What it means to be a telecommunications service provider has been undergoing a significant shift during the past several years. Market pressure on pricing and bundling is forcing service providers to more aggressively aggregate a range of services from various specialist wholesale providers, network operators and software developers to meet customer needs. At the same time, requirements for integrated service delivery make it harder to use a traditional reseller model – which bundles billing but not functionality – to compete. In essence, most of the communications, data and IT services that were previously sold separately have been mashed together and are, more often than not, sold together.
The as-a-service model has allowed service providers to move considerably closer to achieving the desired costs, control and broad range of service bundling than they could previously. This model is beneficial because relying on the underlying platforms, infrastructure and software solutions of technology specialists enables service providers to focus more of their efforts on sales, marketing, support, and integrated delivery. However, historically, this model also typically required operators to lose considerable control and flexibility around their services to wholesale partners that deliver packaged white-label offerings. But it doesn’t have to be that way, explained VoIP Logic (News - Alert) CEO Micah Singer.
Telecommunications platform-as-a-service enables service providers to deliver new offerings while still playing an active role in creating customer solutions they believe will be most compelling in the marketplace. Rather than relying on one technology manufacturer or one service provider that runs a reseller program, there is an emerging option that has taken root that allows service providers to keep focus on the customer – selling and supporting – without giving up control and self-care. VoIP Logic has seen this model take root notably among smaller service providers that want cost and service control but that do not want to lose focus running infrastructure operations when their business success is determined by the customer relationship.
“We offer flexibility to service providers to make all of the important technical decisions that let them define their services and control their costs without taking on the burden of a lot of operational and capital overhead. This, in turn, allows them to step up from being white-label providers and offer their unique integrated offerings,” said Singer.
Given the highly competitive marketplace and rising customer expectations, service providers need to be able to turn on a dime to keep up with market demand, Singer noted, and VoIP Logic can enable them to do that. In fact, it already does.
VoIP Logic today already offers PaaS capabilities to more than 30 service providers. These service providers, in aggregate work with over 3,000 enterprises comprised of more than 40,000 business end users. It’s a field-proven and customer-tested solution.
The typical service provider that benefits the most from the VoIP Logic PaaS model has been in the business of selling to business users for a while, wants to use leading technology for telephony, and is interested to choose the customer-facing technology – phones, customer premise data routers, applications, etc. – and the network operators – origination and termination carriers, data network and DID providers but does not want to get lost in the myriad complexities of maintaining the behind-the-scenes components. It can be a challenge to transition from the mentality of a switchless reseller to a full-fledged service provider – as-a-service seems like the natural intersection to provide the desired control without the onerous ongoing fixed costs. VoIP Logic packages in an experienced engineering team, test and training resources and proprietary operations, administration, management and provisioning software to streamline the use of well-regarded best-of-breed software from leading manufacturers.
Specifically, the VoIP Logic platform is comprised of technology from BroadSoft – application server and associated components, Oracle Communications/Acme Packet (News - Alert) –access session border controller for phone registration and VoIP firewall, Genband – VoIP peering session control for carrier network interconnection, Cisco (News - Alert) –data networking, and IBM – hardware for robust commodity server resources. In a market of rapidly expanding and integrating services there is a growing list of add-on technology both provided by VoIP Logic and proposed by VoIP Logic’s service provider partners that, taking advantage of the PaaS model, have the flexibility to add and integrate services based on outside technology at their own pace.
The VoIP Logic platform has a geographic component as well. The company uses data center collocation space in eight facilities – one in Los Angeles, two in New York City, two in Florida (in Miami and Tampa), two in London and one in Hong Kong. The facilities are in tier 1 hosting centers at TELEHOUSE (News - Alert), Tata Communications, Telx, NAP of the Americas, etc.
“Our role is to provide our service provider partners the best technologies – like BroadWorks, Acme and Genband, housed in the most stable, resilient locations – like TELEHOUSE, and with an experienced team of engineers assuring maximal uptime,” said Singer. “We provide this foundational infrastructure while ensuring that our partners have the control and flexibility to make operational decisions that are best for their businesses.”
“VoIP Logic has seen tremendous growth over the past 7 years at our data center facilities in New York and London. I believe the success we have seen together can be attributed to their service focus and our responsiveness and disaster preparedness,” said Fred Cannone (News - Alert), director of sales and marketing at TELEHOUSE. “Cheers to VoIP Logic for focusing on platform and doing it right.”
Service providers that work with VoIP Logic tend to focus on the basic and more advanced hosted PBX services sold to small and medium sized enterprises. As communications services have become more complex and demands have increased on service providers, VoIP Logic has been called upon to expand its platform to offer more end user focused technology – like call recording, call center features, more service provider controls – like advanced routing for quality and cost control, and more professional services expertise to deploy systems, and train service provider personnel to counter increased security threats.
There are a number of strong arguments to be made in favor of as-a-service outsourcing – perhaps none more significant than those expectations for operational outcome (uptime) and the economic argument. These two together form the basis for making a compelling business efficiency argument as VoIP Logic’s Singer recently noted in his blog: “It is much more efficient for a PaaS provider to manage the shared technology and the shared operation team than for a service provider to invest in these capital and ongoing manpower costs,” wrote Singer. “In addition, and perhaps even more relevant than cost, is experience. Through a greater volume of technical engineering work across many service providers, a PaaS organization develops significantly more knowledge about specific systems and manufacturers.”
Operational outcome is a category of measurement that is difficult to quantify but can be the linchpin in deciding to opt for VoIP Logic. Because the technology used to deliver communications services is becoming more complex and specialized and there is a growing number of manufacturers found in integrated services, the bar on precision in technology support and experience is always rising. Opting for an experienced provider can make exponentially significant differences in service interruption time and resolving other dangerous – customer-effecting – incidents.
Service providers, resellers, agents and others interested in realizing the benefits of a PaaS solution will need some in-house engineering capabilities, said Singer. But once they commit to taking a more active role in the design of their services and the selection of their network partners, he added, they’ll have the wherewithal to do more for their business customers and will be more flexible as market needs evolve – and that will better position new service providers to grow their businesses now and well into the future.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi