- Three market drivers are causing the lines between competitors’ UC&C platforms to blur.
- Facilitating platform adoption is a meaningful source of competitive differentiation.
The lines are blurring between competitors’ UC&C platforms. Feature sets are beginning to look similar. Interoperability between disparate hardware and between disparate software is becoming more commonplace. Acquisitions and partnerships are bringing functionality from opposing players under one roof.
Attempting to enrich their platforms, players in the UC&C space have been busy introducing a steady stream of capabilities. These have converged around a core set of features: calling, messaging, meetings, and contact center. Providing anything less is to flirt with competitive disadvantage.
Interoperability is being seen with respect to both hardware and software. An example of hardware interoperability is the agreement that Google and Cisco entered last September which allows users to natively join Google Meet video calls from Webex devices and Webex meetings from Google Meet video hardware. As an example, on the software side, RingCentral has established integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, and Salesforce.
Several high-profile acquisitions and partnerships have occurred recently; for example, Salesforce acquired Slack, 8×8 acquired Fuze, and RingCentral established partnerships with multiple players such as AT&T, Avaya, and Verizon.
With UC&C platforms beginning to look increasingly alike, a crucial question becomes: how can competitors differentiate? Facilitating platform adoption is just one answer, but a good one, and Cisco’s Webex Adoption Methodology attempts to do just that.
Cisco’s methodology is free of charge and executed by a joint team of Cisco employees and customer end users. The program is divided into three phases: planning the journey, engaging users, and driving adoption. Planning the journey is concentrated on establishing a checklist of milestones for implementing Webex. At the core of this phase is defining desired business goals and outcomes as well as an approach for integrating Webex into existing technical ecosystems. Engaging users centers around user onboarding. In the driving adoption phase, the Webex adoption team becomes immersed in new and existing Webex features and functions so they can share that knowledge with users. In support of all phases, Cisco provides a broad, downloadable array of templates, tools, and guides.
Cisco’s Webex Adoption Methodology is noteworthy. It constitutes a formal framework marked by great deliberation of the adoption process. The methodology considers the mechanics behind the typical adoption process, the inherent pain points, and the potential rewards involved. It then cloaks those dynamics in concrete steps, milestones, roles, and the like. Most critically, metrics are captured that demonstrate what degree of success the adoption methodology has generated. While all players in the UC&C space provide customers with some level of adoption support, the extent to which Cisco has taken on this task is unparalleled. Cisco’s hard work has produced a compelling source of competitive distinction.