Published on March 3, 2014
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH 2013 2013 European Conferencing Services Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 1 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award Conferencing Services Europe, 2013 Frost & Sullivan’s Global Research Platform Frost & Sullivan is in its 50th year in business with a global research organization of 1,800analysts and consultants who monitor more than 300 industries and 250,000 companies. The company’s research philosophy originates with the CEO’s360-Degree Perspective™, which serves as the foundation of its TEAM Research™ methodology. This unique approach enables us to determine how best-in-class companies worldwide manage growth, innovation and leadership. Based on the findings of this Best Practices research, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present the 2013 European Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award in Conferencing Services to LoopUp. Significance of the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award Key Industry Challenges Addressed by Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Aw ard The Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award represents excellence in terms of both strategy and performance in a market that is highly competitive, dynamic and growing. In order to be recognized as leaders in entrepreneurship, companies must show leadership and innovation from conception of ideas to execution of strategy. In particular, three areas are vitally important. 1. Ease-of-use of technology is crucial to driving adoption. Conference calls have earned a reputation of being an unreliable and unnatural form of business communication. By far the most frequent demand of any conferencing service is that it is easy to use. Many providers claim that their services are just that, but all too often the end user experience falls short of these claims. Companies that provide a service that is genuinely easy to use and intuitive to navigate stand to win a significant portion of enterprise customers that has become dissatisfied with the solutions currently on offer. 2. Competition in the market is intensifying. Established conferencing service providers (CSPs) and major European telcos are restructuring their service offerings and pricing models to cater to the rapidly growing mid and lower ranges of the market. There has also been an influx of new service providers that focus on SMBs and niche markets that were previously underserved by the ‘one size fits all’ solutions offered by established providers. In a highly competitive market, it is vitally important that new providers differentiate themselves from the incumbent competition. Providers that can clearly separate their services from those already on offer while providing flexible price structures are well © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 2 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH positioned to capitalize on future market growth opportunities. 3. New customers, new opportunities. The market for conferencing services has evolved over the last five years. Previously a service used almost exclusively by enterprise customers, declining price points and affordable broadband connectivity rates have made the services affordable to the mid and lower range of the market. Moreover, SMBs face the same competitive pressures as large enterprises, and therefore have an increasing number of use cases for services that enable them to connect to geographically dispersed clients, partners and suppliers. As well as the emerging SMB segment, many opportunities exist for providers who can cater to niche markets that incorporate conferencing and collaboration services into their everyday workflows. For example, video collaboration has helped manufacturing firms to cut their time to market by enabling them to monitor the different stages of the production process from a single location via video. In an increasingly segmented market place, it is essential that new providers clearly identify their target market and tailor their offerings accordingly. In addition, they should provide a diverse portfolio of solutions from which clients can select the most appropriate services to meet their requirements. Key Benchmarking Criteria f or Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Aw ard For the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award, the following criteria were used to benchmark LoopUp’s performance against key competitors: • Growth Strategy Excellence • Growth Implementation Excellence • Degree of Innovation with Products and Technologies • Leadership in Customer Value • Speed of Response to Market Needs Decision Support Matrix and Measurement Criteria To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Matrix (DSM). The DSM is an analytical tool that compares companies’ performance relative to each other with an integration of quantitative and qualitative metrics. The DSM features criteria unique to each Award category and ranks importance by assigning weights to each criterion. The relative weighting reflects current market conditions and illustrates the associated importance of each criterion according to Frost & Sullivan. Fundamentally, each DSM is distinct for each market and Award category. © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 3 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH C ha r t 1 : Fr os t & S ul l iva n’s 10-S t e p P r oc ess f or I de n t ify in g Awa rd R ec ip i en ts Best Practice Award Analysis for LoopUp The Decision Support Matrix, shown in Chart 2, illustrates the