Vertical – Workflow, Workflow, Workflow
At Vertical’s analyst conference in Dallas last week, I understood what the expression “drinking from a fire hose” meant. Vertical’s last analyst conference was in 2012, and they’ve made a lot of progress and changes since then, and there was a lot to cover in the one-day event. The analysts in attendance spent a day digesting information about Vertical’s new cloud initiative, clients, sales approach, and much more. As I write this, my brain is still spinning.
The big take-aways, as laid out by CEO Peter Bailey, were:
- It’s All About Enhancing “Natural Workflows”
- Differentiating with a Direct and “High Touch” Engagement Model
- “Go Big or Go Home”
As Bailey explained, Vertical believes that “the winners will be characterized by their ability to deliver value throughout the complete customer engagement lifecycle: sales, deployment, adoption and support,” which involves investing in the right technical skills, providing a differentiated customer experience, delivering a pain-free deployment experience, and developing a trusted relationship with customers.
Vertical has transitioned over the past few years to a direct sales model rather than using the indirect sales model that most other vendors use. Bailey claims that Vertical is successful by providing “customer-centric execution through a direct sales and professional services engagement model,” and “partnering with customers to drive solution outcome.”
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that every vendor at every analyst conference has been singing the same song – “we sell solutions, not technology;” “we focus on business value not products,” – yada, yada yada. While many of the vendors have clearly been transitioning to a solutions and business value approach, Vertical seems to be able to really prove what it’s done in this area and why it’s been successful. The key difference seems to be Vertical’s intense focus on a few key verticals, notably retail and automotive. Rather than being all things to all customers, Vertical is laser focused on a small set of vertical companies, and a subset of potential customers within those verticals. Vertical’s vertical approach starts with understanding what matters to customers, which requires a direct sales force that understands companies’ workflows.
In the following video with Bailey, he discusses this approach, as well as the new Vertical One Framework for cloud applications and Vertical Cloud Connect, a new component added on to the Vertical One Framework.
Bobby Mohanty, Senior Vice President and General Manager Products, spent a lot of time discussing Vertical’s products and new cloud offering, as well as how Vertical approaches workflows. As he pointed out, Vertical is “taking technology and tying it into workflows and how people naturally work.” The key pillars of its product strategy are:
- Wave IP, a robust communications platform providing the core call control and UC functionality;
- Wave Apps, integrated building blocks that are built into the core platform;
- Vertical Cloud, which includes a number of cloud services;
- APIs to enable deep enterprise integrations; and
- ProServ professional services.
Wave is surrounded by plug-and-play App Building Blocks with integrations into business workflows. These microservices are delivered via the cloud for rapid delivery of new capabilities to customers. They provide a “widgetized” application framework, where various widgets can be put together and adapted for each application and environment.
As Mohanty noted, the company’s product strategy is to offer a complete solution that is open and vertical-izable, explaining that, “Everything we do from an architectural and product strategy standpoint looks at how it applies to verticals. Everything is built as a stack that can deliver a vertical solution.”
When unified communications was in its early days, the UCStrategies team defined it as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” This definition focused on the importance of communication-enabled business processes or business application integration, and what many today are calling “workflows” or “workflow integration.” It’s nice to see Vertical going beyond simply providing UC and contact center capabilities, and truly offering communications integrated to optimize business processes for a select set of vertical markets. Utilizing its direct sales force and by focusing on a select set of vertical markets, Vertical is setting itself apart as it helps its customer in their journey to digital transformation.