Tricia Ward of Onward Communications had just moved one of her large, multisite customers to hosted voice when call quality issues threatened to derail the deployment.
The customer had moved from MPLS to fiber internet with redundant circuits at all sites. The carriers couldn’t explain the voice issues, and the UCaaS vendor was reporting great MOS scores. No one could figure out why the customer was experiencing call quality issues or how to solve the problem. That’s when Tricia brought in Bigleaf Networks’ Cloud-first SD-WAN to track down the problem, solve it, and ensure that it didn’t happen again.
Tricia sat down with us to tell us how the whole story. Fortunately, the cameras were rolling…
Tricia: So, the customer I’d like to talk about is a transportation logistics firm that I’ve been working with for about the past seven years. They were on a legacy MPLS network. They were growing. They were acquiring new locations, and they really wanted me to come in and look at improving the network and helping them with their applications across all their locations.
We had just installed the network, all fiber, now we were installing hosted voice, and as part that endeavor, we decided that we should probably put in some redundancy. We also put in various cable circuits and fixed wireless circuits across the country. So the customer has a great network. Now, it’s robust. It’s going to meet their needs.
They’re operating across the hosted voice platform and they start having issues. They start having a lot of dropped calls. They start having latency, jitter, all of the things you don’t want to have happen in your voice network.
We turned in trouble tickets with the carriers and the carrier said, “Oh no, there’s nothing wrong with our network.” We turned in trouble tickets with the UCaaS provider and they said, “No, we have great MOS scores.” The customers said, “Well, it’s not our local area network because we know that works.”
We were almost at our wit’s end. I thought about what I could do, and I had a relationship with a company in Portland by the name of Bigleaf. I knew their product fairly well and I knew that they had a portion of their product that dealt with analytics.
Jeff: Bigleaf is an SD-WAN service provider with a very specific focus on purpose-built connectivity to the Cloud. Customers moving line of business applications to cloud and SaaS environments and helping them architect their Network accordingly.
Tricia did reach out. She reached out to us, not asking, “Can your SD-WAN fix this?”, but rather “I have a problem. Can you guys help?” We get these calls from partners from time to time where there’s a problem and it’s obvious what the one thing is. There’s something wrong where the partner needs help and the customer needs help. What can we do?
Our attitude was there was gonna be one of two outcomes. The perfect outcome would we could just drop in Bigleaf’s service and the problems would go away. But we felt from what she was describing that probably wasn’t going to the case there was going to more to it than that. We felt it important to be very transparent and honest front in saying, “Here’s what we think we can do.” and, more importantly, “Here’s what we think we can see.”
Nobody really knew if this was a LAN issue, an internet issue, a voice provider issue. We felt that if we could get in the middle of it we could use SD-WAN, hopefully, to fix the problem, but more importantly to identify where these things are happening and who needs to take responsibility for what to get ultimately to resolution at the end the day.
Tricia: So we got a Bigleaf demo unit into their location. Talked through the process. Put it in place, and all of the sudden it was as though a light turned on. They had actual statistics that were helping prove out the various problems in the network, and it turns out it wasn’t just one problem.
Jeff: It wasn’t any one person’s fault. It wasn’t any one thing. We were able to identify some issues coming out of network. We could point to the customers and say, “Hey we see this. Can you work on that?” We were able to identify some issues on the circuits which was hard data that could be taken back to the carrier and say, “Here’s what we’re seeing. Can you work on that?” And we were also able to identify issues between the carrier and the voice provider and say, “Hey guys, it looks like there’s a problem over here. How do we fix this? How do we get this all together?” And nobody was sitting there saying, “This isn’t my fault. It’s your fault.” It was, “how do we get this fixed? How we make the customer happy at the of the day?”
Tricia: It just completely transformed the experience that the customer was having, so much so that they bought Bigleaf for every location without even thinking about it.
Jeff: To a certain degree, not fixing the problem immediately made for a better relationship. Working side-by-side with everyone involved, we were able to put everybody on even ground and ultimately show our value beyond just a single service you drop in at one location to fix one little thing.
Tricia: Everybody who wouldn’t take ownership before all of a sudden had evidence standing in front of them and said, “Oh we better take some ownership of this problem.” And so today they have all locations operating with primary internet connection with their secondary network connection for redundancy and a Bigleaf router in-between managing and monitoring what’s happening in their network. And they look at those statistics daily. I know that for a fact.
Jeff: You need to think of support when you’re thinking of service. They go hand-in-hand. In my experience, the best relationships have come out challenging situations. You need to be able to take the opportunity to help someone, to really drive the relationship home, and create more value long-term.
Tricia: With the support Bigleaf gave and with the tenacity that they attacked the problem, it has really transformed the customers business. And in fact, they did not replace anything in the solution. They were just able to make the necessary tweaks. To make the solution, right.