Editor’s Note: Revised by Alon Cohen EVP/CTO Phone.com. Based on an article by Alexander Haislip who is a marketing executive with cloud-based server automation startup ScaleXtreme and the author of Essentials of Venture Capital.
Pity the telecom conglomerate incumbents, their salespeople and employees, most of whom are now being served with divorce papers, finally giving their spouses a way out from their arranged marriages. Shed a tear for the dial tone makers, no longer able to lock-in long-term engagements. Their customers are cheating on them with sexy new VoIP startups.
Today’s telephony users and IT professionals are genuinely opportunistic, swapping services and systems around like yesterday’s socks. What’s worse: management is happy about the trend and the features that come with these sexy VoIP services. They promote the change agents and give them larger budgets to install those new services that purport to provide immediate savings.
I blame the perkiness, the ease of use of the SaaS-ified cloud-based VoiP services and the put-it-out and give-it-away all included low cost plans offered. They’ve seduced telephony professionals with their breezy fresh attitudes. They have undercut the “high” moral fiber, high maintenance services that established enterprise vendors have long embodied vis-à-vis long term commitment and nepotism drenched sales agreements.
This fresh mode of doing business is penetrating every aspect of enterprise IT and telecom. Its seductive invitation to professionals could not be more direct with “pay-as-you-go.” There is no doubt as to why such a “slatternly” proposition goes unchecked by the authorities. It is offering what they always wanted but feared to ask.
The companies engaged in Software-as-a-Service do so without any courtship rituals expected of a well-trained enterprise salesperson. It used to be accepted that telecom professionals could expect months of meetings, calls, flowers and presentations before getting down to business with an agreement that needs two legal departments to conclude. The Software-as-a-Service companies fully embrace the concept of first-come-first-served, conducting their business with whomever should encounter their website.
There is still the issue of that awful acronymization! Oh, and how they pronounce it. “SaaS.” Surely every linguist with solid mind might have avoided such an inconspicuous word., However they deal with telecom people who do not miss a bit.
A Public Confession
I oppose any moral decline specifically in the information technology industry driven by this movement. I have seen first-hand how they destroy committed long-term relationships between the telecom conglomerates and their customers. Sure, there were rocky moments between the love birds—the agreement term, the slow service, the integration and training consulting—but leaving was never an option under the old agreement. When you tied the knot with a vendor, you couldn’t just unwind it. However, is it really a moral decline or an incline? Times have changed!
I am proud that I have contributed to that incline. Our company Phone.com phone.com and its services are delivered as a service and available online. Worst of all, we empower telecom professionals to try cloud telephony for the first time and even let them twist our knobs the way they always wanted to.
I know we are enticing telecom professionals, good people, to abandon their incumbent spouses, to try things they could only dream about in their most intimate dreams, but is it so wrong? At least we’re honest about who we are.