We all say that technology moves even faster than the speed of business.
Right now Meraki MC74 and Cisco Spark Voice services are available in the USA, but currently not in the Canadian market. Hosted Skype for Business (Lync) and Broadsoft based offerings have been available for YEARS here in Canada.
The biggest push from IT manufacturers and VARs these days is of course all forms of Software as a Service (SaaS), with the obvious push by all organisations for recurring revenue, and customer looking for a more “user cost” based model the industry is changing to a service based model.
Disrupt or be Disrupted
This has been Cisco’s latest trend, go and disrupt a marketplace. Something like the MC74 is a dream for SMB, ok the features are limited today, but for the travel agent, or retail store – it’s dialtone – many don’t need more. A single IT manager could manage 20-30-50 locations of Meraki infrastructure with ease.
Cisco SPARK aims at a more medium business, more feature rich, a collab and instant message service platform, and full voice services.
However like anyone who has played Command and Conquer (throwback!) if you let your enemy build their base while you are popping the popcorn and going to the bathroom, you may find yourself fight off SCUD missiles with nothing more than a weak infantry.
Ok, let me get past the video game references. Skype and Broadsoft offerings are everywhere, and they are now quite mature. The MC74? Well it’s a new offering, once again not in Canada. How much market share will be lost in 8+ months – and let’s remember, the push is multi year contracts for the big discount. So these customers are lost for years
The Phone Lock In
Telephones are the lock in – once I have sold you MY phone, which doesn’t work on another service – that will prevent you from leaving. Why are so many clients still using M2616 telephones on old Nortel CS1000 systems (Option 11-81C) – because telephones are $300+ items, so an office of 100 people is $30,000 in hardware. 1000 people? Now we are talking $300K
TDM System Retirement
CS1000 systems are getting old in the tooth – with many clients looking to remove it. As basic voice becomes the new requirements, and online services prodiving the rich experiences, “Basic Voice” is what many SMB’s are looking for.
Nortel Norstar customers are finally seeing hardware start to fail on these bulletproof systems – these customers need out, and they need out now.
Older TDM systems are coming out – right now – how many will be removed in 8+ months?
Some just need Dial Tone
Skpye (consumer), Spark Free or paid, and other platforms provide a lot of rich capabilities, many for free. I could go ahead and just buy Spark non voice later on if I wanted.
Retail, basic commercial and other markets really just need dial tone, and those basic needs could be augmented with services later on.
Is 2017 too late for Cisco Spark and Meraki?
I guess we will find out – my opinion is that a lot of market share and ground will be lost in the meantime to competitive solutions, and all of these will be multi-year contracts.