We sat down recently to talk about hosted VoIP services offered by Thinking Phone Networks with Steven Kokinos, the company's president and CEO. Thinking Phone Networks targets large and mid-tier enterprise customers and currently has about 500 business clients covering over 2,000 offices. The company's largest client to date provides services to about 7,000 users.Kokinos believes that one of the keys to his company's success has been a focus on providing analytics that helps enterprises move from a silo-based, functional area model to one in which information is captured, analyzed, shared and acted upon cross-functionally. He also contends that another success factor has been that his company's solution bears only one-third to one-half the CapEx-cost of premise based solutions offered by Cisco and Microsoft.Thinking Phones' analytics engine was designed with contact center best practices applied more broadly to give management visibility into actionable information to help drive people and process efficiency. As one case study example of how analytics improved the enterprise ROI, a financial institution was experiencing rapid head count increases in its account services group yet was not seeing a corresponding improvement in response rates to internal customers in other areas of the company. The departmental process review used unified communications analytics was able to determine what was happening and why. Process improvements were identified, an improved capacity plan was developed, and new personnel schedules were put in place to better align individual skill sets with department needs. According to the company, customers saw response rates climb nearly 10-fold.In another example, Kokinos noted recalled the case of a sales vice president's need to better understand when and how sales personnel followed up on leads. In this scenario, the sales executive used mobile unified communications data to track and analyze real-time trends for sales lead follow-up (or lack thereof) without waiting for the data that had previously required input data from the sales team members.Our observations: we're beginning to see some novel approaches to differentiation of UC services that add value. For example, some UC solutions may focus on easy installation, others on integration with multiple systems, and others on the professional or management services that accompany the solution. We believe there is still room to differentiate UC in other ways, and we'll report on these as we see them evolve.Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.