When a company’s VoIP call quality decreases or its video conferencing system experiences a lag, the most common remedy is to recommend installing a bigger and more expensive Internet connection. But bumping up bandwidth is rarely the fix. The problems persist, and the complaints continue.
Recently, MSPs like ITC have used SD-WAN to not only solve these kinds of connectivity problems but, in the process, they’ve ended up doing something even more important: solving network issues before their customers realize there’s a problem. This missing link gives MSPs the superpower they need to improve customer value and reduce the cost of internet-related support calls.
SD-WAN changed how ITC interacts and services its customers
Founded in 1989, ITC provides a broad range of technology solutions including: Managed IT, Situational Awareness, Structured Cabling, Unified Communications, Video Surveillance, Wireless Networking, Voice over IP (VoIP) and other Cloud applications and premises-based always-on technology.
“Many companies, even today, approach IT reactively,” said Keith Studt, president of ITC. “They find themselves relocating offices, going through a merger or downsizing. As the deadlines for these events get closer, they realize they have a need and an opportunity to reassess their IT systems.”
Telephony is at the heart of many of the clients ITC works with. According to Studt, one of the drivers for reassessing their IT platforms is performance — dropped VoIP calls, inconsistent connectivity and, ultimately, lost clients. The ability to have clean and reliable connectivity with resiliency or redundancy is paramount for many of ITC’s customers.
So, ITC turned to SD-WAN to give it a better way to make their clients’ networks more reliable and, for some, more affordable.
“We try to educate our customers that Internet connectivity is the weakest link that causes a problem with Cloud services, whether that’s their voice, email, or CRM. So, if we can enhance that experience, and provide them the connectivity and business continuity, even in the worst of conditions, everybody wins,” Studt said.
And with no two companies’ problems being the same, fixing the needed IT issues requires a team to understand each client’s unique business requirements and design the most effective solutions to address them.
Studt says he has noticed a surprisingly large number of competitors who believe the Cloud means simply plugging a device in and expecting it to work.
“We go into client engagements with a primary goal of understanding what it is we’re trying to accomplish, where they make their money, what it is they do well, and how can we complement that or increase that or help them without changing how they do business,” said Studt. “We show our clients trends and things that they can leverage to help them become more profitable and create an all-around mutual relationship that allows both sides to win.”
Better network visibility gave ITC the data it needed to provide more proactive and higher value service to its customers
“We were losing clients who were using a particular Internet provider in our territory,” Studt said. “And given the rural area we service, there weren’t a lot of other connectivity options. We were stuck.”
Delivering the reliable connectivity required to provide the Cloud solutions their clients needed, ITC knew it had to come up with a better solution.
Deploying Bigleaf’s SD-WAN eliminated the routine performance issues that ITC was having. But it did something even more powerful that the company didn’t anticipate.
“Bigleaf gave us visibility to see when problems were occurring so we could inform the customer and also gave us the quantitative data to be able to point specifically to the carrier causing the issue,” said Studt. “That visibility has been incredibly beneficial to our business and to the service we are able to provide our customers.”
And while ITC can’t stop provider outages from happening, Bigleaf’s SD-WAN allows the company to see them quickly and proactively communicate them to its customers.
“With Bigleaf, we’re able to call customers before they call us,” said Studt. “It’s definitely put us in a place where we have a more intelligent solution than our competitors.”
What used to be chaos has turned into an efficient, upsell advantage for ITC
Before deploying Bigleaf’s SD-WAN, Studt’s team used a chaotic deployment of laptops to track down connectivity issues. Bigleaf’s firewall-friendly on-site router and dedicated backbone network control traffic both to and from the cloud, providing ITC with end-to-end visibility and control.
The move to SD-WAN has given ITC an advantage over competitors and opened opportunities to increase revenue with existing clients.
“We had one client whose circuit was consistently causing 3 hours-long service outages outside of normal business hours,” Studt said. “Nobody knew because, obviously, they weren’t there. But then it started to happen during the day when people were working. Because we had visibility and could pinpoint the problem at the provider, we were able to upsell that client to a much more powerful and profitable enterprise-grade fiber connection.”
Having that visibility into outages means less time chasing outage causes with network providers and less stress for ITC’s small staff and customers.
“It would be great if every site had rich connectivity and redundant connections, but that’s not the reality of today’s Internet,” Studt said. “Being able to provide customers with proactive, quality service because of the visibility Bigleaf provides helps them see the value of what we offer.”