PlanetOne Connects the Dots for Birch and MicroAge
Company Name: MicroAge
Headquarters: Tempe, Ariz.
Year Founded: 1976
Key Markets/Verticals Served: Healthcare, Financial Services, Legal, Education, Retail, Construction, Entertainment, Manufacturing, State and Local Government
Specializations: Data Center, Virtualization, Cloud, Disaster Recovery, Networking, Storage, Security, Mobility, Telecom, Software, Power and Cooling
PlanetOne is always looking to create win/win relationships between their partners and vendors. By understanding each of its partner’s business goals, as well and the strengths of their vendors, they are able to make insightful recommendations that align their partners with the right vendor – at just the right time.
One such example is the connection PlanetOne made between their partner MicroAge and Birch that led to a big win.
MicroAge is a successful, national VAR that until recently focused on selling and servicing equipment. After making the decision to expand their business, and with some help from PlanetOne, MicroAge has quickly and strategically grown to provide a total telecom, IT, and cloud network solution for their customers.
PlanetOne recently recommended that Birch participate in a MicroAge Showcase and Lunch & Learns to help them gain visibility and educate the MicroAge team on the Birch offering.
It was during a Supplier Showcase that MicroAge was first introduced to Birch, a leading provider of managed voice services including POTS, UCCaaS, and VoIP. PlanetOne chose Birch as their POTS provider for the Supplier Showcase because of their proven ability to deliver their solution to the end user customer, make billing seamless, service a nationwide footprint, and their ability to aggregate multiple providers. After hearing what Birch had to offer, MicroAge thought of an opportunity that could be a perfect fit.
The customer owns several well-known Mexican casual dining chains with 84 locations in the US. Corporate IT is responsible for all network procurement and management, and had been tasked with modernizing the network, simplifying management, and saving money.
MicroAge had just finished replacing their phone system that was long-past its end-of-life date, and was costing them more than $1200 per month in used parts on eBay just to maintain, with a hybrid hosted PBX with the equipment located on-premise at the main location. This hub-and-spoke architecture led to a conversation about connectivity, and MicroAge helped implement SD-WAN to ensure the voice quality and optimize their network.
All of the customer’s needs had been met except there remained nearly 200 ancillary POTS lines spread across their locations, on disparate suppliers and invoices. After learning more about what Birch had to offer during the Supplier Showcase, MicroAge was confident they would be able to leverage Birch as part of the total connectivity solution, consolidating those lines into one supplier and invoice to reduce the time they were spending managing the network, while at the same time creating a significant cost savings.
MicroAge was able to engage Birch to do the heavy lifting. After gathering all of the current invoices, Birch worked to establish an inventory of active and billing lines. This inventory was reconciled with their actual locations and CSRs were pulled. Birch used this information to create an accurate proposal that MicroAge presented to the customer.
With an estimated 29% savings for a simple billing change that would be fully managed by Birch, the customer called it a “no-brainer”.
Once the customer signed, Birch project managed the conversion led by their dedicated Elite Gold Team. The conversion was seamless and fast, lasting only 6 weeks. There was no disruption in service and 100% of the lines were able to be converted. After onboarding, the Gold Elite Team did a first-invoice review to ensure accuracy and, because of their rate guarantee, that they achieved the savings they were originally proposed.
The customer was extremely happy with MicroAge for cleaning up the last bit of their network that hadn’t been converted in such a quick and orderly way. While POTS lines had been a costly and time consuming part of their network in the past, Birch managed to consolidate, simplify, and reduce the costs considerably; over a $30K savings per year, or 29% based on their previous provider.* The time their small IT team spent managing the POTS lines each month was greatly reduced, enabling them to focus on their core tasks.
The customer is expecting to nearly double their number of locations in the coming years, but with Birch as their single-source provider they can easily grow without worrying about finding local providers and managing a complex process of ordering lines, reconciling invoices, and juggling different support processes. They can also be confident they will get consistent and aggressive pricing with Birch.
MicroAge is in the process of reaching out to their other customers to discuss the cost savings and consolidation that Birch can offer. It’s low-hanging fruit, low-risk, and their confidence in their new POTS provider, Birch, couldn’t be higher.
Birch is part of PlanetOne’s Preferred Vendor Portfolio today, and PlanetOne plans to continue driving partners to Birch. They find great of value in the products and services Birch offers, and the engagement model has led to huge success for their partners so far.
*Saving based on current provider invoices compared to Birch pricing on a 3 year term that started June 2017