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2018 North American Cloud Communications and
Collaboration Price/Performance Value Leadership Award
2018
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 2 “We Accelerate Growth”
Contents
Background and Company Performance ...................................................................... 3 
Industry Challenges............................................................................................ 3 
Price/Performance Attributes and Customer Impact ................................................ 4 
Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 8 
Significance of Price/Performance Value Leadership ...................................................... 9 
Understanding Price/Performance Value Leadership ...................................................... 9 
Key Benchmarking Criteria ................................................................................ 10 
Best Practices Award Analysis for Intermedia ............................................................. 10 
Decision Support Scorecard ............................................................................... 10 
Price/Performance Attributes ............................................................................. 11 
Customer Impact ............................................................................................. 11 
Decision Support Matrix .................................................................................... 12 
Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best
Practices............................................................................................................... 13 
The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards.................... 14 
Research Methodology ...................................................................................... 14 
About Frost & Sullivan ............................................................................................ 14 
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 3 “We Accelerate Growth”
Background and Company Performance
Industry Challenges
A growing number of businesses are adopting cloud services to gain operational
efficiencies and become more responsive to rapidly evolving market trends and customer
needs. Frost & Sullivan research shows that businesses are moving various information
technology (IT) workloads to the cloud, including data centers, storage, enterprise content
management, cybersecurity, contact center, big data and analytics, as well as a broad
array of communications and collaboration applications.
The North American hosted Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and unified communications-
as-a-service (UCaaS) market is maturing and moving beyond the early-adopter stage as
businesses of varying size, vertical industry and technology requirements move their
telephony, conferencing and collaboration solutions to the cloud. Small businesses were
the first to embrace cloud communications in efforts to address both budget constraints
and IT staff shortages. Today, mid-market and large enterprises are also adopting cloud
services to gain flexibility and better support remote and mobile workers. Larger
organizations take longer to purchase and roll out new technologies, but also commit to
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 4 “We Accelerate Growth”
their investments for the long run. Many providers are, therefore, shifting their focus to
larger businesses to diversify their customer base, scale and reduce churn.
Despite the market’s entry into the mainstream-adopter stage, small businesses remain
the best fit for cloud services. As advanced technologies and the globalization of business
drive new value propositions and intensify competition, small businesses need access to
sophisticated communications and collaboration solutions at a lower cost and reduced risk
to compete more effectively against their larger competitors. Cloud services enable small
businesses to gain access to advanced features faster and without the risk of sunk costs in
technology or capacity that may become obsolescent quickly. Such businesses typically
seek solutions that are simple to deploy, manage and use, and allow them the flexibility to
bring their own bandwidth. They also prefer all-inclusive services bundles comprised of a
broad suite of applications including cloud private branch exchange (PBX); auto attendant;
voicemail; audio, web and video conferencing; file sync and share; mobility; call center;
and more. Small businesses, similar to mid-market and larger enterprises, also look for
cloud communications solutions that integrate with third-party applications, such as
customer relationship management (CRM), productivity, help-desk, email, and vertical
solutions, among others.
Hosted IP telephony and UCaaS providers that offer comprehensive feature sets at highly
competitive prices are well positioned to succeed in the small and medium-size business
(SMB) segment. To deliver strong value to such businesses providers must also ensure
that their solutions are intuitive and exceptionally easy to use. The price-performance
value leader in the SMB cloud communications and collaboration space is a company that
has identified the right balance between functionality and price, and leverages an effective
go-to-market strategy to deliver superior value to this underserved customer segment.
Price/Performance Attributes and Customer Impact
Intermedia has assembled a compelling cloud services portfolio that resonates strongly
with small and medium-size businesses in North America. Its strategy for this customer
segment is based on thoughtful prioritization of features; laser focus on ease of use and
service quality and reliability; and excellent customer purchase and ownership
experiences. Combined with effective execution and a strong brand, Intermedia’s cloud
solutions position the provider for continued success in the North American hosted IP
telephony and UCaaS market.
Functionality and Prioritization of Features
Intermedia Unite™, the provider’s flagship cloud solution for SMBs, is a comprehensive
UCaaS offering comprised of: cloud PBX; audio, web and video conferencing; chat/instant
messaging (IM) and presence; desktop and mobile soft clients; voicemail and voicemail
transcription; online fax and traditional fax machine support; and file backup and share.
While Unite’s communications and conferencing feature set is on par with most leading
competitor UCaaS offerings, SecuriSync®
, Intermedia’s cloud backup and file sharing
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 5 “We Accelerate Growth”
service, differentiates the solution and enhances its value to SMBs looking for a one-stop
shop for both communications and file management services. SecuriSync enables secure
file backup and restoration; file collaboration and co-editing; and administrative control—a
combination of functionalities typically provided by two distinct sets of competitive
solutions: traditional backup services and file-sharing services. Additionally, SecuriSync
helps protect files and documents from advanced cyber threats, including ransomware,
through features such as integration with Bitdefender anti-malware and the ability to
restore previous versions of documents.
