As part of Fuze’s commitment to innovation and leading the enterprise UCaaS space, this past summer Fuze appointed two new independent Board members. Jay Markley, one of these two Board members, brings a breadth of UCaaS business expertise — notably his role as Chairman of the Board at Broadsoft for 15 years through its acquisition by Cisco.
Fuze’s CEO, Brian Day, sat down for a conversation with Jay to discuss his thoughts on the future of the UCaaS industry and Fuze’s role in that market:
Brian Day: Hello everyone, and thanks for joining us. I'm Brian Day, the CEO of Fuze, and today I'll be talking with one of our newest independent board members, Jay Markley. Jay, welcome and thanks for taking the time with me today.
Jay Markley: Brian, it's great to be here. Thank you.
Brian Day: So, Jay, tell us a little bit about your background, especially in the communications space. How long have you been involved in communications and technology?
Jay Markley: A long time. I've been in this industry for about 25 years, for most of my professional career as an investor and board member in public and private companies. Most relevant to Fuze is, I was involved in BroadSoft from its earliest days in the late nineties, and ultimately as chairman of that company, as we sold it to Cisco a few years ago. BroadSoft was a UCaaS pioneer really before that acronym came about, and very early in the transition from on premises communications to cloud communications, and that's the exciting runway that Fuze is on today. I'm also on the board of Charter Communications, which is obviously a large cable company that provides a lot of perspective on the communications space.
Brian Day: Great. So, Jay, let's talk about the future of UCaaS. 2020 has obviously brought about an acceleration of the future of work and UCaaS has been a huge part of that. We know that more and more companies are going to turn to a unified communication solution as their workforce transitions to a remote or hybrid work model. The jury's out as to whether it's going to be full-time remote or hybrid. I think it's going to be more of a hybrid model going forward, but who knows. It's definitely going to be a lot different than it was back before March 2020. Do you have any advice for enterprises adopting UCaaS for the first time?
Jay Markley: Yeah. A few thoughts on that, first, I think enterprises need to prepare to scale. I think be ready for thousands, or tens of thousands of users and hundreds of locations, and that is a hard thing to do. It's a complex product. It's a complex service offering... and be ready for that, because as Brian said, the future at work is going to look much different than the past, and so be ready for that complexity. And then second is, you need to find a partner who can support you on that journey. It's a much different world than SMB offerings or offerings that are less robust, and you need to be ready for that complexity with the right partner.
Brian Day: Any ideas who that right partner could be?
Jay Markley: I know this company in Boston, you should go talk to them, they're called Fuze.
Brian Day: Great answer. I like that. So Jay, you and I started talking about you joining our board last winter at the onset of the whole COVID crisis. What was it that attracted you to joining our board at that time?
Jay Markley: Look, Brian, I followed Fuze for many years just from being in the space, and followed the company from its earliest days. I've always been very impressed by the project that they developed, their approach to the market, and particularly their focus on the enterprise, because that's hard. And they've done a great job of building out a company that can support an enterprise that's deploying UCaaS, and I respect that immensely. And then second is, look, it's all about the people and people you want to work with every day. I'm thrilled to work with you and your team and your other board members to help build Fuze.
Brian Day: Well, I can tell you from my perspective, it's been great having you on our board the past seven months now, or the past six months now, it's really great to have somebody with the telecommunications background that you've got, and you've brought a lot of insight to our board that we didn't have prior to that, so it's been great. What do you think is going to happen in the next five years in UCaaS? I know everybody's talked about, well, the next 12 months, the next 24 months, where do you see the UCaaS and the communications world being five years from now?
Jay Markley: Boy, that's a tough one. I think I view the UCaaS space as the easy work is done. And by that, I mean that there's some SMB market, there's some good products out there, and it's competitive, and I feel like it's a saturated spot in the industry, but the future is really about the enterprise and how can enterprises deploy a reliable, robust UCaaS solution at scale? And that is the opportunity to set and the challenge ahead in the UCaaS space. And I think five years from now, UCaaS will be ubiquitous, communications will be in the cloud for big enterprises, and Fuze is going to lead us to that spot.
Brian Day: Great. So Jay, that's all I have for now. Thanks for joining me for this chat today. It's been great.
Jay Markley: Well, it's been great to be here, Brian, and I look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you.