The changing face of communications
An interview with Mark Senior
Mark Senior, veteran of the unified communications space, joined Gamma’s product team in July 2018.
Appointed to head up and oversee the launch of the new Horizon Collaborate solution and continue the company’s growth in the UCaaS space as Unified Communications & Collaboration Product Manager, Mark brings over 10 years UC marketplace experience to the role.
As the channel braces itself for irrevocable changes in the telephony landscape over the next five years, we caught up with Mark to gather some key insight into the changing environment and what this means for Gamma’s channel partners.
What does a typical day at Gamma look like to you?
One of the best parts of being a Product Manager is the variability of the role. I spend a lot of time on conference calls working with all parts of the business – on one call I can be talking technical solutions with engineering and the next I could be with marketing on an upcoming campaign. I split my time between working from home or one of our offices. But I’m often out on the road meeting with our customers and partners.
What does digital transformation mean to you?
I think it’s fair to say digital transformation means different things to different people. Fundamentally I think it’s about using digital technology to change the way a business operates, moving with the tide in order to improve processes and efficiency. My interest is around the value unified communications can add to today’s business landscape and how it can improve the way people communicate both internally but also externally to partners and customers.
How do you think this will affect the landscape of the Channel?
Opportunity. Whenever a customer identifies a need for change, it opens up an opportunity to sell.
The channel needs to think about business outcomes and how they can help a customer with digital transformation in order to be more successful. But most of the channel partners that I meet understand that and know it’s not just about adding margin, but more about how they are able to help solve a customer’s problem.
Productivity is cited as one of the key adoption drivers for UC. How do you think UC solutions will help end customers become more efficient?
It’s really about eliminating wasted time and effort. Seeing when someone is available using the ‘presence’ feature eliminates wasted time for instance. Gone are the days when you would leave multiple messages on multiple devices because you did not know the person you are trying to contact is in a meeting and not able to take calls.
But it’s also about having immediate access to the best communications tools. I often turn a telephone call into a conference call by dragging a contact – its immediate and saves on wasting time arranging a conference and sending out invites.
What do you think are the other key drivers for businesses adopting UC solutions?
The historical reasons are still there, such as opex savings and productivity. But some of the drivers that have more benefits than expected include employee demand – people prefer to use the tools they are used to. For example Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp drive the demand for Instant Messaging in the office. I have university age children, and I don’t bother trying to call them, instead I need to message them on Instagram.
Collaboration is another key adoption driver, more of us are working in virtual teams, across different locations, and may never actually meet the people we are working with face to face. To be effective, the team needs the tools that allow them to communicate effectively and easily.
How do you think the introduction of new UC solutions will affect the landscape of hosted telephony?
The ability to make and receive phone calls is still really important to customers – we still need to talk to people outside the organisation such as customers and suppliers. Customers I speak to are filtering through the hype and demanding UC solutions that include voice calling that meets the needs of their users and is reflective of their business. The way we are making those calls though is changing as we adopt more software-based solutions.
For example an increasing amount of calls are made using a headset and PC. Notably though, the modern telecoms landscape means that we are moving some of those calls to other mediums such as instant messaging and video.
Gamma has identified key opportunities in SME and mid-market for Cloud communications and UC – what does this mean for Gamma and your strategy moving forward?
The strategy is about expanding rather than changing the target market. Gamma and our channel partners have and continue to do exceptionally well selling into SME customers. But with our UC product, they are now better placed to sell into mid-market too. The buying behaviour in mid-market is slightly different, so will require some adjustment, but we have spent time and effort on the tools and support to help our partners, working alongside them as they expand into that space.
With Cloud penetration set to reach around 40% by 2022 – how is Gamma helping to pave the way for Channel Partners in the face of such change?
We need to continue to give our channel partners access to the products that customers are demanding, we need to carry on doing that in a way that makes it really easy for them to sell and deploy. The difference with Gamma compared with most in our peer group of competitors is that we own the network. This means that we can confidently ensure the quality of service that channel partners and end users expect from Gamma.