Cisco's Acquisition of BroadSoft - Our Podcast Analysis

If you haven't had your fill of what this deal means for the collaboration/UCaaS space, this should be your next stop. Wearing my UC Expert hat with UCStrategies, I've already written my perspective on the Cisco/BroadSoft deal, as have several of my peers. That post continues trending well, btw, and I welcome your comments if you give it a read.

Building on that, our latest podcast had a strong turnout among both analysts and consultants, and you won't find a stronger mix anywhere of people who know this space well, and really understand what's happening. The podcast has been posted now to our portal, and I think you'll find it time well spent.


GetVoIP's Top UC Experts - Me and 49 Others! is a pretty handy resource for decision-makers looking for solutions in our space. They serve as an independent information clearinghouse of sorts, where buyers can find the right offerings and determine the best ways to compare what's out there. They rely on analysts like me for industry-based perspectives on core communications needs that all businesses need to stay current with - UC, hosted VoIP, SIP trunking, contact centers, etc.

I've written for them occasionally, and one way they support the buyers is to profile the top thought leaders. Everyone has an opinion on the Web - but in most cases, nobody is asking for it (which doesn't seem to deter most people) - with the result being an impossible ocean of viewpoints that decision makers could draw upon for guidance. To make that a bit more manageable, GetVoIP puts out their top lists from time to time, with the most recent being for UC.

In case you haven't come across this yet on social media, I'm blogging about it here. I'm happy to report that I'm in their "Top 50" list, and if you had the time to peruse the whole group, you'll probably end up making some really good decisions. And if you play your cards right, it won't cost you a penny.

Of course, analysts like me are always available for hire if you need more strategic expertise, and I'm just an email or phone call away from taking your business to the next level. For now, though, my one piece of free advice is to check out the list, and keep regular tabs on GetVoIP.

My Next Webinar - Why the Time is Now for Hosted VoIP - April 21

Another shout-out here for my next Ziff Davis B2B webinar. They've been keeping me busy lately, and this time around, I'll be addressing the hosted VoIP opportunity for SMBs. Their webinars are always well-attended, and am expecting more of the same next Tuesday.

Start time is 2pm EST, and for more info, here's the registration page. Hope you can join us.

Mobile VoIP ARPU Solutions Webinar - May 20

Just a quick shout-out about our webinar this week. It's being sponsored by GIPS - Global IP Soluions - and I'll be presenting along with Media5.

It's a hot topic, and should be of interest to any mobile operator or developer with big ideas about how to drive revenues with mobile VoIP. In short, the webinar is this Thursday from 1 - 2pm EST, and you can get all the details here. Hope you can join us.

M5 - This is What Your Business Sounds Like

Last night I attended M5's 10th anniversary event. Very nicely done, and it was great to see such a strong turnout, especially among their customer base. The event had a very local feel, since M5 is based in NYC, as are many of their customers. CEO Dan Hoffman gave a stong presentation that covered all the bases. He talked about where the company has come from over their history, and how their vision hasn't changed. They had a nice video segment where various employees talked about their favorite customers, and it's clear they have a pretty loyal base on both fronts.

Dan also tied in the event to launch of their next phase of development. He had an iPad on display along with one of their standard Cisco IP phones, which is reference to their recent VoIP integration news with the iPad.

What really stood out for me in his presentation was M5's focus on voice, and how it's still so central to everyday business activities. When the company started, one of the disconnects he saw was how dis-integrated phone systems were to everything else at work. Phone systems were just too clunky, costly and inflexible for such an important function. He made a pretty strong case for the quality and flexibility that comes with hosted VoIP, and summed it up nicely by saying "this is what your business sounds like".

Being customer-centric is a big part of M5's success, and his point is when you put yourself in your customer's shoes, it's not hard to see - or hear - how the limitations of a legacy phone system can reflect poorly on how the outside world perceives your business. His examples showed how the intelligence that VoIP brings by tying in with business applications makes for a more productive and professional end user experience.

One that I particularly liked was the way you can set up new voice greetings on the fly that reflect near real-time situations. The Iceland volcano was used as an example, where callers would have a prompt option for those whose plans had been disrupted by this event. The key here is that businesses can now be very responsive to changing situations, and easily incorporate that into the front door of their business. Simply put, your business sounds much better to customers when your voice prompts refect their reality, and you can solve their problems first time around.

Dan spent a fait bit of time talking about their next iteration of hosted VoIP, which is more applications-centric and customer-centric. He's not calling it Unified Communications - which is fine, since M5 is still mostly about voice and telephony - but he's taking the hosted VoIP concept a bit further by making it more integral with other business applications.

I'm certainly a big fan of UC, but it's clear to me there's still a pretty large segment of the market - especially SMBs - who rely primarily on voice, and simply want a better way to do telephony. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, and with milestones like 10 years and 1,000+ customers, M5 must be doing something right, and I'm glad I could be there to see this first hand. Congrats, Dan and company on ten-oh, and just like making your first million is the hardest, I've got a feeling they're going to see the hockey stick ramp-up rate in the next few years.

Dan Hoffman

Literally, how cool is this? At the vodka bar, a Cisco phone embedded in ice.

The M5 house band - love it - these guys were great.