For customer convenience, the service bundles also include local and long-distance calling
(domestic, Canada and Puerto Rico). Users can connect up to five endpoints (e.g., desktop
phones, mobile devices, soft clients) to the service, which allows them to select the best
device or interface based on their location (e.g., in the office or on-the-go), personal
preferences or other factors. To provide customers with brand and model choices,
Intermedia supports devices from key vendors such as Polycom and Yealink.
Overall, Intermedia Unite provides all the essential features and capabilities demanded by
SMBs in one convenient service package.
Ease of Use, Service Quality and Performance Reliability
Designed for SMBs from the ground up, Intermedia Unite is easy to use and manage. The
Unite Management Portal allows customer organizations to conveniently manage service
settings and features and perform common tasks such as: set up auto attendants; enable
and disable call recording; configure hunt groups and call treatment for call queues;
configure phone displays and line keys; and more. In addition, the portal enables hunt
group reporting and Active Directory integration for easy configuration of users. Overall,
the Unite Management Portal empowers SMBs, including those without internal IT
resources and those simply looking for an intuitive, efficient, all-in-one administration and
management tool, to retain control of their communications and collaboration solutions
while they entrust infrastructure hosting and overall solution management to service
providers.
Unlike many first-generation hosted IP telephony providers that disregarded service
performance in an effort to deliver more cost-effective services or focused on developing
advanced features instead, Intermedia demonstrates strong commitment to service
quality and reliability. The vast majority of current providers continue to offer service level
agreements (SLAs) that back only 99.99 percent service uptime, whereas Intermedia’s
financially backed SLAs guarantee 99.999 percent service availability. With this impressive
performance, Intermedia stands out among the majority of competitors that rarely hit
“five nines” of actual service availability in a given year.
Service reliability is among the top concerns for businesses selecting a UCaaS provider. In
a 2018 Frost & Sullivan survey of 184 US-based IT/telecom decision makers, 63 percent
of current UCaaS users and 59 percent of respondents planning to deploy UCaaS ranked
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 6 “We Accelerate Growth”
service reliability as a top-three factor in their final provider selection. With its strong
focus on service quality and reliability, Intermedia is well positioned to address UCaaS
buyers’ main concerns.
Perceived Value
Intermedia offers its flagship solution in two main packages. Intermedia Unite and
Intermedia Unite Pro both offer a full set of telephony, conferencing and collaboration
features. They differ in two key metrics, as follows:
 Unite supports up to four web conference participants and provides 2GB of
SecuriSync (file sync and share) space per user.
 Unite Pro supports up to 30 web conference participants and provides 100 GB of
SecuriSync space per user.
Unite and Unite Pro are tailored for different types of customers. While Unite is well-suited
for businesses with more limited collaboration needs, Unite Pro represents a highly
competitive bundle for businesses with more extensive collaboration and/or storage
needs.
Retail-priced at $30.99 and $40.99, respectively, Unite and Unite Pro deliver compelling
value at affordable prices—without requiring contracts. Most alternative UCaaS offerings
lack file sync and share capabilities yet are priced at similar levels. Unlike certain
competitors, Intermedia includes voicemail transcription, desktop and mobile soft clients
and fax in its core bundles rather than charging a-la-carte for these features.
Customer value will be further enhanced with the pending launch of the Unite Extend API
platform which will enable integration of Intermedia Unite with third-party software, such
as CRM (e.g., Salesforce), help desk (e.g., Zendesk) and productivity suites (e.g.,
Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite). The Unite Envision analytics platform further
augments the value of Intermedia’s services by providing customers with QoS dashboards,
real-time queue reports, call details and other important analytics.
Customer Purchase and Ownership Experiences
Intermedia’s go-to-market strategy includes both direct and indirect sales. With over
6,500 active resellers, Intermedia offers multiple options for customers to choose a
partner based on location, reputation, portfolio, existing relationship or other criteria.
Partners include managed services providers (MSPs), agents, value-added resellers
(VARs), and other types of partners, including retail outlets such as Costco. Costco has
proven to be an effective channel to cater to less sophisticated buyers seeking inexpensive
yet feature-rich business communications and collaboration solutions.
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 7 “We Accelerate Growth”
Intermedia also sells through white-label partners who represent a growing percentage of
the company’s business. Intermedia also offers a gray label option, which is comprised of
the same applications suite included in Intermedia Unite.
Intermedia truly stands out among competitors with its strong focus on channel support
and service quality delivered through its sales partners. To guarantee excellent customer
purchase and ownership experiences, Intermedia mandates that partners receive
certifications through Intermedia University before they can sell Unite. Extensive training,
combined with an advanced partner portal and partner systems integration via
ConnectWise, ensure that partners are knowledgeable and receive the support they need
to effectively promote Intermedia’s cloud services portfolio and its benefits to customers.
Via the mandatory certifications, partners also gain faster access to product experts within
Intermedia for assistance with matters related to product, billing or customer concerns.