relative importance of each criterion for the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award and the ratings for each company under evaluation. To remain unbiased while also protecting the interests of the other organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key players as Competitor 1 and Competitor 2. C ha r t 2 : D ec is io n S u p po r t M at ri x f or En t r ep r en e ur ial C o m pa ny o f t h e Y ear A war d Weighted Rating Speed of Response to Market Needs Leadership in Customer Value Degree of Innovation with Products and Technologies Growth Strategy Excellence Relative Weight (%) Growth Implementation Excellence Award Criteria Measurement of 1–10 (1 = lowest; 10 = highest) 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% 100% LoopUp 8 9 8 9 9 8.6 Competitor 1 7 8 7 8 8 7.6 Competitor 2 8 6 6 6 8 6.8 © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 4 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH Criterion 1: Growth Strategy Excellence The web conferencing services market is expected to grow by 14.0% over this period. In a growing market, where technology trends such as mobility and cloud computing are changing the business landscape, conferencing applications should emphasize ease-of-use and user productivity. LoopUp’s strategy is to provide a simple, pain-free experience for its end users, without compromising on the conferencing must-haves of robust reliability and security. They work to a design philosophy that user training should not be needed if a conferencing product is to be widely adopted. This is demonstrated in the usage rates of their mobile apps; users with these apps use them on over 60% of their conference calls for visibility, security and control purposes. Through timely alerts, users are guided to simple web and mobile apps that address widelyfelt conferencing problems, like not knowing who else is on the call or who’s speaking. Users are then invited to turn any audio conference into a visual screen sharing session. The user experience has been designed to be clear and unambiguous. Furthermore, LoopUp’s pricing strategy has been designed to meet the needs of the small and medium sized business (SMB) as well as the larger enterprise. Customers can choose between pay-as-you-go pricing and monthly subscription pricing, or can migrate from one method to the other as priorities changes or as value is proven through strong usage. While its competitors have addressed the growth of the mid-market and SMB market to some degree, LoopUp’s focus on end user simplicity and flexible pricing options have given them a competitive edge here. Criterion 2: Growth Implementation Excellence All too often, strategies that are outlined by top level management fail to take effect with sales teams and the personnel that interact with clients on a daily basis. LoopUp implemented a strategy that remained true to its mission statement. LoopUp’s service provides a premium business conferencing solution, which naturally guides users to problem-solving call control capabilities and productivity-enhancing screen sharing capabilities, at suitable pricing and without the need for project investment in end user training. The ease of use of the product clearly resonates with a market often left frustrated by the complexities of conducting a conference call. The proof of the success of this strategy is evident in the company’s revenue growth. LoopUp achieved a 45% growth in its European business last year and expects to exceed this growth rate in 2014. LoopUp’s dedicated focus, and commitment to keeping simplicity central to all product design decisions, has enabled it to build a compelling value proposition that is delivering strong growth for the company. Criterion 3: Degree of Innovation with Products and Technologies The transformation of conferencing platforms into collaborative workspaces has demanded a high degree of innovation across the conferencing services industry. Collaborative work spaces require features beyond the scope of traditional conferencing services, including document and presentation sharing, social media integration and enhanced call controls. As © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 5 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH with all other aspects of conferencing services, ease of use of these features is of paramount importance. LoopUp's innovations revolve around providing the most uncomplicated user experience of any online meetings service on the market. LoopUp conference invitations can be created automatically from Outlook and all major web browsers and mobile platforms. Invitations include a join link, which enables attendees to join without having to use dial-in numbers and PIN codes. (PINs are also provided also as necessary.) Having clicked the join link, the attendee enters their name and phone number and the LoopUp platform immediately calls out to them to bring them into the conference. The moderator receives an alert as soon as someone joins their conference, which leads them to the LoopUp web and mobile apps. The apps show the moderator who’s on the call (including public LinkedIn profiles) and highlight who’s speaking. If one of the attendees has background noise, the moderator can detect it and mute it. If the moderator wishes to share a presentation or document, they can do so at any time with one click. Reducing user frustration and wasted time has been key to LoopUp’s success. Their simplicity-focused innovation has propelled their growth. The company identified that reducing complexity and feature-overkill leads to far more productive meetings as