In the CEO
Spotlight section in Internet Telephonyï¿½ magazine, we recognize the
outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you
the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony
industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we
interviewed Craig W. Rauchle, CO-CEO and COO of
IT: What is Inter-Telï¿½s mission?
CR: Inter-Tel is focused on delivering advanced, practical, and
accountable voice and data communications solutions, including hardware,
software, applications, carrier services, and support to the small- to
medium-enterprise market throughout North America and Europe.
IT: What is your vision for Inter-Tel and how is the company
positioned in the next-generation telecom market?
CR: Our vision is to position Inter-Tel as a ï¿½single source providerï¿½
for enterpriseï¿½s communications needs. We are positioned to plan and manage
all of our customersï¿½ current communications requirements, and help them
leverage new applications and technologies when it makes sense from a
business ROI standpoint. Most importantly, our vision helps the enterprise
focus on doing what they do best -- running their own businesses without
worrying about technology, integration, and interoperability. Thatï¿½s our
IT: Describe some of the key decisions that you have made to
steer your company through the recent challenging financial straits?
CR: Although recent times have been challenging for every
manufacturer, Inter-Tel has fared a lot better than many of our competitors
because we have always been diligent in our execution and focused. Our core
competency has always been addressing the needs of the SME marketplace (50
to 500 ports). Weï¿½ve never strayed into other businesses like the router,
optical, or carrier market, which has helped insulate us from the deep
problems many other companies have experienced.
One of the most important decisions we have made is the move to deliver
the ï¿½Inter-Tel Managed Servicesï¿½ solutions to the market. Clearly, companies
are looking for communications products, applications, and services that
will maximize productivity and reduce costs. But that isnï¿½t enough. We have
taken the stance that Inter-Tel has to help customers enhance and improve
their entire business process, not just from a telecom perspective, but
enterprise-wide. When we do that, then we know we offer real value that make
us indispensable in the eyes of our customers.
IT: What makes Inter-Telï¿½s services unique and how can a client
benefit from using them?
CR: Certainly the fact that our company is focused on the SME market
makes us unique. We know who we are, and what we offer our customers. Whatï¿½s
more, Inter-Tel is currently the only company in our space that can provide
businesses with the breadth of products and services they need. These
include carrier services, network planning and provisioning, custom
development of applications, financial programs to help customers maximize
their cash flow, and of course, advanced platforms, applications and
endpoints for any environment, including IP, SIP, digital, analog, and
Our customers benefit from this approach because we take the guesswork
out of managing technology. It is Inter-Telï¿½s job to deliver the right
integrated technology, applications, service, and support to give the
enterprise the tools it needs to increase efficiency and prosperity. We
worry about the technology and its appropriate deployment, so our customers
wonï¿½t have to. This has been our philosophy for over 30 years, and we see
this message resonating even louder today.
IT: What is the most pressing issue facing our industry today, and
what can be done to alleviate this problem?
CR: In reviewing the competitive landscape, I believe the industry
will be exposed to continued turmoil in the coming years. Basic voice
communication will become commoditized, forcing the industry to remove
itself from only selling technology and price. The industry will be required
to identify and deliver value-added applications. In the meantime, providers
will struggle to move away from current business practices, and traditional
PBX manufacturers are going to be challenged to change their historical
mindset and focus on designing practical and efficient applications that
will meet these new emerging demands.
IT: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry?
CR: Right now, we are in a renaissance phase of IP telephony.
Businesses understand how they can reduce cost by eliminating network
redundancy. Thereï¿½s nothing new there. What they will enjoy down the road is
the proliferation of new applications and tools that dramatically improve
business processes. Weï¿½ll see wireless communications become more prevalent,
and we are going to see a whole new breadth of ï¿½presenceï¿½ applications and
collaboration tools that let team members, associates, and partners
communicate in real time, regardless of location. We are going to see
significant, massive improvements in the way customers conduct their
business -- resulting in an exciting time for the future of IP telephony and
To The August 2003 Table Of Contents ]