Considerable discounts offered by Intermedia help enable partners to generate robust
margins—up to 50%—and gives them an incentive to more eagerly promote Unite to
businesses. In sum, Intermedia provides complete marketing, sales, training, and service
support to partners before, during, and after the sale. This 360o
commitment to partner
success helps enable partners to focus more on the efforts that drive sales, and thus, not
only realize very attractive margins, but also keep more of what they make. As of
November 2018, Intermedia reports over 1,000 partners certified to sell and support
Unite, which account for approximately 75 percent of new Unite sales.
Other factors positively impacting Intermedia customers’ purchase and ownership
experiences include the provider’s broad solutions portfolio and keen focus on service
quality and reliability. Businesses can use Intermedia as a one-stop shop for not just their
telephony, conferencing and file collaboration needs, but also business email and
productivity services (based on Microsoft Exchange or Office 365), email archiving and
encryption, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, identity and access management,
and standalone video conferencing and webinar services.
Intermedia’s “worry-free experience” is founded on five pillars—security, reliability,
onboarding, support and regulatory compliance. Compelling SLAs and high actual service
availability boost customer satisfaction and loyalty and enable Intermedia to maintain high
growth rates. Intermedia also protects customer data in a highly secure cloud and
undergoes an annual SOC 2 audit. The provider additionally helps ensure compliance with
various industry regulatory requirements including those stipulated by FINRA, SEC, NASD,
the Gramm-Leach-Bliley ACT and Sarbanes-Oxley.
Also important, Intermedia has been recognized by J.D. Power for its outstanding
customer service and support 3 years in a row—the only cloud business solutions provider
who can claim this (according to Intermedia). Intermedia leverages its Cloud
Concierge™—a team of onboarding experts—to help ensure cloud migration is conducted
expediently and in a non-disruptive manner. The Cloud Concierge team is available for
ongoing customer support 24x7, and 365 days per year. For strategic customers,
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 8 “We Accelerate Growth”
Intermedia's Strategic Client Services Manager (SCSM) program offers even greater
support. At the foundation of the SCSM program is Intermedia’s Center of Excellence,
which focuses on leadership, best practices, support, voice of the customer, training and
research.
Brand Equity
As the leading independent provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange services, Intermedia is
well known among business customers. It ranks among the top North American hosted IP
telephony service providers in terms of installed users, which has elevated its brand
among a broader group of technology buyers. With its comprehensive services portfolio,
strong track record and continued focus on innovation, Intermedia inspires trust among
cloud services investment decision makers, which helps attract new customers and retain
existing ones.
Conclusion
With its cloud services portfolio tailored for SMBs and continued commitment to the SMB
customer segment and the partners that serve it, Intermedia differentiates from other
providers and is well positioned for continued success.
With its strong overall performance, Intermedia delivers compelling value to SMBs in the
cloud communications space, and Frost & Sullivan is proud to bestow the 2018
Price/Performance Value Leadership Award to Intermedia.
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 9 “We Accelerate Growth”
Significance of Price/Performance Value Leadership
Ultimately, growth in any organization depends upon customers purchasing from your
company, and then making the decision to return time and again. A key component of
customer retention is the delivery of a high-quality product at a reasonable price. To
achieve these dual goals (customer engagement and price/performance), an organization
must strive to be best-in-class in three key areas: understanding demand, nurturing the
brand, and differentiating from the competition.
Understanding Price/Performance Value Leadership
Best-in-class organizations are particularly successful in two critical areas: first, helping
customers to appreciate and enjoy the product at every price point; and second, ensuring
that customers perceive a demonstrable difference in performance features at every
escalating price point. Ultimately, this balance allows companies to profitably deliver a
variety of product options to customers, differentiate the product suite, and compete at
every level of the market.
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 10 “We Accelerate Growth”
Key Benchmarking Criteria
For the Price/Performance Value Leadership Award, Frost & Sullivan analysts
independently evaluated two key factors—Price/Performance Attributes and Customer
Impact—according to the criteria identified below.
Price/Performance Attributes
Criterion 1: Functionality
Criterion 2: Ease of Use
Criterion 3: Product/Service Quality
Criterion 4: Performance Reliability
Criterion 5: Prioritization of Features
Customer Impact
Criterion 1: Perceived Value
Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience
Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience
Criterion 4: Customer Service Experience
Criterion 5: Brand Equity
Best Practices Award Analysis for Intermedia
Decision Support Scorecard
To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance
categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Scorecard. This tool
allows our research and consulting teams to objectively analyze performance, according to
the key benchmarking criteria listed in the previous section, and to assign ratings on that
basis. The tool follows a 10-point scale that allows for nuances in performance evaluation.
Ratings guidelines are illustrated below.
RATINGS GUIDELINES
The Decision Support Scorecard is organized by Growth Performance and Customer
Impact (i.e., These are the overarching categories for all 10 benchmarking criteria; the
definitions for each criterion are provided beneath the scorecard). The research team
confirms the veracity of this weighted scorecard through sensitivity analysis, which
confirms that small changes to the ratings for a specific criterion do not lead to a
significant change in the overall relative rankings of the companies.
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 11 “We Accelerate Growth”
The results of this analysis are shown below. To remain unbiased and to protect the
interests of all organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key
participants as Competitor 2 and Competitor 3.
