Agents, MSPs Have Lingering Concerns About Leaving On-Premises Behind

Concerned Businesswoman

A new LANtelligence survey shows a lot of interest among partners in cloud services in general and specifically UCaaS, but many still have concerns about letting go of the on-premises business.

The survey includes more than 300 respondents split into three major groups: U.S. agents, U.S. MSPs and Canadian MSPs. Major concerns are tied to partners’ lack of confidence in delivering a good experience with deployment and support to the customer when a lot of customers still have a “very general” understanding of cloud services.

LANtelligence's Marty Tracey

LANtelligence’s Marty Tracey

Marty Tracey, LANtelligence’s CEO, tells Channel Partners the survey clearly highlights the fact that the “channel for delivery of UCaaS and CCaaS solutions needs to speed up its evolution.”

“As UCaaS solution sales grow its size and scope, a better channel with availability of expertise and resources for successful projects is required,” he said. “Along with the revenue to support these channels. As these services evolve into the larger solution market, the idea of a plug-and-play model does not work.”

Agents aren’t ready to choose cloud services over carrier business, and MSPs are not ready to switch from premises to cloud completely, according to the survey. Also, most commonly, all respondents said a “too big pool of options,” and lack of education and technical expertise in those options as a big challenge.

Partners expect and yet struggle to get proper help with deployment and support for cloud-voice offerings from vendors and master agents, the survey said. Nevertheless, the entire channel community has a goal of increasing cloud sales, it said.

“Going into the survey, we felt that many folks in the channel were not seeing the issues with the go-to-market strategy of most UCaaS solutions, and the related deployment quality and support issues,” Tracey said. “What was most surprising (was) how many called out these issues at the top of the list and the lack of interest we have seen in alternative channels that resolve these issues.”

MSPs also expressed the following concerns: the risk of losing a customer in case of poor UCaaS project performance (30 percent in both countries); high competition and low capability to differentiate (45 percent in Canada, 80 percent in the United States); low sales turnaround because they have to “babysit” every project (60 percent in both countries); UCaaS vendors billing their customers directly (44 percent in Canada, 60 percent in the United States); and master agents and carriers selling competing services (100 percent of U.S. MSPs and 90 percent of Canadian MSPs express a moderate to high concern).

“For MSPs and agents to fully embrace selling UCaaS/CCaaS, there is a need for major changes in the way the solutions come to market,” Tracey said. “There is also a need for a reliable path for sellers to go from design to support with the trust that these projects will have a positive influence on their customer relationships and create a solid stream of reoccurring revenue.”

Last summer, LANtelligence launched a new channel program, its first, as a master solution provider.

The UCaaS market now is generating revenue exceeding $400 million per quarter and approaching $2 billion annually, according to a recent report by Synergy Research Group. RingCentral is the market leader based on quarterly revenues and subscriber counts, followed by 8×8, Mitel, BroadSoft, which was acquired by Cisco, and Vonage, it said.

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