Variety

Taking Voice into the Cloud

Venkatesh Ganesh | Updated on November 23, 2017 Published on October 24, 2013

Sundeep Misra, Co-founder, VMC, came across the idea by observingdeal closings

Sundeep Misra struck upon a business opportunity in an unusual manner. After coming back to India in 2007, having worked with financial services giant Goldman Sachs, he saw people using the mobile phones to communicate and close deals. Sealing deals, which is in the DNA of any Goldman employee, sparked off an interest in starting a venture, that began operations in December 2011 to aid businesses to transact with their customers.

“When I wanted to connect with a business it was difficult to find a number that I could call and connect to the right person,” he says. “We constantly saw advertisements with multiple mobile numbers, and when we spoke to some people to find how they know tracked the number of calls, how many were attended and how many were missed and the answer was negative,” he adds. Thus started a venture called MCube, which aims to help a customer with transparency into call details (commonly referred to as call logs), nature of conversation etc. in real time.

The company saw an opportunity and worked on a cloud computing-based telephony prototype to track the calls and provide analytics around it. The logic is simple – instead of buying PBX equipment and making recurring payments month after month, buy a service that is hosted on the Internet, paid for on a monthly basis without incurring maintenance costs as the software can sit with existing PBX systems.

How it works

Cloud computing technologies help any business to use software on a rented basis rather than having to buy and manage licenses. MCube is a cloud based telephony solution, which requires no hardware, software or maintenance and can be synced with existing PBX systems. MCube connects incoming calls to mobile numbers of employees of business irrespective of their location and device allowing business employees to be mobile.

In other words, MCube buys bandwidth from cellular operators and provides telephony services to its clients- somewhat similar to Skype. VMC, the company behind MCube looks at telephony as a productivity tool for businesses with mobile workforce and businesses dependent of inbound calls. MCube has been developed with the view of helping businesses improve ROI from sales, marketing activities, and support activities. Further, it has inbuilt modules that integrate the voice calls with productivity business modules to help business manage leads, support, campaign better. All this comes at 1/10th of a cost when compared to a traditional EPABX system, according to Misra.

The need for such a service exists due to the following questions, that arise; how is each support executive handling support calls? How many calls were not answered and why? How can one reach to un-answered calls as soon as possible? What time of day and week of day you get most calls? Why did a particular client complain? However, in a country where the bulk of businesses is still comfortable with traditional phone lines, is the company seeing many takers? While the initial response was positive from those who used the product, sales were a challenge. “People did not understand what we were talking about and also did not believe what we said was possible. As a result we spent several months educating our customers, kept experimenting on how to communicate with our customers so they would easily understand and would want to buy. After tweaking the communication for several months MCube started selling because the customers began to understand the product and its need.

The company counts Crossroads, a road side assistance service, Vishram Project an NGO for services at doorstep to elderly, real estate, hospitality, matrimony and online education companies amongst its 1,000 installations since 2011, according to company officials.

Future Plans

VMC plans to continue and expand across India as it feels that it has not scratched the surface of Indian market, which has millions of MSMEs and large sized businesses. “As we expand, we will continue to innovate and develop applications integrated with telephony for different business domains,” explains Misra. The company plans to explore other emerging markets but on a later date. The company, which so far, has been self funded with these growth plans wants to tap into funds.

According to analysts, owning and operating one’s own systems used to be a necessary part of using IT for a competitive advantage, which now an unnecessary burden that creates significant risks, reduces agility and impacts long term sustainability.

While the idea is not new as there are other players like Exotel, who already have clients like Mast Kalandar, KaatiZone, Urbantouch, Crazeal, Carwale, Bankbazaar, Godrej as some of their clients. Other players like Knowlarity, Ozonetel and giants like Microsoft are also in the fray, eying a lucrative 850 million mobile phone user base, which means VMC has its work cut out.

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Published on October 24, 2013
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