Andy Lippman, Associate Director of MIT Media Lab, kicks off Comms Vision Convention 2015

Lippman's opening keynote was a triumph. For forward thinkers with ambition, he opened new avenues of thought. But for the less adventurous, the implications of disruptive technology, as he sees it, may be a worrisome prospect for those unable to read the market and give empowered customers what they want.

The long-held convention that technology drives change was summarily overturned by Lippman, and the principle that society is now central to collective democratic institutional and industry disruption was strongly argued.

He reminded Comms Vision delegates that 'people from MIT never get it wrong', so his assessment of deeply rooted social institutions being challenged by everyday Internet users should not be seen as being ballooned out of all proportion. It is a major extension of power into the hands of individuals.

Technologists aren't anywhere near the real drivers of change, he suggested. The place to look for the next big disruption is among the people who use technology, not the innovators.

This point matters. The implications are that end users will ultimately call the shots and resellers must peg their strategies to the incremental demands of this power shift to remain relevant.

Change there must be, and its significance was made clear by Lippman who offered delegates an opportunity to re-imagine tomorrow's world through the MIT lens.

"Look at what's happening with disruptive technology," he said. "It's not technology driven, but pushed by societal factors. The demands on technology are what society needs and wants.

"Today's disruptions such as Uber, AirBnB, Bitcoin and Kickstarter are not based on technological invention, but they challenge deeply rooted social institutions by transforming heavyweight social practices into massless and weightless viral phenomena.

"Viral systems are grassroots ideas that start small, scale and gain value in scaling. They can be a programme, a hardware design, a communications system or means of social interaction."

Lippman noted that the spirit of disruption goes hand in hand with the idea of faith in numbers. "The fundamental change is the Internet," he added. "The Internet was anonymous 20 years ago, now our true identities are online and everyone knows who you are. The world has turned upside down, and this disruption strikes deep at the heart of social institutions."

The real need is to understand the technical and social drivers that cause change in the way we do things, he pointed out. "This is more than bandwidth, it's where those bits go and how we use them to overturn deeply rooted institutions and replace them with massless, scalable and agile Internet institutions," he said.

Slow transformative processes are becoming viral, noted Lippman. He highlighted the way we lend items to friends - people who over time we get to know and trust. But our identities on the Internet have built a level of trust in people we haven't met directly. "What was a slow social process in knowing people is now fast, weightless and explosive. That's why Uber allows strangers into cars," he added.

"Ironically, most disrupters are not based on any great technical invention. Instead, they are a combination of societal readiness and rapid growth."

A revolution takes more than a motivated populace or a good idea, it also depends on the entrenched losing the will to lead, explained Lippman.

"In recent political terms, Egypt and Libya lost the will, Iran did not. Industries are no different," he said. "When they face a challenge and their urge is to fight it, then they have lost the will to lead, but if they go one better than the challenger they have a chance."

To underline his point Lippman cited the taxi industry and questioned whether it had lost the will to lead. When faced with an assault the first instinct is to fight, but the proper reaction is to beat and subsume the threat with a cool rather than a hot head, calculating how to lead with a winning combat strategy. Lippman also cited the finance industry as 'teetering on the edge', ripe for disruption.

"We live in an era that has disruptions that strike at institutions by people with no fear," he added. "This isn't necessarily about a change in technology, it's more an evolution of society. That's what's going to change communications. It's about attitude."

For example, computer programming has been traditionally slow and controlled by 'geeks', but this could become part of human life with 'viral programming made easy' and available to everyone. Bitcoin is viral money based on a fully distributed system. There is no central control, noted Lippman.

"Bitcoin reflects a current social sentiment that puts more trust in distributed systems than in centralised ones," he added. "It is based on an algorithm executed by many and owned by none, validated by five years of unbroken operation and over $1.3bn in (presumed) value stored in it. More importantly, its irrevocable, time-stamped ledger is a public record that has many potential non-financial uses.

