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UCaaS Battle: Mitel, Vonage, Intrado, NetFortris Square Off for Supremacy

UCaaS Thunderdome CP Evolution 2019

(Pictured above, left to right: TBI’s Bryan Reynolds, moderator; Mitel’s Jim McGarry; Intrado’s Wade Wing; Vonage’s Mario DeRiggi; and NetFortris’ John Young.)

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Offering their own UCaaS and CCaaS, providing SD-WAN and the promise of 5G were among topics addressed during Tuesday’s UCaaS Thunderdome at Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C.

The head-to-head matchup included Jim McGarry, Mitel‘s UCaaS channel director for the Central region; Wade Wing, Intrado’s director of U.S. channels; Mario DeRiggi, Vonage Business‘ senior vice president of channel sales and business development; and John Young, NetFortris‘ executive vice president of global sales and channel chief.

Chris Donlan, solutions architect and SD-WAN evangelist with MicroCorp, was among the inquisitors grilling the UCaaS suppliers.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“I think the UCaaS providers have a really good handle on the market of what’s important,” he said. “I think they’re doing a really good job educating the partner base and the end customers on what’s really important in a UCaaS provider, that process to ensure a successful deployment, some of the future mobility and AI features coming. So they have a really good grip and they’re all against selling on price. That is just going to help the partner community and end user community.”

They’re all different, and know where they do and don’t fit well, Donlan said.

“Everybody’s got strengths and weaknesses, but nothing glaring,” he said.

In terms of offering both UCaaS and CCaaS, McGarry said Mitel now offers both. In April, Mitel unveiled cloud contact center powered by Talkdesk, and everything to the end user is Mitel, he said.

DeRiggi said Vonage offers UC, CC and API that’s “100 percent controlled by us.” Owning the stack drives a better customer experience, he said.

When asked whether they offer an SD-WAN solution and whether partners should offer SD-WAN from a UCaaS provider, Young said NetFortris offers both and it’s advantageous to partners and end users because it provides one troubleshooting point to call.

DeRiggi said UCaaS providers should have SD-WAN and Vonage provides SD-WAN as part of its solution offering.

“For the most part our partners have their providers they use,” he said. “As long as they have it, that works.”

Wing said Intrado, formerly West, has a Cisco platform and soon will roll out SD-WAN with Cisco technology.

When asked who’s their biggest competitor, McGarry said Mitel “runs into” Vonage quite a bit in UCaaS and CCaaS, while Wing said probably Mitel. DeRiggi cited Mitel, while Young said it depends on the size of the customer, and it regularly runs into Windstream and Masergy, among others.

“But what I think the vendors have done really well in is M&A, getting technology by purchasing it,” Young said.

When asked about upcoming advances, McGarry said AI is “where we’re going to see so much of this industry transition.”

“It is already happening … and we’re talking about just being able to put it in a regular users’ conversation … and we’ll continue to see more presence in a mobile platform,” he said.

When it comes to 5G technology, McGarry said “bring it, how can more data be a bad thing?” He sees 5G as providing faster access to the cloud.

Wing said 5G will bring better tools and insight, while DeRiggi said 5G “in a perfect world, fantastic, but we’ll see,” and Young said it will be “more productive.”


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