Measurement of 1–10 (1 = poor; 10 = excellent)
Price/Performance Value
Leadership
Price/Performance
Attributes
Customer
Impact
Average
Rating
Intermedia 10.0 9.8 9.9
Competitor 2 9.2 9.7 9.5
Competitor 3 9.3 9.6 9.5
Price/Performance Attributes
Criterion 1: Functionality
Requirement: The product offers enhanced functionality to serve the broadest range of
applications
Criterion 2: Ease of Use
Requirement: Customers typically feel that the products are easy to use to generate
optimal performance
Criterion 3: Product/Service Quality
Requirement: Products or services offer the best quality for the price, compared to similar
offerings in the market
Criterion 4: Performance Reliability
Requirement: The product consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations for
performance over its life cycle
Criterion 5: Prioritization of Features
Requirement: The features that customers most value and expect are most commonly
available and most aggressively priced
Customer Impact
Criterion 1: Perceived Value
Requirement: Customers typically feel that they received more from the product or
solution than they paid for it
Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience
Requirement: Customers feel like they are buying the most optimal solution that
addresses both their unique needs and their unique constraints
Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience
Requirement: Customers are proud to own the company’s product or service, and have a
positive experience throughout the life of the product or service
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 12 “We Accelerate Growth”
Criterion 4: Customer Service Experience
Requirement: Customer service is accessible, fast, stress-free, and of high quality
Criterion 5: Brand Equity
Requirement: Customers have a positive view of the brand and exhibit high brand loyalty
Decision Support Matrix
Once all companies have been evaluated according to the Decision Support Scorecard,
analysts can then position the candidates on the matrix shown below, enabling them to
visualize which companies are truly breakthrough and which ones are not yet operating at
best-in-class levels.
High
Low
Low High
CustomerImpact
Price/Performance Attributes
Intermedia
Competitor 2
Competitor 3
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 13 “We Accelerate Growth”
Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching,
Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices
Frost & Sullivan analysts follow a 10-step process to evaluate Award candidates and
assess their fit with select best practices criteria. The reputation and integrity of the
Awards are based on close adherence to this process.
STEP OBJECTIVE KEY ACTIVITIES OUTPUT
1
Monitor,
target, and
screen
Identify Award recipient
candidates from around the
globe
 Conduct in-depth industry
research
 Identify emerging sectors
 Scan multiple geographies
Pipeline of candidates who
potentially meet all best-
practices criteria
2
Perform
360-degree
research
Perform comprehensive,
360-degree research on all
candidates in the pipeline
 Interview thought leaders
and industry practitioners
 Assess candidates’ fit with
best-practices criteria
 Rank all candidates
Matrix positioning all
candidates’ performance
relative to one another
3
Invite
thought
leadership in
best
practices
Perform in-depth
examination of all candidates
 Confirm best-practices
criteria
 Examine eligibility of all
candidates
 Identify any information gaps
Detailed profiles of all
ranked candidates
4
Initiate
research
director
review
Conduct an unbiased
evaluation of all candidate
profiles
 Brainstorm ranking options
 Invite multiple perspectives
on candidates’ performance
 Update candidate profiles
Final prioritization of all
eligible candidates and
companion best-practices
positioning paper
5
Assemble
panel of
industry
experts
Present findings to an expert
panel of industry thought
leaders
 Share findings
 Strengthen cases for
candidate eligibility
 Prioritize candidates
Refined list of prioritized
Award candidates
6
Conduct
global
industry
review
Build consensus on Award
candidates’ eligibility
 Hold global team meeting to
review all candidates
 Pressure-test fit with criteria
 Confirm inclusion of all
eligible candidates
Final list of eligible Award
candidates, representing
success stories worldwide
7
Perform
quality check
Develop official Award
consideration materials
 Perform final performance
benchmarking activities
 Write nominations
 Perform quality review
High-quality, accurate, and
creative presentation of
nominees’ successes
8
Reconnect
with panel of
industry
experts
Finalize the selection of the
best-practices Award
recipient
 Review analysis with panel
 Build consensus
 Select recipient
Decision on which company
performs best against all
best-practices criteria
9
Communicate
recognition
Inform Award recipient of
Award recognition
 Present Award to the CEO
 Inspire the organization for
continued success
 Celebrate the recipient’s
performance
Announcement of Award
and plan for how recipient
can use the Award to
enhance the brand
10
Take
strategic
action
Upon licensing, company is
able to share Award news
with stakeholders and
customers
 Coordinate media outreach
 Design a marketing plan
 Assess Award’s role in future
strategic planning
Widespread awareness of
recipient’s Award status
among investors, media
personnel, and employees
BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH
© Frost & Sullivan 2019 14 “We Accelerate Growth”
The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best
Practices Awards
Research Methodology
Frost & Sullivan’s 360-degree research
methodology represents the analytical
rigor of our research process. It offers a
360-degree-view of industry challenges,
trends, and issues by integrating all 7 of
Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies.