"Bitcoin is the extreme of a viral system. It's not about money, it's about proving the system works and the distribution of trust."

Lippman studies viral systems through invention, sometimes of a technology, sometimes of an idea. "We validate this often through deployment," he commented. "One way to approach the problem is by considering technical thresholds that open new doors. Teleconferencing, for example, never caught on the way it was envisioned, but when it moved to portable always-connected devices, it became FaceTime."

About Andy Lippman
Andrew Lippman has a more than 35-year history at MIT. His work at the Media Lab has ranged from wearable computers to global digital television. Currently, he heads the Lab's Viral Communications research group, which examines scalable, real-time networks whose capacity increases with the number of members. This new approach to telephony transfers 'mainframe communications' technology to distributed, personally defined, cooperative communicators. In addition, he co-directs MIT's interdisciplinary Communications Futures programme.

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Disrupt and challenge is the new normal, says Matt Griffin

The one constant in history is that change and disruption is ever present but not always obvious, perhaps moreso today than ever before, according to keynote speaker Matt Griffin, CEO of 311 Institute.

And disruption is three-times faster today compared to 15 years ago, more voracious in nature and driven by ordinary people, and extraordinary talents who think outside the box, who all go online.

Reliable statistics indicate that there are three billion people connected to the Internet today, with projections of five billion by 2025.

A simple calculation shows there is a far higher chance of disruption given these mind boggling numbers, which speak for themselves.

People have ideas and also the means to act on them, explained Griffin. Many technologies that are available today, such as 3D printing, have the potential to massively disrupt industries, like the manufacturing process, logistics and supply chains.

Griffin put the number of emerging technologies at 240 - from NFC to robotics to AI to drones. These technologies fit into 14 categories of which nine are pin-pointed as megatrends, largely based on the IoT.

Getting to grips with such numbers is not the whole issue. Griffin then turned his attention onto how these technologies may be leveraged.

"Today, anyone with a good idea is more connected, able to get funding quickly and they have faster access to resources," he said. "Using the PaaS model it's easier to build a prototype and then gain instant access to markets for little outlay. A great idea can more easily be taken onto the global stage, while the cost of starting a business has fallen 1,000-fold."

Underlining the big potential for industry disruption Griffin also noted that in 2004 ten million start-ups were registered. Fast forward ten years and that figure now stands at 100 million ambitious, ideas-led organisations wanting to change the world.

"These companies are able to encroach established markets from anywhere on the planet," added Griffin.

Their impact can be eye watering. Griffin also cited high growth in the number of so called Unicorns, those start-up companies now valued at $1bn-plus. Between 2000 and 2010, nine such firms were known. Since 2010 the number has shot up to 174 millennial businesses with no legacy to speak of, all practicing the 'art of the possible' in a disruptive way.

Perhaps not surprisingly given the numbers above, Griffin cited an IBM survey in which it was found that the a CEO's top concern is now the competitive impact of technology.

"CIOs were back office, but now they are coming out of the woodwork as the most innovative and disruptive influencers, while the drive for cloud and innovation is changing business culture," added Griffin.

Less obvious is what's happening in space. Griffin drew the audience's attention to a company called Spacex which aims to disrupt not just one industry, but many.

SpaceX is no ordinary hi-tech millennial organisation. Its owner, Elon Musk, co-founded Paypal and he owns Tesla Motors, among other interests.

He proposed a space-based Internet system and is busy working on putting his plan into practice, based on 4,000 low orbit satellites that would provide global coverage, offering $100 broadband for life, noted Griffin.

"Compare this to digging fibre into the ground," he added. "With SpaceX, there's no digging, just software updates. Industry disruption is only just getting started."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: ShoreTel connects with business transformation

Toasting the business potential of technological innovation can lead to a hangover, the biggest headache being the challenge of growing while evolving, which are separate agendas, according to Adrian Hipkiss, Vice President EMEA at ShoreTel.

