CPEXPO2016 The recent Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas was my 13th visit to this show, and from my observations, I believe it lived up to its promotion as the biggest and best installment of the show to date. More carriers, service providers, exhibitors and other participants seemed to be in attendance, and the interest and enthusiasm about hot topics like UCaaS were particularly encouraging to see.

RingCentral was well represented, not only by the team that staffed our heavily trafficked booth in the exhibit hall, but by our channel partner team led by yours truly and Ryan Azus, our Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. We attended the show this year determined to demonstrate RingCentral’s serious commitment to investing in and growing the channel, and to demonstrate the unique and rewarding market- and revenue-building opportunities RingCentral offers channel partners. We wanted to drive home our message: Think RingCentral First. By all accounts, I believe we succeeded.

As I’ve mentioned before, Transparency Market Research estimates that by 2018 VoIP and unified communications will be a $69.1B market.To date, penetration of this marketplace has been less than 10 percent. At this year’s Channel Partners Conference, attendees seemed much more interested in UCaaS than in years past. We heard, both in conversations with attendees at our booth and in private meetings with 22 master agent executives, that they’re getting a lot of requests to go full in on UCaaS to support the continuing trend of companies moving off on-premise business communications systems to cloud-based business communications solutions. A number of them told us that not only are they getting a lot of inquiries about UCaaS in general, but about RingCentral in particular. We certainly liked hearing that.

Master agents, distributors, ISVs and others were also very familiar with the September 2015 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide report that ranked RingCentral in the upper right leadership quadrant for our completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Among the specific Gartner comments that particularly resonated with agents and distributors were:

  • RingCentral is one of the largest global UCaaS providers relative to UCaaS-devoted endpoints supported, revenue, market growth, number of employees, and capital investment. Users report good customer satisfaction.
  • RingCentral continues to expand its capabilities and in 2015 added integration with Google Apps for Work, Microsoft 365, and a RingCentral-branded contact center (inContact).
  • The company continues to invest in its project management, processes and account management for supporting accounts over 1,000 employees.
  • The RingCentral UC stack is intuitive, and users often leverage multiple UC services, including SMS and instant messaging, mobility, Web conferencing and video conferencing (not just VoIP).

These comments, along with the fact that more than 300,000 customers rely on RingCentral, were clearly on the minds of the master agents and distributors with whom we met. Not surprisingly, Gartner reports carry a lot of weight with these folks, and they were very interested in talking about how they might work with RingCentral most effectively on their UCaaS go-to-market strategies.

Our plans to deepen our relationships with ISVs to enhance our cloud platform were also of great interest to them.

Looking beyond the U.S. market

The other hot topic this year was globalization. There’s clearly a recognition that international opportunities are abundant, and no one wants to leave money on the table. So, the question of how to expand beyond the U.S. was discussed quite a bit.

For RingCentral, this was another opportunity to demonstrate the unique value we can offer partners via RingCentral Global Office, our single global UCaaS solution designed for multinational enterprises that need to connect their workforces across multiple countries, and our new Global Connect Network, a redundant service delivery architecture built from the ground up that is scalable, secure, and ensures high-quality service to support unified communications across geographies. Together, these new offerings help companies expand their operations while minimizing the geographic, governmental and regulatory complexities that often hobble globalization initiatives.

While nearly all master agents and many distributors remain focused on the domestic market, they are clearly looking ahead and evaluating the optimal ways to go global themselves. And we’re delighted that many of them expressed an interest in working with RingCentral to make those moves.

Overall, the Channel Partners show was a great event for us. We had a lot of productive meetings, both planned and impromptu, and now we need to follow up on those conversations to build even more productive and mutually beneficial partner relationships that ultimately help customers here in the U.S. and abroad become more effective in managing their operations and serving their customers.

As always, I invite you to contact me anytime at zane.long@ringcentral.com to learn more about the RingCentral Partner Programs and discuss opportunities to work and grow together. To paraphrase a line from an old rock hit, UCaaS’ future’s so bright, we’ll all have to wear shades.

[* Transparency Market Research, March 2013.]