New Fonality CEO Turning Focus Back On UC Channel Partners

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The unified communications and contact center markets burst at the seams with competitors, but David Scult believes he's found a diamond in the rough in Fonality, the eight-year-old open source VoIP and UC specialist that's looking to expand its addressable market further into the cloud.

Scult, an industry veteran and former Microsoft Office 365 chief, was named Fonality's new CEO in January. He's Fonality's third CEO in as many as three years -- Dean Mansfield replaced Chris Lyman in January 2010 and exited last year -- but Scult says Fonality represents a "rare opportunity."

"It's not often you find a venture-backed company of this size, about 250 folks, that's more than six years old and is in pretty good shape," Scult told CRN in a recent interview. "At that stage, the company is usually either looking to do a reboot, and that's why they bring in a CEO, or the founder kind of took it as far as he or she could and the board says, 'you need adult supervision.' This is unique because we're on a growth path and we don't need to shake much up."

[Related: 15 Open Source PBX/VoIP Products To Know]

Scult spent much of his career at early-stage companies, and also 15 years at Lotus/IBM and Microsoft. He joined Microsoft in 2005 following the software giant's acquisition of collaboration specialist Groove Networks, whose CEO at the time was future Microsoft CTO and Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

Scult had been president and COO at Groove, and his most recent role at Microsoft was general manager of its Office 365 business.

"I was looking for something about this size," Scult said of Fonality. "I looked at lots of different things and Fonality stood out because it wasn't sickly and there wasn't going to be an issue with emotional ties to the founder and CEO. The management team that had run the company since last year without [Mansfield] was spectacular, and we both spent a few months doing our due diligence."

NEXT: Scult's Plans To Focus Fonality

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