His conference speech was unequivocally for those delegates wanting to overcome today's big business challenges, and he cited ShoreTel's own journey as an example of what can be achieved when growth and business transformation strategies are perfectly aligned.

In terms of product innovations, from the moment that ShoreTel decided to grab the bull by the horns it went about the task with dedication, developing four million lines of additional code and employing 300 extra software engineers to create the recently launched Connect platform.

ShoreTel's challenge was to overcome market resistance and drive the UCaaS market in favour of partners. Its strategy was simple, but the undertaking to transform the 'static' into the 'dynamic' was significant.

"If there is no choice to solve a business problem customers will stay where they are," he said.

"ShoreTel's focus is the SME market up to 5,000 seats. We provide choice for that space, rather than force them to make a decision."

ShoreTel Connect is a single communications operating platform that is delivered on-premise, via the cloud or a mixture of both. This means one sales conversation with a choice of deployment models to fit end user requirements. Connect also offers a single user experience and scales up to 5,000 seats.

"This disruptive technology enables companies to do things that were once beyond their reach," added Hipkiss.

What is remarkable is that ShoreTel developed its Connect platform during a period in which it outperformed analyst market projections, paid down debt following its M5 acquisition, developed new channel support programmes, while upgrading its recurring revenue forecast to 62 per cent by 2017.

"Our challenge was how to keep the existing base happy while driving revenues from new opportunities," added Hipkiss.

Using its experience ShoreTel is well placed to help partners make their transition into market disrupters rather than be disrupted, and help them change 'the known into the discovered', according to Hipkiss.

"This is a philosophical question," he said. "And needs a leadership decision to be creative while driving up revenues.

"To change the nature of your organisation's culture you need to be more consultative. This starts with solution and sales training."

To help partners be 'known and discovered', ShoreTel offers digital marketing, free training and sales enablement along with lead generation, partner forums and help with social media to create awareness.

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Carrier industry ripe for disruption claims Lippman

The traditional carrier industry is ripe for widespread disruption, according to Andy Lippman, Associate Director of MIT Media Lab, speaking in a Comms Vision panel debate (and pointing out that he cannot forward a text). In part, he believes, this is due to homogenous corporate cultures devoid of oddballs who think differently.

"There is no cult of innovation, the variance has gone," he stated. "Listen to your daughter. Kids don't have old answers to new questions, they have fresh answers to new questions. Technology is anything that is invented after you were born. The trick is in the imagining - we can make it in six months if we get rid of the past."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Data key to realising plentiful digital opportunities

The comms industry's biggest, most plentiful digital opportunities can only be realised by embracing data, according to Richard Robinson, Managing Director and VP EMEA at Turn.

In a Comms Vision keynote address he said everything is to play for, but old marketing methods must go, and resellers will lose out if they stick to traditional marketing roles.

Robinson pointed out that marketers now rank customer experience optimisation as the most exciting opportunity, and perhaps the most disruptive change to marketing practices in memory.

"Consumer behaviour is transitioning into business behaviour," he said. "Customers are demanding a better experience around personalisation.

"The traditional approach to marketing has limitations, being linear and spread too thinly because people are now self-directed in their buying habits."

He noted that B2B buyers are 57 per cent of the way through the procurement process before approaching a brand. "The challenge is a complex fragmented media landscape which makes being discovered difficult," he added. "It's about how customers find information through multiple paths to purchase."

Given the self-directing nature of today's buying process it is no surprise to learn that 80 per cent of consumers feel brands do not treat them as individuals. They want a customised approach.

"Businesses need to reach customers at moments of most influence, which is difficult to do if you don't know who they are," said Griffin. "But this data can be captured by registering for downloads for example. Data is at the heart of customer engagement strategies."

