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What Have You Done for Me Lately?
May 17, 2011 @ 09:29 AM | By Charlie Connor

From the small mom-and-pops to the teleco companies and everything in between, it isn’t hard to find a vendor that can connect you with two or 2000 people. These days, there is no short supply of audio conferencing providers. A lot of times, you hear people talking about audio conferencing as a commodity or certain providers as the ‘Walmart of conferencing’.

Here’s the definition of commodity. Does your audio conferencing provider fit this bill?

Commodity: some good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. It is fungible, i.e. the same no matter who produces it. Examples are petroleum, notebook paper, milk or copper. The price of copper is universal and fluctuates daily based on global supply and demand.  

As a product manager for InterCall’s audio conferencing services, nothing bothers me more than having someone tell me InterCall sells a commodity or a solution that could be sold in a discount warehouse. Our InterCall IP Conferencing Platform (IICP) is the farthest thing from a commodity according to the definition above. We have patents, proven and documented differentiators and solutions on our platform that no other company can offer today.

When you’re comparing vendors, you should take a strong look at what is behind the service. The infrastructure, technology and network backbone are the things that make a difference in the quality and reliability of your calls. An all-encompassing ‘Walmart’ conferencing solution is not going to be a leader when it comes to building solutions and being ahead of technology and market trends. Innovation is inherent to InterCall: IICP has been able to accept direct IP access from our customers for over five years, and we were working on and supporting IP telephony before VoIP was an accepted enterprise solution.

Our customers consider InterCall a partner, so they continually demand more from us. At times this can be challenging; however, I remind my team that it's because no one else can do what InterCall does and our customers know that.  Our ability to integrate with multiple systems continues to demonstrate our ability to support our customers no matter what their collaboration goals may be.

So the next time someone tells me that InterCall sells a commodity and asks what makes our product different from the rest, we can politely respond with, “What has your commodity done for you lately?”

Cynthia Welch imageAs director of InterCall’s core services, Charlie is responsible for the product management of InterCall’s proprietary day-to-day collaboration services. Charlie joined InterCall after completing his business degree from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University. Originally starting in sales, Charlie worked in InterCall’s business development team to help drive and support InterCall’s global sales efforts. In 2007, Charlie had the opportunity to spend a year in Singapore where he supported the restructuring of the office there and improving localization. Now back in Chicago, Charlie plays a key role in developing and improving InterCall’s core products. When not saving the world through collaboration services, Charlie enjoys spending time with his wife, Katie, and daughter, Annie.

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