… UCaaS. We all recognize what’s happening in the marketplace, the growth that UCaaS is experiencing, and the fact that we’re very much early on in the market penetration of UCaaS, which some analysts would say is roughly 8 percent penetration into roughly a $50 billion market.
And we’re also moving into APAC, putting a foothold in Australia, and in fact, I’ll [soon] be in Australia [for a week] as we begin to build out our channel-partner program in Australia with several different partners, which will be announced sometime in the future, but we’re moving there aggressively to make a stand as we continue to expand globally.
CP: What’s it like working with partners globally, and do partners in other regions of the world have different needs and require different types of relationships?
ZL: The way customers buy is how I’m going to answer your question. In the United States, customers utilize their partners approximately 40 percent of the time to help them as trusted advisers move into technological buying decisions — so software, telecom, whatever it might be. Globally, including the United Kingdom, France, Australia and other markets, it would be up to 90 percent that customers rely on these partners to be their IT managers, to be their managed service providers, to be the experts that drive them to a company like RingCentral. So it’s imperative for us to understand what’s going on globally. I’ve had experience running global partner programs when I was at Genband for four years, so I know these markets really well and I know the makeup of the partner community. It is really different how they go to market, so channel will become even more important globally to RingCentral as we continue to expand.
Other than that, I would say the partner community is a little different because that market globally is made up of a reseller or wholesale type of a contract with them. We are not deploying that kind of contract. We are going to market with what we call an agency-type agreement, and also because of how we go to market, we provide RingCentral direct sales reps as a benefit to our partners to go sell on behalf of the partner to their customers. It’s a very unique proposition; it benefits the partners significantly and we’re going to continue that program globally as we’ve had such incredible success with it here in the United States.
CP: Looking ahead, is 2018 going to be a big year for RingCentral, possibly it’s biggest?
ZL: The momentum is there. When you look at the length of time with our partner program, we’re still very much in our infancy, and so through maturity of partners working with RingCentral, look at the revenue contribution. The channel is a $100 million business here at RingCentral and that’s doubling year over year. So when you look at 2018 … there [are] clearly things we’re going to continue absolutely to make part of our program because it’s where we started from … we always need to keep our partners thinking RingCentral first and we do that by the collaboration and Channel Harmony. We’re developing a national partner program for 2018, and we’re expanding globally into markets. And so with this combination of all these things, we do believe that 2018 will be a year that’s better than 2017.