He segmented data into three categories: Leads generated from websites and CRM systems; data from partners and vendors that enriches customer profiles; and the creation of a data management platform and demand side platform - all designed to uncover a hidden audience via insights that bring the power of personalisation, enabling marketers to target people around their topics of interest while also understanding RoI.

Robinson summed up the implications of these trends for comms resellers: "Put the customer and their journey at the heart of your approach," he commented. "Use data to engage with customers and empower the way you do business with them."

All this is just part of the bigger picture. There has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of people involved in the buying cycle, while 45 per cent of decision makers are millennials (born after 1980). With 90 per cent of millennials using social media and smartphones - the writing is in the wall.

"There is no single person in the the buying cycle," added Robinson. "Different individuals within organisations are influential, all researching technology and how it relates to them and their requirements.

"It is critical therefore that we have a connected, consolidated view of the customer across all touch points."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Why outcomes, not ownership counts most

Digitalisation is here to stay. Long gone are the days when doing business was about finding a niche, creating a product and shifting as much of it as was humanly possible.

Also slung in the historical dustbin of industry priorities is the evolved services business that emerged during the '90s. Today, customer centricity reigns, and what we do about it is the difference between success and failure, according to Pete Tomlinson, Director of Product, Marketing and Sales, Eclipse.

"The industry must move to a relationship-centric model," he told delegates in his keynote address. "Customers have a new expectation based on outcomes, not ownership. We've moved from selling boxes to partnering with customers on their outcomes."

The outcome of a survey of 150 IT leaders conducted by Eclipse offered new insights into what really matters to them. Despite 84 per cent of respondents understanding technologies such as UC, 68 per cent were clueless about what to do with it.

"They need help with the actual 'how'," added Tomlinson. "This is a massive opportunity for the channel."

This end user knowledge gap could be the grandest unexploited revenue source to date, and resellers with a customer-first approach stand to gain most.

"In our survey, 77 per cent of IT leaders stated that supplier relationships built on trust and confidence are more important than the features and benefits of a solution," said Tomlinson.

Their readiness to sacrifice functionality in favour of trusted partnerships extends further, with 60 per cent ranking product roadmaps as a preference when selecting a supplier. This means that the tech-centric model must become user-centric.

"The starting point needs to be a conversation around customer personas," said Tomlinson. "Not a discussion about which part of the technology stack needs to be replaced. There are different personas within a business, with varying user profiles and different needs that must be addressed."

In this model a single sale will not cut the mustard, but mapping out the customer's lifetime value will be far more lucrative, even at low margin entry points in the relationship with higher margin service provision highly likely further down the line following cross-sales based on consultation and advice.

"Our industry has been good at giving away its most valuable asset - knowledge," added Tomlinson. "We are moving away from products towards higher value in knowledge and consultancy. Successful resellers will have the confidence to monetise their knowhow and create a consistent customer experience built on a culture of innovation."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Simplicity key to unlocking potential

At its extreme, complexity is the catalyst of decline and squandermania - the sensible strategy is to keep things as simple as possible, according to David Axam, Director, Hosted Communications, BT Wholesale.

In precise form, Axam addressed Comms Vision delegates from a position of authority on how to resolve complex matters for the better. Ironically however, simplicitly is difficult to achieve, he said from experience.

Early in his career Axam helped to build some of the first VoIP products. His challenge was to ship more of them.

"Simplicity was the key that has since shaped my thinking," he said. "Simple product modifications transformed shipments of 100,000 units to literally millions.

"In the UC world there are so many possibilities but the danger of choice and richness is that we forget the simplicity. We must keep the richness but add simplicity."

Axam moved to his new role in April this year and applied his proven strategy to promote simplicity, aiming to repeat his earlier trick with straightforward strategic modifications that make all the difference.

"In April I set my direction," he said. "And introduced clear and simple propositions that add choice."

He noted that the relationship between simplicity and increased effectiveness is undeniable, and he has applied his thinking to 'simple unambiguous' partner relationships, also based on a simple premise, that people buy from people.

