On January 29th, Sangoma announced a definitive agreement to acquire Star2Star, a cloud-based Communications as a Service provider with a leading UCaaS offer. We’re pleased that the deal closed last week.
So, why did we do this deal? First off, Star2Star targets medium and large enterprise and managed service providers, with channels that don’t really overlap with Sangoma, so the “fit” is very nice. Star2Star has almost 10,000 business customers with tens of thousands of locations. We feel like now we can confidently go after and win the full spectrum of UC prospects, from small business to large enterprise.
Together, we will have increased scale, and given both of us are profitable, we will remain a profitable entity with approximately 70% recurring revenue. As a Channel Partner or end-customer, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether we’ll be around in the future. Whatever side you come from, the transaction represents a very positive development for the future of the new Sangoma (the combined company) since there will be benefits from the improved scale/financial stability, a broader portfolio of products, expanded global services, and a continued commitment to invest in innovation.
We feel we’ll have the most complete UC portfolio in the market: From on-premises to Cloud UC that can work in businesses of all sizes, with our own phones, headsets, gateways, SBCs and SIP Trunking. As such, a business would be able to deploy Sangoma products across their entire enterprise, avoiding any interoperability “finger pointing” which crops up sometimes. Additionally, we’ll have a full suite of Communication as a Service offers, from UCaaS to Video Meetings to Collaboration to Wholesale Voice Services to Access Control. Truly all that a business needs from a single vendor, obviating the need to put all kinds of different communication products into your enterprise network.
During the past few months, when we were not yet closed, we understandably received questions about the future of the different UC platforms. Yes, we understand them. We got the same ones when Sangoma merged with Digium and we said both Switchvox and PBXact would remain. And both have remained. So we certainly understand. And all UC platforms will remain now.
As I intimated above, the target market overlap was not that great. Switchvox and PBXact predominantly served the SMB. And both are also on-premise products in addition to cloud products. And Star2Star predominately services the mid-size enterprise to MSP market, with a cloud offer. Because of that, all platforms with remain as long as there is market demand for them. We may choose to do work to consolidate to a single mobile and desktop client, like we have done with Sangoma Connect for Switchvox and PBXact, and other similar things, but there are no plans to announce any of that in the short term.
And Sangoma plans to continue to sell, develop and support our hardware business including phones, cards, gateways, SBCs, and UC appliance businesses. And we also plan to continue to be the stewards of Asterisk and FreePBX. So, no big changes.
Right now, we need to integrate the teams and that will take some time. Customers on both sides will continue to receive the same products, quality and service they have come to expect from both companies.
If you are a partner, we are looking forward to growing with you. If you are a prospect or customer, we look forward to serving you in the future!
Throughout March, we conducted a weekly “Women in Tech” podcast with four different women in Sangoma, ranging from engineering to product management to general manager to lawyer. Each of these women told interesting stories and gave excellent advice.
Advice, I might add, pertinent to everyone in the workforce, not just women. Their stories are interesting and powerful.
Setareh Nezami (Product Management) talked about “Leading Without Authority,” important for anyone who needs to get other organizations to execute.
Michelle Fleming (Legal) talked about the need to speak up.
Bhawna Gaba (Engineering) talked about needing to be confident, taking a chance, and finding a mentor.
Paula Griffo (General Manager) talked about loving the fast-paced tech industry and needing resilience.
To listen to their stories, please go here.
I would recommend taking the time to listen. It’s well worth it.
In January, I did a video interview with Rich Tehrani. Usually, we’re in Florida for the IT Expo / Tech Super Show at that time of the year, and we do an in-person video interview. I’ve been there so many times I’ve lost track of how many we’ve done together. When he first started doing video interviews, I believe at a show in Los Angeles, if I recall correctly, it was a very new thing, and I think I might have been the 3rd person he did it with. Yeah, Rich and I have known each other a long time, going back to 1998.
We were just little kids then…
And while I’ve talked to Rich multiple times in 2020, we decided to do another video interview like we usually do during this January time frame.
We just did it remotely this time.
We talked about a bunch of things, such as the Frost and Sullivan UC and Collaboration Competitive Strategy Leadership Award that we received just a few weeks before the interview. I won’t go over that here because I’ve written about that already.
He also asked me how our integration of VoIP Innovations is coming along. It’s going well, and we’ve put investment into the wholesale services / SIP trunking business and CPaaS. We have introduced a service that is available now that helps address Caller ID spoofing. It is available both with our Wholesale SIP trunking but also can be used by other carriers, available via an API. It combines analytics, caller authentication, and verification to help address Caller ID spoofing now. We also introduced new fraud mitigation and E911 monitoring solutions in 2020.
