Announcing TalkingPointz

by Dave Michels

Welcome to my new site: – the new home for PinDropSoup.

It was four years ago this month that I started PinDropSoup as a telecom blog. A lot has changed. It was initially just a hobby, but the page views consistently grew. The blog created numerous opportunities for me, regular writing opportunities at major sites such as and as well as several projects at sites like TechTarget, GigaOm, CloudAve, and VoiceReport. I’ve done several webinars through Focus and other sites, and I get invitations to speak at (and attend) conferences. The blog also created numerous consulting projects with major analyst firms, vendors, and end users. I had planned to seek a new job after selling my company in 2010, but that seems just silly now. I’m having a blast and doing what I love – criticizing and  explaining telecom.

Some of the project work I’ve done involves detailed analysis of specific vendor solutions and I also get inquiries from investors seeking competitive SWOTs. I do this work, but it’s private – can’t be shared. If it does get published, it gets watered down and/or listed under someone else’s name. Concurrently, I noticed a gap in analyst coverage. On one hand, telecom is more confusing than ever before – how to develop a UC strategy or even understanding what UC is, or what to expect from it is becoming increasingly difficult. On the other hand, the (IT) buyers frequently don’t have a communications background. They need assistance with where to start, identifying what’s broken, and most importantly understanding the opportunities. The enterprises get plenty of help – the big analyst firms and consulting houses. But those are members-only clubs and not a particularly good fit for the mid-market. I started toying with publishing my own research.

I came across blogs suggesting a change is needed in the analyst model.

The analyst firms are slowly becoming aware that few people read their stuff anymore, but persist in “checking the boxes”, forcing their analysts to meet their report quotas each year.  Their problem is that their product and revenue model is based on numbers of reports and hours of enquiry time – they are serving up expensive macro services, where their clients now want the micro.

Or this quote from a comment on the same post:
We used to have too little information. In that world, Gartner could be king, as the one place you could go to reliably find an answer. Now we have too much information and Gartner is just another voice in that cacophony. Even worse, it’s a voice that can’t be found by Google. I want someone who can solve my information overload problem, not contribute to it.

There are several important changes that have taken place in the technology industry that will require some rethinking of the traditional IT Analyst Industry. Lack of Defined Categories…I don’t think customers buy in categories any more – they buy solutions that transcend software category boundaries – thus making research papers focused on these categories less relevant. Integration of Consumer & Enterprise: This is one of the bigger changes in the industry – the “consumerization of the enterprise”…Not Enough Focus on Start Ups: Research coverage is still based on large and medium sized vendors.

I’ve decided to offer my own research. TalkingPointz reports offer a thorough analysis of a given solution – affordable, on demand, and without a subscription. I find that all of the players have a compelling and unique perspective regarding communications. The differences offer customers unique choices, but understanding those differences isn’t a trivial task. Each report discusses both the solution and its history (context is key). I use 10 broad UC functional areas to evaluate each solution to assist buyers in understanding the offering’s depth and to identify areas that may require complementary solutions. I include a SWOT, and tips for success (to both the vendor and customer). Per the points above – I look at micro solutions (one solution at a time) and explain how it fits into a broader IT and communications strategy. I address mobility and consumer impacts, and I will look at the smaller firms too.

My reports aren’t for everyone – my single solution report for less than $2k is over 40 pages. IDC offers a 31 page report covering 13 vendors for $25k.

I am starting with two reports – Mitel (MCD 5.0) and NEC (Sphericall 8.0) – these two vendors have been very supportive in answering all of my questions. They both understand that I’m hitting their strong and weak points, but also understand every vendor has weak points, and that knowing the whole story is a powerful tool. The reports follow the same detailed format. I intend to publish many more including all of the major premise and hosted vendors (but I don’t expect all of them to be cooperative).  The first two will be posted shortly.

Nothing else is changing.  I’m still writing for other sites and still speaking my mind at conferences and of course here at PinDropSoup. At Enterprise Connect 2012, I will be directing the Innovation Showcase again to identify start-ups, and we’ve already started planning the UCSummit (via UCStrategies) for channel partners next Spring.

To do this I needed to upgrade from Blogger and I needed a name that more people would “get.” This new site has all the PinDropSoup content, an e-commerce engine, and more. Check out my cultivated custom news feed on the home page. I also have a Twitter group that includes news and other independent voices. I brought in all the Podcasts I do on UCStrategies, and I’ve included my CxO interviews. I’ve also posted my calendar of  events.