Evolution of an S-Curve
Most developments start out slow, and then begin to ramp up more quickly over time, finally fading out at the end. This is mathematically represented by the sigmoid function above that, when graphed, forms an “S-curve.”
Overall, market leadership is determined within the context of a category and is driven by a fundamental value proposition from the perspective of the customer. Geoffrey Moore explained this pragmatically as a technology adoption life-cycle in his widely read book, “Crossing The Chasm.” In the book, Moore shows how most categories evolve over time and customer adoption forms a bell curve that starts slow with early adopters, ramps up with the early majority and late majority and finally finishes with the laggards.
If you change the graph to show cumulative adoption rather than incremental adoption the bell curve turns into an s-curve as shown below.
As technology causes market disruptions, one S-Curve category fades and another takes off as they build on top of one another as shown in the graphics below:
In the Enterprise Communication space, the IP PBX category took over from the traditional PBX category. Cisco essentially invented the IP PBX category by buying a number of companies; Avaya “IP enabled” their legacy PBX system. ShoreTel was born in this S-curve category – built from an all-IP clean slate precisely to design out difficulty.
We greatly respect Cisco and Avaya, as companies that are both good at meeting requirements – but their solutions are guaranteed to be complicated. In stark contrast, ShoreTel really is Brilliantly Simple.
Some IT execs see complexity as a challenge; they are excited by it (potentially envisioning increased job security). But on the other side of the spectrum are the IT execs who reject such unnecessary complexity, believing that there are better things to focus on. This latter group is who ShoreTel resonates with and the key reason behind our 35% annual growth rate.
It is very apparent that a new Unified Communicatoins S-curve is emerging. Our focus at ShoreTel is to seize the opportunity with decisive action.
Work is no longer a location – it’s an activity. So Unified Communications is about collaboration: Enabling effective communication to drive individual and group productivity. The solution is multi-participant (natural and easy team cooperation), multi-modal (voice-centric with instant messaging, presence notations, desktop sharing, and video enhancement), and mobile (out of the office but always on).
The criteria for success are:
- Brilliantly Simple – extremely powerful but easy to adopt and use by enterprise IT management and user-centric
- Open – Able to integrate with existing solutions and become an integral part of a powerful ecosystem
As we shared at last month’s ShoreTel Champion Partner conference, it’s clear that ShoreTel is on a roll. I am encouraged by the broad nature of our momentum and as we continue to fire on all cylinders with increasing momentum on all fronts, we’re picking up still more steam.