When you launch your platform in a new market, you’ll encounter a whole new set of rules and regulations governing everything from tax to your communications – many of which will depend upon how exactly you’ve chosen to enter the market in question. Everything from how you file paperwork to the time-frames you can expect regulators to work to.
So what can you do? Well, Cavell Group recently looked into the routes available expanding comms into new international markets. They identified three main avenues for growing multinational capability: Acquisition, Build and Manage, and Extension.
Acquiring locally based Service Providers in the desired expansion location. – Good for access to the local market but expensive.
Build and Manage
Leverage the capabilities of wholesale operators, with an international presence. – Increased control but complicated and takes time.
Utilizing the capabilities and infrastructure of a wholesale operator whilst maintaining current platforms. – Quick and cost-effective but the maintenance of the primary systems must be considered.
They concluded that although the barriers to international expansion are reducing, multinational service provision can still be complex and service providers should seek to find infrastructure partners who can assist with providing local knowledge, expertise, and resources.
As you scale your platform, it’s crucial to scale your communications as well. And because voice is still the preferred method for customers you’re going to want to get a few things in place to make sure you don’t hit unnecessary hiccups with your comms along the way.
If you don’t already have a relationship with the local regulators, you’ll need to build one from scratch or hope that your comms provider (or comms providers) have a good one, which isn’t as common as you might hope.
In short, you’ll need local expertise.
Of course, you can have a good stab at global expansion without it, but the chances are that you’re storing up problems for your business long-term by doing this: what happens when a regulation that you hadn’t planned for starts being enforced out of the blue, and your phone numbers are cut off?
The short answer is that you need to find a supplier that has legal expertise in every market you serve, and you need to make sure that either inform you of your regulatory requirements or, where possible, take care of them on your behalf.
There’s another big hurdle when it comes to scaling your communications internationally, and it’s one of the biggest. Your product is ready to ship globally – but what about your infrastructure and operations?
If you have a B2C platform, you will need to start taking calls from a new part of the world and be able to reach customers with top-quality connections from local numbers. And if your platform has voice at its core offering, for example, a conferencing platform or a UCaaS/CPaaS/CCaaS service, that’s even truer.
Your comms need to be up and running before your business can get stuck in, so that means you’ve got to keep a lookout for suppliers with speedy deployment times. Cloud is a given for that – you don’t want to be dealing with shipping, constructing, and configuring on-site infrastructure if you’re looking for a smooth launch. But you also need to make sure that your cloud setup is fast: some providers will still require you to fax over documents or will provide lead times that are weeks or even months instead of hours or days.
Make sure you can access all your communications services – from buying numbers to configuring their settings – online, 24/7. That way, when your product is ready to scale, so are your operations and business comms.
Lots of Coverage
Problems also start cropping up when you’re dealing with multiple global communications suppliers. You might already be using a range of providers for your business comms, in which case the chances are that you’re already familiar with some of these headaches.
That only increases when you start looking at new markets. It might be that not all suppliers offer the functionality you need; it might be that they don’t all integrate with each other, or it might just be that you’re having to deal with more contracts, more overheads, and more people on the other end of the phone. So you should be looking at one contract, not half a dozen, and one set of standards.
That’s why it’s so important to find a provider that covers the majority of global GDP – ideally, they’ll cover every market you might ever want to expand into so that you can continue to grow with them in the long term. Of course, the more you consolidate your communications, the more buying control you have and the better you’re able to negotiate discounts and perks on your comms.
But it’s all very well describing the problems – how do we fix them? That’s what we’re going to look at next.
One of the biggest challenges when dealing with new regulators is that they’re pretty much guaranteed to all have different requirements from each other. They’ll also probably want things in different formats and uploaded to different places. Using an API from your comms supplier is a straightforward way to amalgamate all this complexity into a single interface.
That way you can integrate those requirements into your own product effortlessly, meaning that whether you or your customers are the ones doing the calling, all the usual regulatory hurdles will melt away.
Take Advantage of BYOC
BYOC is what allows you to ‘unbundle’ your communications stack, and separate the top two layers – your application or UI and your call logic – from the bottom layer; your underlying network.
If your platform doesn’t have international numbers, you can simply ‘plug-in’ a carrier that does. That lets you scale to new markets overnight without having to port numbers or find a way out of your existing contracts if you don’t want to, or simply aren’t ready to make that change yet.
Sticking with your existing supplier and simply adding in a new carrier means no migration of services, no retraining of your staff, and no expensive double-billing whilst you transition. And if you can find a single carrier to take care of all your coverage needs, you’ll eliminate all the pricey overheads we talked about earlier.
Taking advantage of BYOC also means that coverage doesn’t have to be the only variable you look at when picking a comms supplier: you can also make a decision based on quality. This is likely to be particularly useful if you’re offering a contact center or contact center solution, where clear, clean lines of communication are one of your best assets as a business.
So with one blow, BYOC can remove all the hassle of scaling your operations and clear plenty of obstacles that are likely to arise from handling lots of different suppliers all at once.
Here at Voxbone, the flexibility of our system allows you to evaluate us in your problem areas, and if you like us in that area to expand the coverage, resilience and control features across your base of applications bringing economies of scale that each of the platforms independently couldn’t reach.
Interested in using Voxbone alongside your platform to provide complaint global coverage?