"We introduced channel managers and have 46 per cent more orders as a result of the people-factor," he said. "It's about converting hearts and minds by building trust."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Selling's out of fashion, but lifetime value is in vogue

The job of sales people is no longer selling, it's forming relationships that stand the test of time, said Pete Tomlinson, Director of Product, Marketing and Sales at Eclipse, in a Comms Vision panel debate.

"This paradigm shift is cultural in nature," he said. "Companies must organise around building long-term relationships with customers. A big focus for us is to drive user adoption and reinforce lifetime value."

There is clearly a case for re-imagining the role of sales people, but it must also be understood that customer relationships can be cemented by less obvious people in the business.

Joe Murray, Channel Director at essensys, said: "Software engages customers in the lifecycle, and 50 per cent of our staff are software engineers. So the long-term development and monetisation of customers comes from a different part of the business."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Cultivating a competitive advantage

If resellers are to find true differentiation they should extend their thinking on company culture, argues Darren Rudkin, Managing Director, The Mind at Work.

No business leader is going to find the development of a company culture easy, but Rudkin set about giving Comms Vision delegates some practical advice that will only mean something if leaders behave like leaders.

"Leadership teams in top performing companies spend significantly more time getting aligned than ordinary companies," he said.

"Leaders in these companies see it as their job to create the heart of the company, then create the conditions and culture that both brings this to life and invites others to step forward and bring it to life for themselves.

"They see culture as a key driver of competitive advantage. Role modelling the values and heart of the company by the top team is passionately held which means that the creation of strategic direction is regarded as anything but a purely intellectual exercise."

Culture is an unwritten code often created by leadership to set standards of behaviour and expectations.

"Innovation culture is about expectation," he added. "Trying out new ideas, looking for external stimulus and constantly learning."

According to Rudkin the anatomy of innovative culture is talent, expectation, structure and recognition.

"Don't hire in haste, find the talent that's right for you," he said. "It's your job to define talent and source it. Penetrate interview techniques with creative acts, and design experiences to ascertain a culture fit.

"Let talent recruit talent, people want to work with great people, and give them roles that make a big difference, it's motivational."

In terms of expectation, people expect to do different things to make a positive impact. It is the leadership role to create such an expectation, perhaps based on the following concepts cited by Rudkin: Data beats opinion, doing beats talking, simple beats complex, now beats later, commitment beats committees, and fast failure beats slow perfection.

"What is your attitude to building a structured route to innovation?" asked Rudkin. "You need a bold attitude. Identify your key axis for innovation and invest disproportionately in those areas."

Last but not least, recognition for doing a great job is the most important motivating factor in culture, according to Rudkin.

"Structure expectation and recognise it," he added. "The people at the top should be engaged in that process."

About Darren Rudkin
Darren is a speaker, coach, teacher, facilitator, author and creative business thinker. Before setting up his current business specialising in the art of leadership in 2004, he was a senior leader in Unilever's detergent business, and a co-creator of the award-winning innovation company ?What If!, which specialises in innovative product development and creative leadership practise.

He uses this experience to help organisations to create energised cultures which know how to release the discretionary effort and motivation of their people, based on real experience and not management theory.

He specialises in mindset and behavioural change and the development of conscious leadership that is strongly aligned to strategy and purpose.

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Shorten administers dose of business reality

Nothing should detract from the task of preparing a business for ongoing positive action, stated Lee Shorten, Independent Consultant and Advisor, especially for comms suppliers, considering that the UK ICT market is estimated to be worth £135 billion.

Shorten's inspirational keynote may prove to be a significant moment for many delegates, who, while outstanding leaders, would benefit from his clear advice on how to become a long-term favourite to win.

"Monetising the assets resellers have already created is a big opportunity," he said in a keynote to Comms Vision delegates. "The potential for growth and building inherent value is significant."

