Background and Company Performance
The global conferencing services market is in a state of rapid transition. The segments comprising the total market, including hosted audio, web and video conferencing as well as managed video conferencing services will each experience varying growth rates over the next seven years. As a result, total market growth will be spurred by high growth rates of new services and tempered by the commoditization of mature technologies and services. Frost & Sullivan forecasts the total global conferencing services market to experience a 3.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with 2014 revenues of $7.3 Billion estimated to reach $9.4 Billion in 2021.
Uneven growth rates in the different conferencing market segments pose certain challenges for providers seeking long-term stability and success. The mature audio conferencing services sector is facing commoditization with persistent downward price pressures which will significantly impact overall revenue growth. The established and still healthy web conferencing services market is increasingly crowded with competing solutions which make it more difficult for providers to stand out and gain new business. The established and mature managed video conferencing services sector is experiencing little churn as most customer organizations are locked into provider relationships, yet this space is forecast to experience smooth growth as businesses continue to outsource solutions management to trusted providers. The hosted and cloud video conferencing services segment is expected to buoy aggregate conferencing services market growth as organizations avoid large capital investments in favor of subscription-based service delivery by third-parties. However, the anticipated high cloud video conferencing services market growth rate is also driving an influx of new solutions and providers into this sector, making it difficult for customers to identify the best-fit solutions and most capable providers.
Conferencing services and capabilities offered as part of unified communications (UC) bundles will also compete against stand-alone solutions. Conferencing service providers (CSPs) are expected to increasingly compete against enterprise communications vendors offering conferencing capabilities at very compelling price points. While most of the enterprise communications vendors offer full-blown conferencing capabilities as part of their premium-tier UC packages, Frost & Sullivan expects multi-party conferencing capabilities to become included in entry level UC bundles as competition intensifies.
Provider success in the conferencing services market, as in most other industries, is determined by both strategy and execution. Certain providers have failed to grow due to lack of timely response to changing customer demands and technology innovation. Others have been unable to sustain competitive growth rates due to poor execution despite their seemingly compelling vision.
As the market matures, as technology advances and competition increases, it will be attributes such as provider viability, experience, market reach, and a broader portfolio of complementary solutions that will become critical factors for success. Going forward market share, a strong brand, profitability, and reference customer accounts will be key considerations in customer selection of conferencing service providers.
A market share leadership position in this industry indicates a powerful vision, early recognition of evolving customer demands, a focus on technology innovation, as well as service quality, customer value, and superior customer service. A successful combination of all these factors is likely to enable a provider to maintain leadership and continue on a growth path in coming years.
Market Leadership of InterCall
Frost & Sullivan is pleased to recognize InterCall (now known as West Unified Communications Services) for its outstanding performance in the global conferencing services market. InterCall has earned this award based on the company’s relentless pursuit of technology excellence in the conferencing service space. In 2014 InterCall continued to demonstrate its supremacy in the global conferencing services market with 18.7 percent share of total global conferencing service revenue. In this fast-evolving market, InterCall continued to show strength and leadership due to its strategy and implementation excellence, brand strength, technology leverage, as well as through delivering compelling price/performance value and service experiences.
Growth Strategy Excellence
Frost & Sullivan recognizes that throughout the years InterCall has demonstrated the ability to not only identify, prioritize, and pursue emerging growth opportunities, but also lead the market in terms of industry innovation. One of the first providers to offer reservation-less audio conferencing services in 1999, the company’s audio conferencing portfolio, features and capabilities have been unmatched by competitors, with tens of billions of conferencing minutes consumed on a yearly basis and more than 500,000 ports in use globally. Today, InterCall’s leadership in the global audio conferencing services market is undisputed.
While audio conferencing services remain core strength to InterCall, the provider has successfully expanded its collaboration services portfolio over the years, growing in both market share and recognition. Today, InterCall offers its own well-known web and video conferencing solutions (InterCall Unified Meeting, InterCall Video Conferencing Bridging Services, and InterCall Video Managed Services) and supports a wide variety of third-party web and video conferencing offerings (Cisco WebEX, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Skype for Business, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and Blue Jeans Network. Such a wide audio/web/video portfolio has kept the company in a growing pattern in comparison to decreasing sales of other CSPs who mainly focused on audio conferencing. Today InterCall’s full-blown portfolio can satisfy a wide range of customer needs.