users can easily navigate their way through the conferencing experience. Criterion 4: Leadership in Customer Value The market for conferencing services has become fiercely competitive over the last three years. The audio conferencing market is nearing saturation in Europe, with providers finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate their services. The web conferencing market has witnessed an influx of new services, offering customers a broad selection of providers from which to select the one that best serves their needs. In such a competitive space, providers that can clearly demonstrate that their services add value to everyday communications activities can differentiate themselves from the competition and win a larger share of what is a growing market. A key LoopUp innovation has been to make web conferencing so readily available and accessible during any audio conference, as opposed to two separate products or a nonseamless integration of two products. At any time, the moderator can click to share their screen, and guests will be able to view what’s being shared automatically by virtue of their being present on the audio portion. LoopUp has also responded to a familiar customer complaint with web conferencing pricing: that the prevalent licensing model often results in multiple licenses going unused and/or a hesitancy to deploy widely for fear of wasted spend. LoopUp’s unusual pay-as-you-go option for screen sharing provides an affordable option for cost-conscious companies that don’t want to commit to significant license expenditure at the outset. Once usage is proven, customers can then switch to licenses with the benefit of greater budget certainty. None of LoopUp’s reviewed competitors offers such a flexible pricing model. Pricing according to customer use is a vitally important element of delivering service value. With its seamlessly integrated audio-web product and flexible pricing model, LoopUp offers value to its customer. © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 6 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH Criterion 5: Speed of Response to Market Needs Small and medium sized businesses in Europe are conducting an increasing amount of business across borders and continents. Consequently, the demand for services that enhance and simplify communications with geographically dispersed clients, partners and branch offices has grown rapidly in recent years. Responding and adapting to the increasingly sophisticated communications needs of customers is essential for remaining competitive in the market. In particular, adapting to trends such as increasing use on mobile devices, integration with other services, and collaborative working are proving key to sustaining growth. LoopUp quickly recognized that there was a gap in the market for simple and effective conferencing services that removed the pain and complications of conferencing calls. The company met the long-awaited demand for an easy-to-use and affordable solution that enables clients to conduct rich business meetings over a reliable platform, without having first to attend unwanted training classes. LoopUp developed its service around reacting to the key market trends in the industry. LoopUp was made available on BlackBerry, Apple and Android handsets to cater to mobile users. In response to the increased demand for collaborative workspaces, LoopUp enabled its users to seamlessly turn audio calls into web conferencing sessions, where users can share presentations and documents and boost productivity levels. LoopUp’s vision, backed by a clear strategy, has enabled the company to meet the demands of a growing market and establish its position as a highly innovative and customer-focused company. Conclusion Where many conferencing service providers talk about offering an easy to use service, LoopUp genuinely does. The company identified that ease of use was the most commonly sought after feature of any conferencing service and focused squarely on that market need. Sticking to its vision of providing easy to use conferencing services has enabled the company to outgrow the market. Moving forward, simplicity matched by quality and the company’s demonstrated ability to innovate will see LoopUp achieve further penetration and growth in the market. Critical Importance of TEAM Research Frost & Sullivan’s TEAM 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 seven of Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies. Our experience has shown over the years that companies too often make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their environment, leading to errors of both omission and commission. Frost & Sullivan contends that successful growth strategies are founded on a thorough understanding of market, technical, economic, financial, customer, best practices, and demographic analyses. In that vein, the letters T, E, A and M reflect our core technical, economic, applied (financial and best practices) and market analyses. The © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 7 “We Accelerate Growth”
BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH integration of these research disciplines into the TEAM Research methodology provides an evaluation platform for benchmarking industry players and for creating high-potential growth strategies for our clients. C ha r t 4 : B e nc h ma r ki ng P e rf or ma nc e w i t h TE A M R es ea rc h 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-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com. © 2013 Frost & Sullivan 8 “We Accelerate Growth”
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