BroadSoft: The most important UC vendor you probably haven’t heard of

The unified communications company hopes to elevate its name recognition with its BroadSoft Business suite and its Powered by BroadSoft branding initiative

BroadSoft: The most important communications vendor most businesses haven’t heard of

Most businesses aren’t aware of who BroadSoft is, but if they use a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provider, they are likely using BroadSoft’s services. The company provides the building blocks for service providers to build cloud-based communications services such as voice, video, web conferencing and now team messaging and contextual services. 

Customers of BroadSoft are a veritable “who’s who” in the telecom world, including Verizon, Comcast, Vonage and Orange. Service providers have sold over 15 million BroadSoft seats, so the company may be the most important vendor that most businesses have never heard of.

Powered by BroadSoft branding initiative 

At BroadSoft’s annual user conference (Connections) last week, the company announced an initiative called “Powered by BroadSoft” where a service provider can carry the tagline as part of its branding. For example, Verizon could advertise “Verizon One Talk,” which is built on BroadSoft technology, as “Powered by BroadSoft.” Of course, this is meaningful only if customers care and believe the built-on-BroadSoft service is better than a non-BroadSoft service. 

Typically most customers don’t have much of an opinion about the underlying technology of something they buy. Do people know which camera or CPU is in an iPhone or which servers Amazon uses to build its cloud platform? In general, no, but there have been a few exceptions where the technology branding mattered. 

The most successful case with telecom services has been service providers that carried the “Cisco Powered” brand. I’ve seen RFPs from customers that specifically asked for Cisco Powered services, and many customers did believe these to be superior. Another example is “Intel Inside” where a computer that had that logo on it was believed by many to perform better than one that did not. So, although successful branding of this kind is rare, there is precedent for it. 

For it to work, BroadSoft will have to do more direct marketing and branding work with businesses, which are the customers of its customers. To help with this, the company announced a new BroadSoft Business suite built on the following three core applications: 

  • UC-One is a cloud-delivered, integrated communications suite that includes everything a worker would need to connect and meet with other individuals. The solution includes a cloud PBX, single number dial, HD voice and video, chat and presence, virtual rooms, screen sharing and contextual information. And it can be used on a mobile device or through a web browser. The tight integration across the products can streamline communication processes, making life easier for the end user.

  • Team One enables BroadSoft’s service providers to quickly jump into the highly competitive team messaging space and compete with the likes of Slack, Cisco Spark, Microsoft Team and Unify Circuit. Like other products in this space, Team One organizes information such as tasks, files or messages by workstream and cuts down on the reliance on email. BroadSoft did a nice job extending the value of Team One by integrating the product with a number of mainstream enterprise applications, such Drive, Salesforce and over 50 others. Service providers, software developers and businesses can do their own integration via software connectors, REST APIs and widget APIs.

  • CC One is BroadSoft’s cloud center solution. It has fully integrated omni-channel capabilities, enabling integrated communications over web, email, chat, voice and social. Because it’s delivered from the cloud, BroadSoft’s service provider customers can offer it to businesses of all sizes.

All three products in the BroadSoft Business suite can pull contextual intelligence from BroadSoft Hub, which gives users faster, predictive access to content and other data. For example, if Mary were to look up a user named Michael Tessler, BroadSoft Hub would aggregate all recent interactions. Mary would then quickly be reminded that Tessler is CEO of BroadSoft and she discussed getting a discount on services with him the last time they spoke. 

The fast moving world of cloud communications certainly sets BroadSoft up to have success with its “Powered by BroadSoft” initiative. Service providers will need to move fast to keep with up with the over-the-top solutions, and BroadSoft can offer competitive solutions right now instead of the service provider having to build, test and roll out their own. 

Additionally, BroadSoft will provide several other marketing resources, including co-branded white papers and marketing collateral, as well as fully functioning microsites. 

For smaller service providers, “Powered by BroadSoft” is a no-brainer because it gives them credibility with customers. The larger service providers I talked to at Connections were lukewarm on co-branding because they felt that their brand was stronger than BroadSoft’s—and they’re right. This puts the ball in BroadSoft’s court to go do the work and spend the money to raise their own brand so customers want BroadSoft instead of asking “who?” 

Also, it will be interesting to see how BroadSoft handles a number of issues that will likely surface over time. For example, if a service provider that carries the Powered by BroadSoft tagline has a poor network and degrades the performance, it could create an impression that all BroadSoft providers are poor. Right now, BroadSoft does not have any technical requirements associated with the branding, but the company may need to put some specifications in place to ensure there’s a minimum level of quality.

Another issue is that some of the company’s larger service provider customers, which spend more money or use more services, may want to distinguish themselves from smaller ones by being “BroadSoft Gold” or some other tiered designation. Right now, there are no tiers, but the company is thinking about it.

If you use a communications service from the cloud, more likely than not BroadSoft is the underlying infrastructure. You may not know this today, but if BroadSoft executes properly, you will in the very near future.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.