Greg Wheeler, Senior Vice President of National Sales for CBTS, hears a common theme when he meets with clients across the United States: Help us leverage the cloud so that we can focus our resources on strategic initiatives.
Nowhere is this need acuter than in the voice application space, where growing organizations across industries often find limited IT resources spending a disproportionate amount of time managing different telecommunications solutions.
“Our clients want to invest their capital and direct their internal IT resources into strategic initiatives that drive business results,” Wheeler says. “They do not want to spend their money and their IT organization’s time on managing the phone system.”
CBTS is helping clients across the United States and Canada navigate this environment with a suite of cloud-based, hosted unified communications solutions that allow clients to move from a CapEx model, in which they purchase and host their own telecommunications technology, to an OpEx model, which will enable them to pay for what they consume.
Wheeler, a 16-year veteran of CBTS, recently shared additional insights in an interview with CIO.com.
What are the trends you have observed in the communications space?
The overriding trend has been the economics around consumption. Historically, the consumption model for our customers was very different – whether it was for their compute and storage infrastructure, unified communications, or route/switch environment. Customers would pay us up front. We would configure, ship, and install the solution. After that, customers were left on their own to consume the features and functionality of the solution.
With the entrance of companies including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google into the cloud, compute, and storage space, the economic consumption models have changed dramatically. Customers no longer want to pay up front for an enterprise-grade system that has 150 different features and functionalities when their users are only going to use a few of them. It is the service provider's job to make those features and functionalities available in the cloud and charge just for what the customer needs and consumes.
We architect, implement, and manage voice and network solutions that are highly available, stable, and scalable to meet our customer’s unique needs
A major pain point that most organizations face is shrinking IT budgets. It seems IT organizations are continually being asked to do more with less. Therefore, they are relying on the new consumption model to help them navigate the lack of resources and people. At the same time, there is an IT talent gap. So our customers not only have lower budgets, but they also have a hard time finding IT talent and resources. Service providers have to work with these customers and help them manage this new environment.
What are the distinct features of your solutions that give you a competitive edge?
We provide solutions that are highly available, stable, and scalable in terms of their feature-functionality. We have dedicated teams that spend time with the customer in a pre-sales engagement to understand their exact needs. We then build the right model based upon the customer’s requirements. And our Shared Services organization delivers a consistent customer support experience across all of our product stacks.
What are the industry verticals you cater to?
We have a solid foundation across all industry segments throughout the SMB and enterprise space. But when you look the customers we partner with, we’re seeing significant traction in the SLED (State and Local Government and Education), healthcare, and national enterprise retail space.
How do you go about implementing your solution in your customers’ infrastructure?
By the end of this year, we will have over 200,000 profiles on our hosted unified communications (UC) platform. We have been in the hosted UC space for over ten years and are actively building upon that customer base.
In addition, customers want options beyond traditional but expensive MPLS networks. CBTS offers Network as a Service and SD-WAN solutions, which not only provide an alternative to MPLS networks but also allow companies that are growing through acquisitions and mergers a cost-effective alternative to reconcile disparate networks and provide a unified voice solution that scales as needed with the reliability they require. The result is that our suite of UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN services provide clients a holistic solution to their voice and networking needs in this era of shrinking IT budgets and limited resources. We are seeing almost 60 percent of customer engagements include two or more of these solutions.
What does the future look like for CBTS?
We just concluded the acquisition and integration of an IT services company which gave us a couple of opportunities. First, we have new geographies and relationships with existing customers that we can expand. CBTS now has reached across North America. Second, we have been building a partner channel/indirect sales organization where we are seeing strong success. So our increased customer base, new geographic reach, and sales channels combine to give us a significant runway for growth.