We’re also currently working on complying with STIR/SHAKEN.
And he asked me about what’s next for Sangoma. Obviously, I could not talk about Star2Star at that time because it was not announced yet. Still, we did touch on our vision of continuing to see Sangoma adding to our suite of Communication-as-a-Service product portfolio. Beyond UCaaS, we also offer other “As a Service” offerings such as retail and wholesale SIP trunking, CPaaS, Fax, Video Meetings, and our soon-to-be-released access control solution. Similar in concept to our “End-to-end UC Solution” that I discussed when talking about the Frost and Sullivan award, we want to offer “End-to-end As a Service Communications.”
As always, it was a pleasure talking to Rich. I am looking forward to doing it in person at some point, hopefully relatively soon. To watch the video interview, please go here.
Microsoft Exchange Server attacks: 'They're being hacked faster than we can count', says security company
“Just text me”
Those three words are being said now more than ever. It’s the perfect way to send a message without verbally interrupting a current conversation, meeting, class, ride – really anything. I even have some friends that, if they call me, I automatically assume something is wrong, because they never call… they just text.
With gen-Zers and even young millennials thinking that a phone call is just “old fashioned” or “formal”, choosing to send a text over making a phone call truly is the new normal. Now, it’s becoming highly requested and, in some cases expected, in the business communication world.
SMS stands for “Short Message Service”, and it’s basically a technical term for a text message. Business owners can now harness the immediacy and convenience of SMS messaging with many UC (Unified Communications) business phone systems. Imagine sitting in an Uber on your way to the airport, or sitting in a drive-thru on your lunch break. You have a simple question you want to ask your realtor/broker/child’s teacher/lawyer/insert profession here, and you don’t want to navigate the formalities or time of an actual phone call. Imagine being able to both call or text the exact same business phone number to ask that question. In my opinion, that’s a dream come true!
SMS is getting business accomplished faster than ever. Companies can protect their employees by giving them a way to receive messages from customers or clients without having to give up their personal phone number. With an SMS-enabled business phone system, you can add “Call or Text” to your business cards, and potentially get more business than you would have if it involved an actual call. I’d rather send a quick text message to a company for a rough quote or set-up a meeting without having to dial and sit in an IVR waiting to speak with someone. And voicemails….don’t even get me started! Yes, they are a way to communicate a message, but a text – now that’s immediate! The industries that can benefit from this are virtually everywhere!
Here are some examples of how customers and prospects can use SMS to communicate with a business:
Here are some ways business owners and organizations can use SMS to offer better service and improve customer experience:
I could go on and on. Minimally invasive yet effective and convenient ways to communicate will win every time. It’s not just sales departments that benefit: SMS is a great way for customer service teams to check-in with a customer, or for a small business to put a personal touch on recent orders. I personally text my hairdresser on her business number to see what she has available for a haircut next week.
According to Forbes: “64% of consumers believe that businesses should use SMS messages to interact with customers more often than they currently do.”
Texting is the most prominent form of communication in the industry today, and it deserves its place in day-to-day business communication. SMS gives businesses a way to stand out from their competitors and offer unmatched availability. It saves your company time, gets you feedback from customers faster, and helps you engage with your customers on a more personal level.
Having been in the game for quite some time and listening to our customers and partners requests, Sangoma has implemented SMS capabilities with it’s UC phone systems. Tying in SIPStation Retail with Switchvox provides users the convenience of the “call and text” from the same number feature with messages coming straight to your desktop softphone.
Not to mention that SIPStation is saving them money each month (up to 80%) from costly analog or PRI lines. Switchvox Cloud now has access to Sangoma Connect Mobile, SMS text messaging, an updated Switchvox Desktop Softphone, and more built right in. And as always, with Switchvox ALL features are included. Our Sales Team is standing by.
Are you using multiple communications vendors?
If you’re using more than one Unified Communications vendor, that can be a problem – or at least a nuisance. Managing multiple tools, different training resources, and installations can take up your valuable time.
Many organizations are opting to go with single-vendor Unified Communications solutions for their business phone system, IP phones, and video conferencing software.
The Benefits of a Single Unified Communications Vendor
Rather than emailing one vendor about your employee instant messaging platform, calling a different one for your IP phones, and reaching out to yet another about your video conferencing app, wouldn’t it be great if it all came from a single vendor?
With an end-to-end UC vendor who is focused on their end customer, you can streamline the purchase of any telephony hardware, collaboration software, and support for all your communications needs. You should also be able to easily integrate your existing CRM and email platforms with your business phone system.