Too often companies make important
growth decisions based on a narrow
understanding of their environment,
leading to errors of both omission and
commission. Successful growth strategies
are founded on a thorough understanding
of market, technical, economic, financial,
customer, best practices, and demographic
analyses. The integration of these research
disciplines into the 360-degree research
methodology provides an evaluation
platform for benchmarking industry
participants and for identifying those performing at best-in-class levels.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth
and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's
Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined
research and best practices models to drive the generation, evaluation and
implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages more than 50
years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and
the investment community from 45 offices on six continents. To join our Growth
Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.
360-DEGREE RESEARCH: SEEING ORDER IN
THE CHAOS

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Intermedia Award Write Up

  • 1. 2018 North American Cloud Communications and Collaboration Price/Performance Value Leadership Award 2018
  • 2. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 2 “We Accelerate Growth” Contents Background and Company Performance ...................................................................... 3  Industry Challenges............................................................................................ 3  Price/Performance Attributes and Customer Impact ................................................ 4  Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 8  Significance of Price/Performance Value Leadership ...................................................... 9  Understanding Price/Performance Value Leadership ...................................................... 9  Key Benchmarking Criteria ................................................................................ 10  Best Practices Award Analysis for Intermedia ............................................................. 10  Decision Support Scorecard ............................................................................... 10  Price/Performance Attributes ............................................................................. 11  Customer Impact ............................................................................................. 11  Decision Support Matrix .................................................................................... 12  Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices............................................................................................................... 13  The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards.................... 14  Research Methodology ...................................................................................... 14  About Frost & Sullivan ............................................................................................ 14 
  • 3. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 3 “We Accelerate Growth” Background and Company Performance Industry Challenges A growing number of businesses are adopting cloud services to gain operational efficiencies and become more responsive to rapidly evolving market trends and customer needs. Frost & Sullivan research shows that businesses are moving various information technology (IT) workloads to the cloud, including data centers, storage, enterprise content management, cybersecurity, contact center, big data and analytics, as well as a broad array of communications and collaboration applications. The North American hosted Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and unified communications- as-a-service (UCaaS) market is maturing and moving beyond the early-adopter stage as businesses of varying size, vertical industry and technology requirements move their telephony, conferencing and collaboration solutions to the cloud. Small businesses were the first to embrace cloud communications in efforts to address both budget constraints and IT staff shortages. Today, mid-market and large enterprises are also adopting cloud services to gain flexibility and better support remote and mobile workers. Larger organizations take longer to purchase and roll out new technologies, but also commit to
  • 4. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 4 “We Accelerate Growth” their investments for the long run. Many providers are, therefore, shifting their focus to larger businesses to diversify their customer base, scale and reduce churn. Despite the market’s entry into the mainstream-adopter stage, small businesses remain the best fit for cloud services. As advanced technologies and the globalization of business drive new value propositions and intensify competition, small businesses need access to sophisticated communications and collaboration solutions at a lower cost and reduced risk to compete more effectively against their larger competitors. Cloud services enable small businesses to gain access to advanced features faster and without the risk of sunk costs in technology or capacity that may become obsolescent quickly. Such businesses typically seek solutions that are simple to deploy, manage and use, and allow them the flexibility to bring their own bandwidth. They also prefer all-inclusive services bundles comprised of a broad suite of applications including cloud private branch exchange (PBX); auto attendant; voicemail; audio, web and video conferencing; file sync and share; mobility; call center; and more. Small businesses, similar to mid-market and larger enterprises, also look for cloud communications solutions that integrate with third-party applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), productivity, help-desk, email, and vertical solutions, among others. Hosted IP telephony and UCaaS providers that offer comprehensive feature sets at highly competitive prices are well positioned to succeed in the small and medium-size business (SMB) segment. To deliver strong value to such businesses providers must also ensure that their solutions are intuitive and exceptionally easy to use. The price-performance value leader in the SMB cloud communications and collaboration space is a company that has identified the right balance between functionality and price, and leverages an effective go-to-market strategy to deliver superior value to this underserved customer segment. Price/Performance Attributes and Customer Impact Intermedia has assembled a compelling cloud services portfolio that resonates strongly with small and medium-size businesses in North America. Its strategy for this customer segment is based on thoughtful prioritization of features; laser focus on ease of use and service quality and reliability; and excellent customer purchase and ownership experiences. Combined with effective execution and a strong brand, Intermedia’s cloud solutions position the provider for continued success in the North American hosted IP telephony and UCaaS market. Functionality and Prioritization of Features Intermedia Unite™, the provider’s flagship cloud solution for SMBs, is a comprehensive UCaaS offering comprised of: cloud PBX; audio, web and video conferencing; chat/instant messaging (IM) and presence; desktop and mobile soft clients; voicemail and voicemail transcription; online fax and traditional fax machine support; and file backup and share. While Unite’s communications and conferencing feature set is on par with most leading competitor UCaaS offerings, SecuriSync® , Intermedia’s cloud backup and file sharing
