home: Why More UC Outfits Are Going Global & Upmarket

Go Big or Go Home: Why More UC Outfits Are Going Global & Upmarket

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  May 05, 2017

The definition of business communications continues to expand. So do the players in the business communications enablement business.

Companies like RingCentral (News - Alert) and West Unified Communications continue to add to their portfolios. At the same time, they’re moving upmarket and delivering more global services.

“There are fewer and fewer companies that are just domestic anymore,” noted Marcus Schmidt, director of product management at West Unified Communications (News - Alert).

Businesses want vendors that can help them across the globe, he said. Delivering global services, he added, entails meeting the different regulatory and legal requirements in various parts of the world.

West Unified Communications serves mid-sized businesses up to mid-level enterprise customers. Its sweet spot is engagements with 500 to 7,500 users. And although the company doesn’t target any specific verticals, it’s built up a good set of customers in the distribution and logistics, healthcare, and travel industries.

Most of those customers are in the U.S. But West Unified Communications is a global company. It has been putting more focus on global solutions in the last three years, Schmidt said.

RingCentral has also been moving upmarket and is working to appeal to more global customers.

“There’s been a massive explosion in the medium business and enterprise space,” said Curtis Peterson, RingCentral’s senior vice president of operations.

The company started out catering to small and medium businesses in the U.S. But now the company is expanding to serve larger customers both at home and abroad.

It has been growing 100 percent year over year in the enterprise space. Its call center business, for which seats are sold separately, is seeing 40 percent year over year growth. And RingCentral two years ago launched a professional services practice to support its move upmarket. That unit delivers “white glove” installations and has been growing at four- to five-digital percentage rates, according to Peterson.

RingCentral defines the enterprise space as opportunities with 100 to 5,000 or more seats. Peterson said RingCentral last quarter won a deal with about 5,000 seats. The company reaches customers and prospects through its own direct sales team as well as via partners such as AT&T, BT (News - Alert), Telus, and value-added resellers.

The company serves 350,000 customers. Most of them are in the U.S., but RingCentral is growing its business in Canada and the U.K. And it offers services in a total of 150 countries.

RingCentral operates and sells locally in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. But a lot of the company’s customers have offices elsewhere in the world. To address that need, the company last year introduced RingCentral Global Office.

This is a single cloud solution that streamlines communications across geographies. It’s available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the U.S., and, the U.K.

Peterson explained that RingCentral has direct voice-grade connections to these sites and does local media processing. RingCentral Global Office also includes carrier-grade quality of service, emergency services, local caller ID, number portability, international minutes bundled in, and worldwide extension-to-extension dialing. And the RingCentral Global Office experience in the countries in which it is offered delivers the same experience as a local service would – meaning it has the same dial-tone sound and includes a local dialing plan.

Going forward, RingCentral will continue its move upmarket. It expects to announce 10,000- to 15,000-seat engagements by the end of this year.

UC analyst Jon Arnold said the companies above, and even Mitel and Vonage (News - Alert), have been trying to move upmarket for a while. They have to in order to grow, he added, so they talk a lot about how many enterprise customers they have and how they can scale. But outside North America, he added, their penetration is still in the low single digits.

Frank Stinson of IntelliCom Analytics added that the UCaaS providers may be talking more about going global because Microsoft’s (News - Alert) strategy is clearly a global one. He explained that Microsoft has local service partners that can address the needs of global customers.

As far as the UCaaS supplier effort to expand from SMBs to enterprises, Stinson said that’s an attractive position give that larger businesses tend to switch service providers less often and tend to spend more. However, he added, suppliers that are exclusively cloud based may not be a match for all enterprises, many of which want hybrid solutions.

Edited by Alicia Young


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