Navigating the ECCR Switch-off While Sustaining Your Home-Built UCaaS Service

May 22, 2024

UCaaS services based on BroadSoft have been in market for twenty years with the average term around ten. Over that time the market has changed significantly with Microsoft Teams in particular dominating the collaboration space and making significant inroads into telephony. Many of the former BroadSoft based UCaaS offers have seen significant success racking up hundreds of thousands of users delivering revenue streams into the tens of millions for the service providers concerned. In addition to the large revenue stream the margins are into the high eighty percent ranges because most BroadSoft based licenses are capex and fully written down. However, all that financial good news is tempered by Cisco’s dwindling support for the BroadSoft platform which has seen a steady decline since its acquisition in 2018. Although there is no deprecation danger to the BroadSoft platform itself, Cisco is prioritising Webex Calling whilst maintaining core BroadWorks functionality.

As a result of this strategy recently Cisco confirmed the current extended call center reporting (ECCR) functionality in BroadWorks would be end of life in September 2020 and Cisco is turning to its key ecosystem partners, like Akixi, to address the requirement going forward. Akixi has a comprehensive solution for ECCR which has already been deployed by some service providers looking to get ahead of the ECCR switch off issue.

But there are still many other service providers with the clock ticking on ECCR deliberating what to do. So, I thought I would pen a few words about some of the things to take into consideration if you are facing this issue…

1. Don't lose track of the revenues

It is easy to focus on new revenue streams like Teams etc, but BroadSoft based services are delivering large high margin revenue streams today! Your CFO will want that revenue defended but it does come with a cost. The question is what is an appropriate cost to defend that revenue? Based on our experience we are seeing service providers willing to take a cut in margin of about 2-3% to ensure they are defending the revenues.

2. Not all business customers are the same

The average end customer on BroadWorks tended to be in the small business segment but those using ECCR tend to be larger running into the hundreds or in some cases thousands of seats. Consequently, losing ECCR functionality can risk some of your most important revenue generating customers.

3. There is more than one way to budget

In businesses focused on growth there can be headwinds to budgeting for ECCR replacement but there are also creative solutions. One of those solutions is to use another budget vehicle for a prioritised service like Teams and link it to ECCR. This is only possible where you have a platform that can support both Cisco and Teams together with a combined commercial structure. Service providers have used Teams budget, filled the ECCR gap and transition spend back to Teams as the user licenses move.

4. Don’t defend everything

We have seen some service providers analyse their base to understand the outstanding contract terms remaining and gather further data on customer intentions. Some customers will automatically renew whilst others may transition to new platforms like Webex or Teams. Building this picture allows a service provider to direct the investment to customers who are going to fulfil revenue over the longest term.

5. Cost pass through

Rather than simply replacing the ECCR functionality you can utilize the power of Akixi to enhance the reporting solution and provide additional value to customers. The costs can be passed through to the end customer either as a new SKU or as part of a general price rise.

6. DIY

Some service providers have looked at contracting internal or external IT to build an equivalent solution to ECCR. Given ECCR is being deprecated in September you need to consider if you can specify and develop a replacement in that time horizon. Although initial costs are usually lower than industrial solutions building real-time analytics is a specialism which vendors like Akixi have developed over a period of 10+ years. Reporting is all about accuracy where even small errors quickly erode customer confidence in the reporting. Additionally, any DIY solution will need to be maintained for as long as the BroadSoft solution stays in market. This presents significant hidden costs over the term and could easily outweigh any initial cost benefits.

7. Don’t pretend it is not an issue

We have seen some service providers try to ignore the issue but although that is OK before September it opens the potential for far more serious consequences in the future. By not replacing ECCR you are opening the potential to breach SLAs for delivery of service and create security risks with non-maintained software on the service. SLA breaches provide customers with just the ammunition they need to force early contract termination and churn.

Ok, some of the above is a little bit daunting but help is at hand. At Akixi we can assist with a range of pragmatic solutions to move you past the ECCR issue. As a veteran Cisco partner, we have all the expertise to plug your ECCR gap quickly and cost effectively and can help you through the migration process with the necessary planning and delivery services. Moreover, once you have Akixi in place it will open the potential to attach its analytics to other services alongside launch new capabilities such as CRM integration.

The author
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Mike Wilkinson