  • 5. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 5 “We Accelerate Growth” service, differentiates the solution and enhances its value to SMBs looking for a one-stop shop for both communications and file management services. SecuriSync enables secure file backup and restoration; file collaboration and co-editing; and administrative control—a combination of functionalities typically provided by two distinct sets of competitive solutions: traditional backup services and file-sharing services. Additionally, SecuriSync helps protect files and documents from advanced cyber threats, including ransomware, through features such as integration with Bitdefender anti-malware and the ability to restore previous versions of documents. For customer convenience, the service bundles also include local and long-distance calling (domestic, Canada and Puerto Rico). Users can connect up to five endpoints (e.g., desktop phones, mobile devices, soft clients) to the service, which allows them to select the best device or interface based on their location (e.g., in the office or on-the-go), personal preferences or other factors. To provide customers with brand and model choices, Intermedia supports devices from key vendors such as Polycom and Yealink. Overall, Intermedia Unite provides all the essential features and capabilities demanded by SMBs in one convenient service package. Ease of Use, Service Quality and Performance Reliability Designed for SMBs from the ground up, Intermedia Unite is easy to use and manage. The Unite Management Portal allows customer organizations to conveniently manage service settings and features and perform common tasks such as: set up auto attendants; enable and disable call recording; configure hunt groups and call treatment for call queues; configure phone displays and line keys; and more. In addition, the portal enables hunt group reporting and Active Directory integration for easy configuration of users. Overall, the Unite Management Portal empowers SMBs, including those without internal IT resources and those simply looking for an intuitive, efficient, all-in-one administration and management tool, to retain control of their communications and collaboration solutions while they entrust infrastructure hosting and overall solution management to service providers. Unlike many first-generation hosted IP telephony providers that disregarded service performance in an effort to deliver more cost-effective services or focused on developing advanced features instead, Intermedia demonstrates strong commitment to service quality and reliability. The vast majority of current providers continue to offer service level agreements (SLAs) that back only 99.99 percent service uptime, whereas Intermedia’s financially backed SLAs guarantee 99.999 percent service availability. With this impressive performance, Intermedia stands out among the majority of competitors that rarely hit “five nines” of actual service availability in a given year. Service reliability is among the top concerns for businesses selecting a UCaaS provider. In a 2018 Frost & Sullivan survey of 184 US-based IT/telecom decision makers, 63 percent of current UCaaS users and 59 percent of respondents planning to deploy UCaaS ranked
  • 6. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 6 “We Accelerate Growth” service reliability as a top-three factor in their final provider selection. With its strong focus on service quality and reliability, Intermedia is well positioned to address UCaaS buyers’ main concerns. Perceived Value Intermedia offers its flagship solution in two main packages. Intermedia Unite and Intermedia Unite Pro both offer a full set of telephony, conferencing and collaboration features. They differ in two key metrics, as follows:  Unite supports up to four web conference participants and provides 2GB of SecuriSync (file sync and share) space per user.  Unite Pro supports up to 30 web conference participants and provides 100 GB of SecuriSync space per user. Unite and Unite Pro are tailored for different types of customers. While Unite is well-suited for businesses with more limited collaboration needs, Unite Pro represents a highly competitive bundle for businesses with more extensive collaboration and/or storage needs. Retail-priced at $30.99 and $40.99, respectively, Unite and Unite Pro deliver compelling value at affordable prices—without requiring contracts. Most alternative UCaaS offerings lack file sync and share capabilities yet are priced at similar levels. Unlike certain competitors, Intermedia includes voicemail transcription, desktop and mobile soft clients and fax in its core bundles rather than charging a-la-carte for these features. Customer value will be further enhanced with the pending launch of the Unite Extend API platform which will enable integration of Intermedia Unite with third-party software, such as CRM (e.g., Salesforce), help desk (e.g., Zendesk) and productivity suites (e.g., Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite). The Unite Envision analytics platform further augments the value of Intermedia’s services by providing customers with QoS dashboards, real-time queue reports, call details and other important analytics. Customer Purchase and Ownership Experiences Intermedia’s go-to-market strategy includes both direct and indirect sales. With over 6,500 active resellers, Intermedia offers multiple options for customers to choose a partner based on location, reputation, portfolio, existing relationship or other criteria. Partners include managed services providers (MSPs), agents, value-added resellers (VARs), and other types of partners, including retail outlets such as Costco. Costco has proven to be an effective channel to cater to less sophisticated buyers seeking inexpensive yet feature-rich business communications and collaboration solutions.