Integration of its conferencing technologies into third-party communication applications, efficiently addressing vertical use cases, and offering compelling hosted/cloud unified communications bundles will be some of InterCall’s key strategies going forward.
InterCall’s implementation excellence in the global conferencing services market is evidenced by the company’s large installed base of conferencing and collaboration customers, consisting of Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies and over 2.7 million conference leaders in 75,000 customer organizations. With an extensive portfolio of conferencing and collaboration solutions, a variety of pricing models, and an ever-evolving proprietary infrastructure, InterCall ensures that its customers have what they need to collaborate better and more efficiently. The company is committed to research and development (R&D) to continuously create competitive differentiators in the marketplace.
Over the past two years, InterCall released a number of features and capabilities, enhancing its overall product offering, including:
- The availability of the latest release of Unified Meeting 5 web-conferencing, which delivered multiple new features, including Call Management, Multiple Application Sharing, Click to Join via VoIP, and Call Me/Dial Out.
- The release of InterCall Enterprise Connectivity Conferencing (ECC) Lync Edition to connect customer-owned Lync Server deployments to the InterCall cloud, thus enabling high-scale for enterprise-wide audio conferencing.
- Offering Blue Jeans Network cloud video conferencing with InterCall Reservationless-Plus audio conferencing.
- The continuous support and integration with Cisco conferencing and collaboration solutions, including the deployment and support of the Collaboration Meeting Rooms Cloud (CMR) service enabled by Cisco WebEx and support for Cisco WebEx Cloud Connect Audio (CCA-SP).
These recent solution enhancements will enable InterCall to deliver even greater value to its customers and more successfully implement its growth strategy. Overall, InterCall has maintained or grown its share in the global conferencing services segments due to its ability to effectively execute on its vision.
InterCall enjoys superior brand recognition and considerable mindshare among conferencing users as a true leader in the collaboration space and a premier provider of audio conferencing services. Known for its financial health and its continued year-over-year growth in the conferencing industry since the company was founded, InterCall has always focused its efforts on marketing and promoting its brand as the most widely-adopted global conferencing platform. InterCall has also made significant efforts to secure solid integration with multiple third-party technologies and provide extensive configuration and customization options. InterCall’s continuous transformation over the past decade has granted it the well-deserved recognition as a key best-of-breed conferencing and collaboration solutions developer. Originally known for its audio conferencing services, InterCall is viewed today as a first class provider of audio, web, and video collaboration. Frost & Sullivan notes that the company has invested considerable time and resources to publicize its vision, direction, and overall strategy, gaining the trust and confidence of a large portion of enterprise communication customers and partners across the world. When prospective customer decision makers are looking for a trusted technology partner they can easily identify InterCall as a viable candidate in this crowded market.
In addition to considerable R&D investments and continuous enhancements of its in-house technology, InterCall leverages an extensive ecosystem of established unified communications (UC), web and video partners. The company’s goal is to deliver collaboration technologies that complement its conferencing services, while offering customers a variety of collaboration options to choose from.
Today, InterCall has established relationships with leading collaboration providers, including Adobe, AVI-SPL, Blue Jeans, Cisco, Microsoft, ON24, Polycom, and York Telecom, among others. The commitment to partners is demonstrated by InterCall’s leadership position in the web conferencing reseller market. In addition to its own successful Unified Meeting web conferencing solution, InterCall is one of the largest resellers of web communication solutions from Cisco, Microsoft, and others. Today, InterCall is successfully leveraging its large audio conferencing customer base to grow web and video conferencing service usage. Through API integrations, shared technologies, strong global network, co-marketing opportunities, and joint sales efforts, InterCall has positioned itself as a comprehensive collaboration provider with best-of-breed communication tools and technologies and a best-fit strategy to meet customer requirements.
Frost & Sullivan expects InterCall to see growing conferencing and collaboration opportunities in conjunction with its parent company, West. As the parent company’s VoiceMaxx and VoiceMaxx CE hosted/cloud VoIP offerings continue to grow, InterCall is expected to growing its conferencing stack in partnership with West.
