VoIP blogger and VUC contributor Dave Michels has launched a new online venture in the form of a web site that he’s calling TalkingPointz. Dave and I discussed this new venture while it was still in the just-thinking-about-it phase. The project bears some explanation as it offers something new and possibly quite valuable to the SMB telecom market.
To understand TalkingPointz it helps to know something about Dave’s background. Starting with a Master’s degree in telecommunication Dave has a long history in the area of telecom. When I first encountered Dave he was still at the helm of Buffalo Communications, a VAR based in Boulder CO. Prior to that he held various positions at some significant enterprises, including; Coors, IBM & GE.
To be concise, Dave knows enterprise telecom.
After selling Buffalo Communications Dave turned his attention to sharing his experience through writing for some of the industries most respected online properties. He also started making the rounds of the major trade shows, often appearing as a presenter or moderating panels.
All this time spent dealing with the industry in a different manner brought out an idea. Dave saw considerable room for someone to offer smaller enterprises the kind of insider intelligence that large consulting firms traditionally provide to larger enterprise customers. Further, he was well positioned to offer such guidance as he was already studying the product road maps of many of the industries leading players.
This idea comes at a perfect time. The telecom industry is migrating the capabilities of their established enterprise telecom systems into more practical forms for smaller businesses. However, these systems bring with them a certain complexity, making researching their selection & purchase often beyond the scope of most management, who are naturally focused on their own business.
Further, the large, established consulting firms (Gartner, Accenture et al) offer their research papers to suitably large customers at considerable cost, often $20k + each just for a market overview. This might make perfect sense for a large enterprise considering a $500K+ purchase, but it puts them beyond the reach of smaller businesses.
Like so many things, as we move even one layer down the pyramid there are many more potentially interested businesses. Such businesses could well be considering a $100K spend and in need the same kind of detailed analysis, but not able to justify the high-priced consultancy.
Dave is starting by offering research about specific manufacturers at much more modest prices. I’ve been privileged to see a pre-release draft of his initial paper, which is a great overview of NEC’s telecom offerings. I can see where such a paper would be very valuable to my employer if they were faced with making a strategic decision about telecom hardware. I’m told that similar overviews about other manufacturers are already either planned or underway.
I wish Dave the best of luck with the new project. I’m confident that his research will be appreciated by many CxOs as word gets around.