There are good reasons for developing a passion for business fitness and all measures to achieve this happy state are available and within reach with a little vision .

"Business owners often base their companies on what's in front of them, or a company may be built around the personality at the top," said Shorten, who has worked thousands of channel partners in his career. "In such cases there needs to be a better balance.

"How often is there a stopping point in your business to assess where you are. This will help to build a systematic approach to looking at the factors affecting your business, and establish processes that will get your company into the best possible shape."

In terms of value, the EBITDA multiple is less relevant than synergistic value, pointed out Shorten. A business can be measured on performance, sustainability and its go to market strategy, how well it delivers to customers, or its strategy to find talent, develop customer relationships, enhance sales and marketing process (tracking activity and measuring lifetime value) etc. "Is your market proposition really different?" asked Shorten.

It's time for a dose of reality. "Ascertain your exit options, set a timeline and build your business with these options in mind," urged Shorten. "Do you know who your top ten customers are? Sometimes business leaders can't even pick out metrics like this to manage their best prospects.

"Find a balance between the push for profit and maintaining customer relationships. Use scorecards to continually improve your business. Hold regular strategy reviews and involve your staff. Don't do this in a dark room, staff want to be part of the journey. The result is a performance culture and a great place to work."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Falconer reflects on the dazzle of newness, and announces Gamma's power play in mobile

Dazzled by newness the comms industry has lost the power of scepticism, the result being a disproportionate overselling of the 'new' and neglect of what is really happening on the ground, according to Bob Falconer, CEO at Gamma.

While resellers are not yet wholly duty bound to put their shoulders into holding back the seeming threat of a rampant techno revolution, their chief topic of conversation should nonetheless emphasis the durability of past innovations such as the PBX and what to do about their inevitable decline.

"Every year there is talk of a change in the model," said Falconer in a characteristically lively Comms Vision keynote address to delegates. "We're cynical, it doesn't work like that. Change is there, but it's pernicious and slow."

In the consumer world it is eye watering to witness how quickly this year's techno dazzle can look clunky, but in the business environment research and development do not equate with the viral neophilia that drives immediate market adoption among everyday users. Yet change is most certainly on the creep.

"The balance is shifting with less equipment installation, while the resale of commodity services is tough," said Falconer. "We see fewer tech hobbyists, it's a skilled game in the infrastructure now. "The rise of professional services is making life easier for customers, removing their burdens and solving problems while introducing disruptive options."

Even though technological innovation is always hyped, the truth is that resellers do, for better or worse, have a date with history. This is a question of leadership and how growing threats are managed.

"A big threat is Amazon Web Services offering a server for 20p per hour, £150 per month, £1,300 per year," said Falconer.

"How do we compete with that? Google Apps for Work is available at £3 to £7 per month. We have the rise of Microsoft, and BT buying EE with plans to integrate fixed and mobile. This is all on a huge scale, cheap, deeply converged and coming to a customer near you."

The channel has a long tradition of giving customers a personal service, tailoring to the needs of vertical markets, getting to know every crook an cranny of the market and taking away their customers' headache, making the channel the 'best sales force', believes Falconer.

"This is what the big boys can't do," he said. "They mainly don't have feet on the ground, so resellers can effectively counter these threats. But if they can't add value they're not in the game."

Despite their long heritage of impeccably serving end users, resellers can only expect the glory of business growth if they align their product and services strategy with Falconer's model template for future planning, he suggested.

"Companies want to buy bundles from one supplier, so broaden your portfolio," he told delegates. "It's risky to wrap your business around a single supplier and tie your success to them. Seek three or four suppliers that collectively give you the capability to cover the full spectrum in a manageable way."

Gamma's strategy is to have two or three products in high growth disruptive markets, such as SIP and Horizon, augmented by commodity products, broadband, Ethernet and calls, for example. Then add a wrap around the proposition - training, sales and tech support, useful portals etc.

