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Feature Article
October 2004

Outsourcing Operational Costs Allows Entrepreneur To Focus On Growth

Stage 2 Network’s Joe Gillette had a problem common to all communications companies. The problem was how to minimize overhead while maximizing the ability to properly service customers in a rapidly growing business.

From his early days as a salesman for Executone through his tenure as the founder and CEO of GGN, a major New York City CLEC and ISP, Joe had significant marketing and operational experience. GGN was an early implementer of many of the sales support and automated operational processes that have now become business standards. Joe’s latest venture, Stage 2 Networks, is a next-generation facilities-based CLEC, which brings both VoIP and traditional telecom services to enterprise customers and the new breed of enhanced service provider customers.

The escalating migration to an integrated delivery of voice and data over IP presents a unique opportunity for providers that can deliver robust and secure connectivity at competitive prices. By building a business on a solid foundation of service, Stage 2 is well positioned to succeed.

Joe’s previous company built and marketed its own in-house OSS capability. Because Joe was a pioneer in Web-based OSS, building an in-house capability was his only option. Areas in which GGN performed development included sales channel management tools, order management tools, and management information reporting. Internal development was expensive, time consuming, and required constant modifications.

In addition to the tremendous investment that developing an in-house capability required, it also pulled focus away from the company’s primary mission of customer acquisition and care. Ongoing staffing issues, scalability to keep pace with marketing successes, and new product rollout with resulting internal training requirements were chronic problems. Program development and staff management were consistent and full-time issues, which decreased GGN’s ability to focus on growth.

In ramping up Stage 2 Networks, Joe wanted to put in place the same quality customer service and billing systems without the same cost and distraction he experienced at GGN. As an experienced telecommunications executive Joe knew that nothing could derail an early stage company more than unhappy clients and billing issues, both of which can be damaging to the reputation of a telecom company at any stage of its lifecycle.

Based upon his previous experiences, Joe knew from the beginning that he wanted to outsource OSS development, customer service, and billing operations. He concluded his search for an outsourcing partner and selected Profitec based upon the merits of their offering.

“Profitec is one of the industry’s secret weapons,” says Gillette, “In my business we rarely go around informing our customers how we fulfill our service level agreements, but Profitec is quietly helping hundreds of successful companies handle their end-user relationships. The order management, sales support, and customer care that we gain from Profitec today is not only superior to anything that I have used in the past, but the economics of the decision, coupled with Profitec’s ability to rapidly scale, made the decision easy.”

Stage 2 Networks has implemented the full OmniSuite product and all back- office services. Additionally, Profitec is providing an ASP-based solution and all of the associated IT support.

From a system perspective, OmniSuite includes Web-based end-user sign-up and sales order entry and reporting tools, both of which support real-time financial decision making and application qualification. Based upon the customer ANI entered, and a wide array of selection criterion, Profitec only presents product choices for which a specific account is qualified. Accepted orders are passed electronically into OmniBill, the central OmniSuite component. OmniBill triggers activation events, which pass through the Internet to underlying access providers or downstream switching equipment. Electronic billing and on-line customer self care are supported through the OmniView EBPP. All status information is made available online to the sales agents, to ease sales logistical drain and minimize time to revenue on new sales.

Stage 2 Networks has also engaged Profitec’s back-office services. Profitec’s customer care center is available 7x24x365, and covers everything from provisioning to hard collections and virtually everything in-between. For Joe Gillette, the customer care staff operates under the Stage 2 Networks brand and is fully trained on the entire Stage 2 product set so they can perform sales support and product up sells. A thin staff of client administrative experts can supervise all Profitec efforts.

“Profitec has harnessed the power of the Internet to readily support many of the functions we concentrated on in my previous business,” continues Gillette. “The OmniSuite product set supports real-time credit checking, financial decision making, address verifications and credit card validations, financial treatment with suspensions and reinstatements, and sophisticated order management with trouble ticketing and service order capability, all in one integrated system. We have no requirement for internal developers, third-party software purchases, or expensive system integrators. I let Profitec worry about all of those things so I can concentrate on keeping my sales agents productive and my customers and investors happy.”

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