  • 7. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 7 “We Accelerate Growth” Intermedia also sells through white-label partners who represent a growing percentage of the company’s business. Intermedia also offers a gray label option, which is comprised of the same applications suite included in Intermedia Unite. Intermedia truly stands out among competitors with its strong focus on channel support and service quality delivered through its sales partners. To guarantee excellent customer purchase and ownership experiences, Intermedia mandates that partners receive certifications through Intermedia University before they can sell Unite. Extensive training, combined with an advanced partner portal and partner systems integration via ConnectWise, ensure that partners are knowledgeable and receive the support they need to effectively promote Intermedia’s cloud services portfolio and its benefits to customers. Via the mandatory certifications, partners also gain faster access to product experts within Intermedia for assistance with matters related to product, billing or customer concerns. Considerable discounts offered by Intermedia help enable partners to generate robust margins—up to 50%—and gives them an incentive to more eagerly promote Unite to businesses. In sum, Intermedia provides complete marketing, sales, training, and service support to partners before, during, and after the sale. This 360o commitment to partner success helps enable partners to focus more on the efforts that drive sales, and thus, not only realize very attractive margins, but also keep more of what they make. As of November 2018, Intermedia reports over 1,000 partners certified to sell and support Unite, which account for approximately 75 percent of new Unite sales. Other factors positively impacting Intermedia customers’ purchase and ownership experiences include the provider’s broad solutions portfolio and keen focus on service quality and reliability. Businesses can use Intermedia as a one-stop shop for not just their telephony, conferencing and file collaboration needs, but also business email and productivity services (based on Microsoft Exchange or Office 365), email archiving and encryption, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, identity and access management, and standalone video conferencing and webinar services. Intermedia’s “worry-free experience” is founded on five pillars—security, reliability, onboarding, support and regulatory compliance. Compelling SLAs and high actual service availability boost customer satisfaction and loyalty and enable Intermedia to maintain high growth rates. Intermedia also protects customer data in a highly secure cloud and undergoes an annual SOC 2 audit. The provider additionally helps ensure compliance with various industry regulatory requirements including those stipulated by FINRA, SEC, NASD, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley ACT and Sarbanes-Oxley. Also important, Intermedia has been recognized by J.D. Power for its outstanding customer service and support 3 years in a row—the only cloud business solutions provider who can claim this (according to Intermedia). Intermedia leverages its Cloud Concierge™—a team of onboarding experts—to help ensure cloud migration is conducted expediently and in a non-disruptive manner. The Cloud Concierge team is available for ongoing customer support 24x7, and 365 days per year. For strategic customers,
  • 8. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 8 “We Accelerate Growth” Intermedia's Strategic Client Services Manager (SCSM) program offers even greater support. At the foundation of the SCSM program is Intermedia’s Center of Excellence, which focuses on leadership, best practices, support, voice of the customer, training and research. Brand Equity As the leading independent provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange services, Intermedia is well known among business customers. It ranks among the top North American hosted IP telephony service providers in terms of installed users, which has elevated its brand among a broader group of technology buyers. With its comprehensive services portfolio, strong track record and continued focus on innovation, Intermedia inspires trust among cloud services investment decision makers, which helps attract new customers and retain existing ones. Conclusion With its cloud services portfolio tailored for SMBs and continued commitment to the SMB customer segment and the partners that serve it, Intermedia differentiates from other providers and is well positioned for continued success. With its strong overall performance, Intermedia delivers compelling value to SMBs in the cloud communications space, and Frost & Sullivan is proud to bestow the 2018 Price/Performance Value Leadership Award to Intermedia.
  • 9. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 9 “We Accelerate Growth” Significance of Price/Performance Value Leadership Ultimately, growth in any organization depends upon customers purchasing from your company, and then making the decision to return time and again. A key component of customer retention is the delivery of a high-quality product at a reasonable price. To achieve these dual goals (customer engagement and price/performance), an organization must strive to be best-in-class in three key areas: understanding demand, nurturing the brand, and differentiating from the competition. Understanding Price/Performance Value Leadership Best-in-class organizations are particularly successful in two critical areas: first, helping customers to appreciate and enjoy the product at every price point; and second, ensuring that customers perceive a demonstrable difference in performance features at every escalating price point. Ultimately, this balance allows companies to profitably deliver a variety of product options to customers, differentiate the product suite, and compete at every level of the market.
  • 10. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 10 “We Accelerate Growth” Key Benchmarking Criteria For the Price/Performance Value Leadership Award, Frost & Sullivan analysts independently evaluated two key factors—Price/Performance Attributes and Customer Impact—according to the criteria identified below. Price/Performance Attributes Criterion 1: Functionality Criterion 2: Ease of Use Criterion 3: Product/Service Quality Criterion 4: Performance Reliability Criterion 5: Prioritization of Features Customer Impact Criterion 1: Perceived Value Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience Criterion 4: Customer Service Experience Criterion 5: Brand Equity Best Practices Award Analysis for Intermedia Decision Support Scorecard To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Scorecard. This tool allows our research and consulting teams to objectively analyze performance, according to the key benchmarking criteria listed in the previous section, and to assign ratings on that basis. The tool follows a 10-point scale that allows for nuances in performance evaluation. Ratings guidelines are illustrated below. RATINGS GUIDELINES The Decision Support Scorecard is organized by Growth Performance and Customer Impact (i.e., These are the overarching categories for all 10 benchmarking criteria; the definitions for each criterion are provided beneath the scorecard). The research team confirms the veracity of this weighted scorecard through sensitivity analysis, which confirms that small changes to the ratings for a specific criterion do not lead to a significant change in the overall relative rankings of the companies.
