Former BroadSoft exec Mike Wilkinson is relishing his new Edgewater Networks VP International role as the US giant bids to expand across the UK and Europe.
Having previously heard about Edgewater's strategy and capability to solve problems faced by service providers in the region it didn't take Wilkinson long to snap up the opportunity he was presented with to lead the charge in an area that reflects his own experience.
"I spent many years at BroadSoft where it was my role to help operators deploy and manage large unified communication and collaboration solutions," he explained. "I saw first hand the issues they faced and was always looking for solutions to solve them. My new responsibilities are to develop new business with both service providers and channel partners in Europe and potentially further afield."
Wilkinson's main priorities right now are to get Edgewater products designed into the solutions of the UCaaS providers he is targeting. "This is a relatively long process because certain service providers' product introduction cycles tend to be lengthy," he commented. "As such, we have to be detail-oriented and go through a number of different service concepts. Once we've done that we can start working with UCaaS providers on deployment. In terms of challenges, in a lot of cases each service provider we work with can be individualistic in regards to their organisational structure and the workflows they have in place. You have to understand that dynamic and fit your product into the best possible areas. So a process of thorough consultation is required."
Wilkinson identified three key growth areas that most occupy Edgewater's focus and strategy - real-time session security, UCaaS service assurance and SD-WAN. "It's a large market and there are plenty of opportunities," he added. "We have some partners working with us already and as we progress into more specialised niche areas we are likely to be working with additional partners, targeting at least five new service providers within 2018. We aim to build into the footprints of service providers that have already got relatively successful businesses and then help them to grow faster. Regarding the location of the business, we will put down roots where we see it being most conducive to the customer base we've already got."
The role of resellers in this scenario cannot be overstated, confirmed Wilkinson. "VARs and SIs have a pivotal role to play," he stated. "They're the glue between the customer base and the technology within the vendors and service providers. Over time they'll become increasingly specialised in terms of understanding the needs of their customers. Soon we will see more and more VARs and SIs gain specific vertical knowledge, take a portfolio of products and build solutions specifically for those verticals. You can already see this developing in the UCaaS market today with the likes of Fourteen IP and thevoicefactory."