InterCall offers customers attractive bundles at competitive pricing. It offers a variety of pricing models, including pay-per-use, large multimedia conferencing contracts and subscription bundles at flat rates. InterCall understands that each customer typically has different pricing requirements, depending on enterprise conferencing usage and budgetary constraints. Frost & Sullivan's competitive analysis reveals that the capabilities included in InterCall’s various pricing alternatives match or exceed those offered by other market participants at similar price points. For competitive fees per minute or per month, businesses receive high-quality enterprise conferencing services to address their collaboration needs. Annual subscriptions are discounted with upfront payment, making them even more compelling than monthly plans.
Overall, InterCall conferencing solutions deliver excellent value and performance at highly competitive price levels. The company regularly adjusts its contract values and service tariffs according to each customer’s specific needs and current economic conditions in the regions it serves.
Customer Service Experience
InterCall’s wide and differentiated product portfolio is complemented with a superior customer service experience. InterCall leverages a large team of account managers and coordinators, sales staff, operators, and customer service representatives to serve its worldwide customers. The company maintains approximately 1000 global account executives, account managers and sales engineers as well as over 1900 operators and customer service representatives worldwide.
InterCall provides help and support services for each business segment. For large organizations, InterCall provides a dedicated account management team and assigned solutions consultants that assist businesses with various needs, including unique hosted applications requirements, migration to hybrid solutions and implementation of communications processes. For medium-sized organizations, InterCall employs a mix of large external and internal sales teams to assist businesses with service definition that take into account IT constraints, level of technical expertise required, cost efficiency needs, and other current and future requirements. Finally, InterCall also provides customized support to small businesses through a variety of tools and services such as pre-packaged solutions, online marketing efforts, online support tools, and 800-number access to client support.
Frost & Sullivan research shows that less than one percent of InterCall’s meetings require technical support. However, if needed, technicians are available 24/7 to assist customers with audio, web and video on the same call. Assistance from InterCall is available by phone, email or mid-meeting. Typical requests are answered within 11 seconds.
Frost & Sullivan's independent analysis of the global conferencing services market clearly shows that InterCall’s solid growth and implementation strategy, innovative and price competitive portfolio, tight customer focus, and strong brand recognition in the conferencing services market are among the factors that have helped the company to excel in this industry and stand out from the competition. With its strong overall performance, InterCall has achieved a leadership position in the global conferencing services market, with 18.7 percent share of total conferencing services sales. Frost & Sullivan is proud to bestow the 2015 Global Market Leadership Award to InterCall.
Significance of Market Leadership
Ultimately, growth in any organization depends upon customers purchasing from your company, and then making the decision to return time and again. Loyal customers become brand advocates; brand advocates recruit new customers; the company grows; and then it attains market leadership. To achieve and maintain market leadership, an organization must strive to be best-in-class in three key areas: understanding demand, nurturing the brand, differentiating from the competition.
Understanding Market Leadership
As discussed on the previous page, driving demand, strengthening the brand, and competitive differentiation all play a critical role in a company’s path to market leadership. This three-fold focus, however, is only the beginning of the journey and must be complemented by an equally rigorous focus on the customer experience. Best-practice organizations therefore commit to the customer at each stage of the buying cycle and continue to nurture the relationship once the customer has made a purchase. In this way, they build a loyal, ever-growing customer base and methodically add to their market share over time.
Key Performance Criteria
For the Market Leadership Award, Frost & Sullivan focused on specific criteria to determine the areas of performance excellence that led to the company’s leadership position. The criteria we considered include (although not limited to) the following:
The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards
Frost & Sullivan’s 360-degree research methodology represents the analytical rigor of our research process. It offers a 360-degree-view of industry challenges, trends, and issues by integrating all 7 of Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies. Too often, companies make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their environment, leading to errors of both omission and commission. Successful growth strategies are founded on a thorough understanding of market, technical, economic, financial, customer, best practices, and demographic analyses. The integration of these research disciplines into the 360-degree research methodology provides an evaluation platform for benchmarking industry players and for identifying those performing at best-in-class levels.
About Frost & Sullivan
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