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Fuze Goes After a Single UX - and More
In November 2015, we sat down with Fuze and then Thinking Phone Networks (TPN) management to discuss the pending acquisition of the former by the latter. Much of the conversation focused on synergies between offers - TPN, at the time, had a UC experience supporting IM, presence, and voice and video, but lacked a native collaboration experience. Fuze, of course, had a user-friendly, video-centric, collaboration experience. TPN had built one of the few proprietary UCaaS platforms serving mid-to-large enterprise clients, leveraging their founders' MIT education and leaning heavily on a forward-looking foundation of data-centric analytics and API-based integration to leading CRM and line of business (LOB) platforms.
On paper, the synergy was obvious - mash Fuze's chocolaty UX-pertise into TPN's big-little-data peanut butter and, wala - Reese's Peanut Butter UCups. Of course, we've seen the obvious UC synergy story play out before - many big and successful companies regularly acquire smart solutions under the synergy umbrella, but fail to capitalize. But this one felt different. And it was.
Fast forward just three months, and TPN announces in February a complete rebranding to Fuze. Well, things just got interesting. If you were wondering about TPN's appreciation for what Fuze brings to the table, here was your answer - it's pretty rare that we see an acquiring company adopt the acquired platform's brand. If nothing else, this was a peek into the boardroom strategy that brought these solutions together - and a hint of things to come.
Next, fast forward to October 2016 - just under a year since our first acquisition briefing - and we have today's announcement of Fuze's new unified app. The new app promises to deliver a latest-gen customer experience that successfully unifies voice, video, and messaging with a stated goal to "reimagine how people interact in the workplace" and (not to get ambitious here, folks) "redefine unified communications."
Today's Fuze press release is quick and correct to point out that many knowledge workers continue to leverage a complex smorgasbord of communication and collaboration clients, pivoting between voice, video, messaging, and collaboration solutions. A primary goal of their updated client is to deliver a truly unified experience for all Fuze customers, across mobile devices, personal desktops, and conference rooms. There are some differences based on context, as in a new "Car Mode" experience that is designed to keep people on the road safer (easier connecting) and also supported when in lower bandwidth situations.
Of course, Fuze is not the first to claim a unified UX, or address the demands of multiple device types and multiple environments - in fact, we're hard pressed to think of a UC vendor who doesn't have this exact messaging in their current value proposition. What is newsworthy here is the pace of execution and commitment to a unified strategy that we see emerging here. Fuze's UCaaS value prop has positioned deep analytics at its core - we see this value prop embedded in the new UX, which is developed based on a data-driven view of how users are using the client. On the other hand, this new solution provides Fuze's legacy voice-centric customers with a migration-path to a truly unified communications experience. The blended experience can only succeed by leveraging the extensive network and routing expertise and infrastructure that both companies have. While talking about synergy is easy, execution is a bear - and this announcement highlights Fuze's ability to do just that.
While we could debate the "redefining UC" angle, Fuze definitely continues to show strong momentum, recently telling us about some wins displacing some of its much larger UC brethren - oftentimes replacing two to four disparate tools with its single solution. We're not talking the largest of enterprises, but Fuze is cracking one challenge, how to deliver global UC services, and as Bette Davis said in Now Voyager, "why ask for the moon when you can have the stars?"
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