For this SD-WAN in Action, we’re joined by Advantel Networks, a Bigleaf partner who has been delivering leading integrated voice and data solutions to clients around the world since 1984. Along with traditional voice solutions, VoIP, and Security, several of Advantel’s customers look to them for Contact Center solutions.
As is the case with other communications technologies, many of those Contact Center customers are looking to make a move to a cloud-based solution. We asked Advantel’s Director of Contact Center and Business applications, Loganathan “Loga” Sivasundaram and their Senior Account Manager Cloud and Network Services, Rick Giesea, to talk about the success that they’ve seen in helping his customers make a move to cloud-based Contact Center as-a-Service (CCaaS) solutions and the role that SD-WAN plays in their customers’ CCaaS deployments.
So, what’s driving the demand for CCaaS among your customers?
Loga: We have several large to medium-large enterprises for whom customer experience and customer journey mapping is a critical competency. For a good majority of them, Contact Center solutions aren’t just about customer service, but also customer acquisition on the front end. We see this a lot in the retail space with large online retailers and manufacturers. They are constantly challenged with the question of how much of my technology do I keep in-house versus more flexible cloud-based options.
I would imagine this is where CCaaS comes into your discussions with them.
Loga: Absolutely. For these companies, it’s about managing call load and unforecasted or seasonal traffic volumes. To do that, they are looking at people like us who can help them build the seasonal infrastructure they need.
But it’s more than building infrastructure. They don’t want to put a lot of capex into technology that’s only needed for a small period of time. Timing is of the essence. They need options available when it is least expected.
The elasticity of cloud-based services is essential for our customers to allow them to scale up and scale back down as needed. We’re able to jump in to put the technology services in front without them having to alter their existing business process or culture. Continuity is critical.
When you look at your customer landscape, are there specific events that trigger the decision to move to the cloud for things like CC?
Loga: Primarily it’s volume. Everybody operates at a threshold. For some it’s volume. For others it’s cost. When they hit their limit, that’s when they make that first call for the cloud.
Loga: Sometimes it’s just time and effort. A little bit of it is culture, too.
If I take this technology outside of my organization, will I lose control? Will I lose people?
The truth is they don’t lose control. It just requires their existing team to manage those new services in the cloud. There’s a shift in how that team’s expertise is put to use.
How does connectivity manifest itself in this move to the cloud?
Rick: Traditionally, when you look at an organizational WAN topology, services used to be centralized either at the customer or in an outside data center. You operated on MPLS and everything was secure over that WAN, and it was somewhat easy to manage. Now with organizations moving services to the cloud and relying on the public internet, that’s where issues arise. How good is my internet connection? Do I need a backup connection? How do I ensure connection quality? That’s where SD-WAN and Bigleaf come into play.
70 percent of our customers have a distributed geographic footprint. In the Bay Area, it’s a fiber-rich market. Good internet is generally available. But when you look at other areas of the country where people are relying on a broadband connection for all of their business communications, that’s where the quality of the internet isn’t so great. It creates problems.
That distributed footprint must add operational as well as technical complexity.
Rick: We and others like Bigleaf specifically because Bigleaf’s SD-WAN is carrier agnostic. Especially with the types of customers we have that are distributed across multiple locations in different regions with different providers. Bigleaf’s ability to connect to a diverse world of services is a huge differentiator.
As contact centers are no longer only phone calls, a lot of times doing chat or email, that must add to the complexity.
Loga: It does. It’s also the most significant focal point for organizations that tie revenue to call center performance. CCaaS is one of our primary areas of focus. SD-WAN is a must-have part of the conversation.
Rick: Bigleaf is an excellent fit for these customers because it can automatically identify the different kinds of traffic, even from a single CCaaS provider, and ensure that it’s prioritized correctly. As companies continue to move these kinds of technologies to the cloud, that prioritization is key to ensuring a successful rollout, enthusiastic adoption and, most importantly, successful customers.
A big thanks to Loga, Rick and the whole Advantel team for sharing their expertise and insight.