  • 11. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 11 “We Accelerate Growth” The results of this analysis are shown below. To remain unbiased and to protect the interests of all organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key participants as Competitor 2 and Competitor 3. Measurement of 1–10 (1 = poor; 10 = excellent) Price/Performance Value Leadership Price/Performance Attributes Customer Impact Average Rating Intermedia 10.0 9.8 9.9 Competitor 2 9.2 9.7 9.5 Competitor 3 9.3 9.6 9.5 Price/Performance Attributes Criterion 1: Functionality Requirement: The product offers enhanced functionality to serve the broadest range of applications Criterion 2: Ease of Use Requirement: Customers typically feel that the products are easy to use to generate optimal performance Criterion 3: Product/Service Quality Requirement: Products or services offer the best quality for the price, compared to similar offerings in the market Criterion 4: Performance Reliability Requirement: The product consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations for performance over its life cycle Criterion 5: Prioritization of Features Requirement: The features that customers most value and expect are most commonly available and most aggressively priced Customer Impact Criterion 1: Perceived Value Requirement: Customers typically feel that they received more from the product or solution than they paid for it Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience Requirement: Customers feel like they are buying the most optimal solution that addresses both their unique needs and their unique constraints Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience Requirement: Customers are proud to own the company’s product or service, and have a positive experience throughout the life of the product or service
  • 12. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 12 “We Accelerate Growth” Criterion 4: Customer Service Experience Requirement: Customer service is accessible, fast, stress-free, and of high quality Criterion 5: Brand Equity Requirement: Customers have a positive view of the brand and exhibit high brand loyalty Decision Support Matrix Once all companies have been evaluated according to the Decision Support Scorecard, analysts can then position the candidates on the matrix shown below, enabling them to visualize which companies are truly breakthrough and which ones are not yet operating at best-in-class levels. High Low Low High CustomerImpact Price/Performance Attributes Intermedia Competitor 2 Competitor 3
  • 13. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 13 “We Accelerate Growth” Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices Frost & Sullivan analysts follow a 10-step process to evaluate Award candidates and assess their fit with select best practices criteria. The reputation and integrity of the Awards are based on close adherence to this process. STEP OBJECTIVE KEY ACTIVITIES OUTPUT 1 Monitor, target, and screen Identify Award recipient candidates from around the globe  Conduct in-depth industry research  Identify emerging sectors  Scan multiple geographies Pipeline of candidates who potentially meet all best- practices criteria 2 Perform 360-degree research Perform comprehensive, 360-degree research on all candidates in the pipeline  Interview thought leaders and industry practitioners  Assess candidates’ fit with best-practices criteria  Rank all candidates Matrix positioning all candidates’ performance relative to one another 3 Invite thought leadership in best practices Perform in-depth examination of all candidates  Confirm best-practices criteria  Examine eligibility of all candidates  Identify any information gaps Detailed profiles of all ranked candidates 4 Initiate research director review Conduct an unbiased evaluation of all candidate profiles  Brainstorm ranking options  Invite multiple perspectives on candidates’ performance  Update candidate profiles Final prioritization of all eligible candidates and companion best-practices positioning paper 5 Assemble panel of industry experts Present findings to an expert panel of industry thought leaders  Share findings  Strengthen cases for candidate eligibility  Prioritize candidates Refined list of prioritized Award candidates 6 Conduct global industry review Build consensus on Award candidates’ eligibility  Hold global team meeting to review all candidates  Pressure-test fit with criteria  Confirm inclusion of all eligible candidates Final list of eligible Award candidates, representing success stories worldwide 7 Perform quality check Develop official Award consideration materials  Perform final performance benchmarking activities  Write nominations  Perform quality review High-quality, accurate, and creative presentation of nominees’ successes 8 Reconnect with panel of industry experts Finalize the selection of the best-practices Award recipient  Review analysis with panel  Build consensus  Select recipient Decision on which company performs best against all best-practices criteria 9 Communicate recognition Inform Award recipient of Award recognition  Present Award to the CEO  Inspire the organization for continued success  Celebrate the recipient’s performance Announcement of Award and plan for how recipient can use the Award to enhance the brand 10 Take strategic action Upon licensing, company is able to share Award news with stakeholders and customers  Coordinate media outreach  Design a marketing plan  Assess Award’s role in future strategic planning Widespread awareness of recipient’s Award status among investors, media personnel, and employees
  • 14. BEST PRACTICESS RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2019 14 “We Accelerate Growth” The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards Research Methodology Frost & Sullivan’s 360-degree research methodology represents the analytical rigor of our research process. It offers a 360-degree-view of industry challenges, trends, and issues by integrating all 7 of Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies. Too often companies make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their environment, leading to errors of both omission and commission. Successful growth strategies are founded on a thorough understanding of market, technical, economic, financial, customer, best practices, and demographic analyses. The integration of these research disciplines into the 360-degree research methodology provides an evaluation platform for benchmarking industry participants and for identifying those performing at best-in-class levels. About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practices models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages more than 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and the investment community from 45 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com. 360-DEGREE RESEARCH: SEEING ORDER IN THE CHAOS