The business model is to identify future winners, get ideas to market quickly, from 'flash to bang' in 18 months to two years. This game plan keeps Gamma's 120-strong development team busy working on exciting new products for the channel.

The current priority is mobile. The company is set to launch 4G services next spring and by offering deep integration of fixed, mobile and data Gamma is set to be a fast-rising aid to mobility. This is surely the start of a new power play.

This latest product development phase began last year when Gamma completed the acquisition of a core mobile network and has since been working hard on its asset, an effort that will be realised in Q1 2016 with the role out of Gamma Mobile as a full Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

"Recognising that mobility is a key component of business communications, and that choice in the market is reducing potentially down to three players, we made a decision to launch Gamma Mobile," stated Falconer.

"We have the core capability of a mobile operator except the radio access, and recognise the importance of mobility in an increasingly converged world."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: TalkTalk Business evolves in technological age of Digital Darwinism

Every business leader's primary duty is to survive. From diehard traditional dealer to modern system integrator, all know they must adapt or die by becoming creatures not of habit, but context.

And in the context of Digital Darwinism organisations need to adapt more quickly than ever before, according to Alex Tempest, Director of Partners at TalkTalk Business.

"Disruptive innovation - mobility and cloud computing - is influencing how business operate," she said in a Comms Vision keynote presentation. "Digital is disrupting businesses and whole industries. Forty per cent of incumbents are likely to be displaced during the next five years if they fail to embrace digital.

"However, technology-driven transformations are only possible with a first class network that can deliver the 'power of now', the power of agility and performance. This needs investment - the agile world is far removed from dumb pipes."

TalkTalk Business is looking beyond 'survival of the fittest' and is deep into an investment-driven phase of bleeding edge evolution. "Innovation is about reacting quickly and long-term planning," added Tempest.

"We are investing in Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN), both virtual solutions that provide choice. This will be one of the most disruptive forces ever seen in the industry."

The network operator has committed £300 million-plus in a programme of investment that will greatly increase bandwidth, while offering more network control and visibility via useful portals and APIs, all designed to put the power of the network into the hands of channel partners.

"The initial phase looks at legacy voice and data, creating wholesale FTTC and an Ethernet network, underpinned by real-time technology that mirrors the software industry, promoting faster product development and the accelerated roll out of products and services," added Tempest.

"This improves how businesses interact with customers with faster response times, faster access to critical information and improved collaboration. But supporting businesses to become digital and more agile depends on having a first class next generation network."

Comms Vision Convention 2015: Soundbites that resonate

More people buy IT as a service rather than a product, so resellers must be agile enough to sell to customers the way they want to buy. Selling services is more interesting, less competitive and makes more money.
Steve Ellis, Managing Director, 365iT

Vendors will be dead in the water without innovation and collaboration in partnerships.
Alex Tempest, Director of Partners, TalkTalk Business

Culture's not about posters on walls, nor about exhortation, it's about delegation, trust, allowing people to make mistakes. We are tolerant of mistakes if people are trying.
Bob Falconer, CEO, Gamma

Without culture businesses can't partner effectively. Partnerships cannot happen if the cultural DNA does not match. A massive element in partnerships now is trust and the lifecycle. When establishing a long-term partnership culture is vital.
Darren Rudkin, Managing Director, The Mind at Work

There is no innovation without experimentation.
Rami Houby, Managing Director, NFON UK

Acceptance of failure is difficult for business leaders. Unicorn-type companies have a different mindset. There's failure on a daily basis but great ideas.
Guy Miller, Director for Next Generation Voice Services, TalkTalk Business

Faceless organisations are using digital to change markets and create customer intimacy.
Joe Murray, Channel Director at essensys

There must be openness and transparency between partners otherwise security issues will only get worse.
Alex Tempest, Director of Partners, TalkTalk Business

As long as there is complexity and choice in the market there will be a channel.
Richard Bligh, Group Marketing Director, Gamma

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