According to Michael Brandenburg, Senior Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, “Sangoma ranks as one of the few remaining competitors in the unified communications market that delivers a complete portfolio of on-premise, hybrid, and cloud-based solutions. Both businesses and service providers appreciate Sangoma as a one-stop-shop partner that meets their diverse communications requirements.”
Click here to download the full award report.
Can your current phone system vendor offer necessary support?
Need emergency support or some hardware upgrades? Looking to switch to a UCaaS solution? You might have even been wondering “What is UC?” in the first place. Being able to reach out to a single source to get these answers or services is immeasurable when running a business.
Regardless of your current communications set-up, your vendor should be able to provide you with all the products and services you require. Unfortunately, not all vendors are up to the task.
Sangoma – A Trusted UC Advisor
Sangoma’s products and services include from video conferencing software, business phone systems, telephony cards, and everything in between. And with ‘all features included’ pricing on Sangoma’s Switchvox Unified Communications solution, you get a future-proof system without the fear of paying extra for robust functionality. You get to enjoy the full suite of features, so you never miss out on the many benefits of UC.
The breadth of products and services offered and supported was an important factor in Sangoma receiving the 2020 North American Unified Communications and Collaboration Competitive Strategy Leadership Award from the industry experts Frost & Sullivan.
Click here to download the full award report.
The post Choosing a Business Phone System Vendor: The Value in an End-To-End Unified Communications appeared first on Sangoma.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog titled “Is CPaaS a channel opportunity?”. I got a few questions about CPaaS in general and why it might be important to “service providers” who offer cloud services.
CPaaS is an important and easy way to add some kind of service to or augment an existing service already in your communication cloud offering. Since Sangoma offers cloud unified communication services, sometimes we have customers who want to do something more, something specific. And while CPaaS is typically historically talked about as a way for a developer to create an application or enhance an application, and that’s fine, a developer could easily be us. We could use our own CPaaS to enhance the cloud offer. And that’s important so we can help our customers service their customers better.
So, it’s important to understand if your cloud communications provider has a CPaaS offer, not only for the developers out there but for themselves to use.
The post Applications Enable Cloud Communications Services Customization appeared first on Sangoma.
It’s been a little over a year that Sangoma purchased .e4. At the time of purchase, we said, “This deal significantly strengthens Sangoma’s sales and support for both FreePBX and Asterisk, as well as further demonstrates Sangoma’s deep commitment to the open source market.” So I think it’s fair to ask if we have accomplished that goal.
From my perspective, yes, we have. Mike White and the team have focused on the open source customer base like we wanted them to. We have more dialogue going with the community. The business we derive from the open source projects FreePBX and Asterisk, such as selling phones, SIP trunking and FreePBX modules, remains strong. We wanted Mike and his team to spearhead this. That was our plan, and that’s what’s happened.
Coincident with the acquisition of .e4 was also putting dedicated open source marketing plans in place. You may have seen we refreshed the logo for FreePBX and created an Asterisk mascot. These are small examples of an increased marketing focus, but nonetheless important. We also ran a multi-day virtual AstriCon conference since we couldn’t do an in-person one. Frankly, this was more work than running an actual conference.
We’ve also had a few questions about whether the pending acquisition of Star2Star will impact our focus on open source. It’s a natural question to ask – “As you grow, the percent of revenue coming in from the adjunct businesses that support open source changes.” Yes, it changes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about it. There are no plans to decrease the engineering, marketing or sales spend on open source. We’ve actually grown this total spend in 2020. We have a focus on it now, and that will continue. The teams will remain the same. And it’s important to remember open source to us is also about innovation and supporting innovation, and that commitment remains strong.
I recently did a podcast with Mike, so if you want to listen to that, please go here.
The post One Year for .e4 in Sangoma and will Star2Star Impact our Open Source focus? appeared first on Sangoma.
I usually don’t write too many blogs about our success stories, but I wanted to write this one since the installation occurred within the past few months, during all these trying times we are in. And a shout-out to our partner in Appleton, Wisconsin, Unitel, who played a huge role in making this happen.
Appleton Harley-Davidson was looking to upgrade from their existing old phone system. They wanted something modern, such as touch screen phones, something that would connect their campus easily, something that would save them money, something that would be easy to manage and most importantly something that would give them contact center functionality such as auto-attendant simply and easily. And they did not want any hidden costs. A Switchvox on-prem solution fit their needs perfectly.
Remote / Online training enabled early learning, and Unitel also hosted in-person training, so that the installation would go smoothly. Given Harley-Davidson colors are black and orange, Unitel also supplied orange phone cords with the phones.
It’s nice to see during these times how a new customer got going.
To read the full case study, please go here.