Online- technology shopping on the rise – finally

“Online” technology shopping on the rise – finally!

E-commerce of retail products and also wholesale for more commoditised goods, even technology, has soared in the last 10 years plus. With the rise of cloud based SaaS or PaaS this has also become a common reality for SME software consumption which increasingly is consumed as  hosted or cloud based service. However, core network technology procurement has been lagging behind and still is largely conducted in the traditional way of face to face interaction and engagements.

For the Communications Industry, Barcelona or any other major global or regional event were and still are our jour fixes and we pay a lot for an exhibition booth to showcase what has increasingly become virtualised products or solutions, none of the visitors can physically touch when on site.

Most of what was shown at these events in the last few years was presented online at the stand but the application was actually hosted far away from the event location. So why be there with all the stress and cost to go there?

It was a show of size and strength of big vendors and the ones who want to be with the help of a lot of VC or PE funding and not of merit necessarily.

Like with many things in our “googlised” and “facebooked” reality, true value and innovation is not that visible anymore as what we are able to easily see has become a filtered and sponsored reality of others with a lot of money. New start-up companies and also established smaller players cannot afford that bill of competing on this Oscar like stage of glamour.

For us in Cataleya it’s the same, we are a small tech company and to have a great product you don’t have to be big! In this connected world, one would think, you don’t have to be physically present with all that travel and logistics effort needed to achieve the same, i.e. demonstrate technology and solutions to a prospective customer. But old fashioned attitude and behaviours still rule this world of innovation and fast progress. This is an absurd paradox in an industry that enabled others to revolutionise markets entirely but are not prepared to change their own. Maybe someone else will do.

At the same time everyone wants technology to be affordable and support the low cost levels required for their services to remain attractive to consumers and corporations alike, yet they expect us to maintain the size, physical presence and expenses like in the old days….. think about it!

We are still getting asked if we have a local presence ourselves in particular countries, a partner or representative for technical support. For software? – how strange, as if you can’t support that from anywhere else as long as people are awake and there is an internet connection which is the case to 99.99%. It’s like asking if Microsoft has a local support team on the ground for Office 365, well they actually might. Maybe a bad example but I think one gets the gist of it.

Over the years we have lost quite a few deals with larger operators because we are not present in many countries or not big enough we were told. Funny how, I always thought software has to scale and not us physically!

Well, whilst the world, or a large part of it has continued on that path, we were lucky and are proud of “not” having met about 15% of our customers face to face yet! This is not because we didn’t like to, but it was not required from their side and nor from ours to demonstrate what we offer and to reach a deal. These engagements were actually very nice experiences with everyone joining from some far away location via phone or video conference and over time, I claim, a relationship has actually developed as if we met in person. I’m grateful for trust received from these clients and positive that these will be long lasting partnerships.

Of course we do like to meet in person one day and look forward to it.

Now, in the meantime that virus has turned the world upside down and the global personal engagement practises grounded. Not just for us as private human beings, but also for companies as our governments have, in our interest, forced us to work from home, not to travel, not to meet anyone to survive!

In a strange turn of events we suddenly have to sell “online” “on phone” “on video” now, and that even core network technology as no business can run without revenues for very long. Now guess what – we at Cataleya are already specialists in that, who would have thought that expertise gained from lack of presence and size to be an advantage one day!

Whilst big companies are trying to get their act together on home working, sorting out process changes and modifying sales and support mechanisms, we did not have to change at all as we largely practised most at least partially already all the time, so nothing new. Things just continued for us as before, besides the uncertainty and personal restrictions we have to face, and most likely for some time to come.

We have move forward in this new reality, especially with well functioning communications systems becoming an even more critical necessity and means to connect, cooperate and do business in the years ahead and we are ready to operate as usual.

All who are looking for sophisticated technology or technology as a service in terms of voice and messaging and are happy to engage and buy “on line” whilst saving money and effort in the process at the same time, please do reach out to a company for which the current way of working is not new nor disruptive to our services to you.

Andreas Hipp