From the President’s Desk
Summer is around the corner and the mutual success we’re achieving with our partners and Preferred Providers in 2017 is amazing and unprecedented. With multiple high-profile wins under our belt and a series of successful events behind us including three Tech Tours, it’s hard to believe we’re only half way through the year and the best is yet to come!
The excitement around our industry is sky high and for good reason. The cloud-first mentality and ongoing security needs within the midmarket and enterprise are filling our pipelines with business-building opportunities and mega deals around managed connectivity, collaboration, data center, mobile, voice and SD-WAN. So much so that our cloud practice now represents nearly 50% of our sales and is attracting more providers to PlanetOne including Aryaka, Datapipe, Global Capacity, RapidScale, RingCentral, TPx Communications (formerly TelePacific) and Verizon.
To keep the momentum building, we’ve invested more resources into our Tech Tour to raise the bar and deliver to you even greater business value in return. Our Newport Beach event for example was simply incredible and we have the video to prove it. And our most recent stop at the Arrowhead Golf Course in Colorado lived up to PlanetOne’s #WorkHardPlayHard philosophy with hard-hitting business discussions and breathtaking views of The Rocky Mountains. If you’re on Facebook, check out our photo album – simply amazing views, relevant discussions and contagious energy around the entire event!
If you haven’t made it yet to a PlanetOne Tech Tour, there are four more in play for 2017. Next up is the Foxwoods Casino and Resort in Connecticut June 6 and 7, click here to register. This will be followed by our second Newport Beach event on Sept. 21 and our debut at the CompTIA ChannelCon event in Austin, Tex., July 31 through Aug. 2. Also, check out our 2017 incentive programs here!
Everywhere you look, there’s so much going on and so much more to do, that on behalf of our entire team, I want to pause for a moment and say “thank you.” Thank you for your business, your friendship and your inspiration. We are motivated to not only win, but win big, and truly believe success is best shared. That’s why as president of PlanetOne, I want you to know that if there’s ever anything more we can do to help build your business and scale your success, please call on us.
We’re here for you. Thank you as always and cheers to a great second half of the year!
Lauren Shapiro, President
Partner Success Stories: Sky Technology Partners and Masergy
Customer: Catalogic Software
Global Headquarters: Woodcliff Lake, NJ with offices in the United Kingdom and Germany
Specializations: In-Place Copy Data Management solutions
Partner: Sky Technology Partners
Headquarters: Totowa, NJ
Year Founded: 2011
Key Markets/Verticals Served: Telecom procurement, carrier management, IT consulting and other services for a wide range of vertical industries and markets
Specializations: Data, voice, Internet, cloud services, wireless and fiber optics
“What’s great about Masergy is its cost competitiveness and high level of flexibility and manageability we gain over the voice network as a result of Masergy’s intelligent routing technologies.”
– James Farrell, IT Director, Catalogic Software
Software Company Regains Control Over Global Communications Network with Masergy
Recommended to Catalogic Software by Sky Technology Partners, a PlanetOne partner, Masergy hit the ground running, simplifying the firm’s UC service management with a flexible and scalable solution that provides greater visibility and operational control
Digital transformation is one of the hottest trending topics today. You’d be hard pressed not to find an IT organization that isn’t thinking about, or hasn’t already begun deploying cloud services as a way to solve their most pressing business challenges. One of these companies is Catalogic Software.
No stranger to the cloud, this leading provider of In-Place Copy Data Management solutions, was looking to leverage recent advances in cloud communication technology to gain control over its global communications network and unified communications (UC) services. Being hosted on a shared multi-tenant on-premise PBX system, Catalogic Software was confined to legacy systems that hampered growth. They needed to move to a more modern and flexible communication platform that was cost effective and easy to administer.
To identify a solution that would meet these requirements, while also providing seamless global connectivity, standardized local service and 24/7 support with high-quality customer service, Catalogic Software tapped into the expertise of its solution provider, Sky Technology Partners.
Catalogic Software Checks All the Boxes with Masergy
Recognizing the need was immediate, Sky Technology Partners called on Jonathan Hartman, VP of Sales for its master agent PlanetOne Communications, who helped them to determine that Masergy’s portfolio of cloud communications solutions would be the best fit. “Catalogic Software had four priorities when in selecting a new global connectivity solution,” said Robert Betz, President, Sky Technology Partners. “We wanted to recommend a solution that would fulfill all of its requirements, and Masergy was at the top of that list.”
Key features that Catalogic Software was looking for in their cloud communications solution included:
- Global Coverage. Catalogic Software needed a solution that would support in-country calling for hundreds of countries around the globe and enable virtual numbers, while simplifying UC service management and performance through real-time visibility and analytics.
- Flexibility. Scalability was important to Catalogic Software and they wanted the ability to make changes and increase or decrease capacity on demand as circumstances changed. They also wanted the flexibility to add new technologies and services as needed based on demand.
- Functionality. In its cloud communications solution, Catalogic Software was looking for an enterprise-class UC system, call center, call analytics, call recording, APIs, intelligent SIP trunking and hybrid solutions.
- Cost. Sensitive to price, Catalogic Sofware sought out a solution that was cost-competitive.
“It was a tall order, but Masergy checked all the boxes and more,” continued Betz.
Flexibility and Quick Deployment Position Masergy as a True Partner
To seal the deal for Masergy with Catalogic Software, Sky Technology Partners collaborated with Hartman and PlanetOne in the development of a proposal that included deploying the Masergy cloud communication solution more quickly and with greater ease than its competitors could achieve. “The final decision for us came down to Masergy’s flexibility,” said James Farrell, IT Director, Catalogic Software. “We were incredibly impressed with their offering, and their ability to deploy the solution very quickly. We knew that they would be the true partner we were looking for to collaborate with us on our emerging business need for a more robust global communications network”
Farrell added, “We couldn’t have asked for a faster or smoother deployment. Both Masergy and Sky Technology Partners provided outstanding levels of customer service and support during the entire process, making sure all of our business requirements were met.”
Robust Portfolio of Solutions Offers Cost Competitiveness, Ease of Management and Improves ROI
As part of the cloud communications solution deployed at Catalogic Software, Masergy provided the company with a Global Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) phone system, collaboration solutions including audio and video conferencing, Internet access, a new Intelligent SIP Trunking solution, and new private lines, all within 40 days from signing the contract to implement the solution.
“What we like most about Masergy is its cost competitiveness, the high level of flexibility and control that we now have, as well as their ability to manage our voice network better than our previous solution provider due to their intelligent routing technologies,” said Farrell.
He added, “Our previous provider had been charging us a monthly fee which included our portion of their system hardware, software maintenance costs, partner and contractor fees and staff administration. When evaluating the various providers, Masergy’s overall monthly pricing was less than what we were paying for our previous on-premises system and included a number of benefits and features that that were not available with that solution including 5Mb MPLS for voice and backup Internet; managed routers and other support equipment; all desk, conference room and analog phone equipment; and conference bridge services. Essentially, Masergy provided everything we needed for the MPLS and UCaaS systems, without any additional fees.”
As far as future plans go, Farrell said, “We are very happy with the Masergy solution and are planning to scale it to align with our company growth, adding additional features as the need arises. In the coming year, we may explore call center services as well as the expansion of our conference bridge services. Additionally, there may also be an opportunity to extend our MPLS access worldwide as our company continues to expand its operations.”
Lauren Shapiro, president, PlanetOne Communications said, “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Masergy, having earned Platinum partner status five years in a row as one of their top-performing growth partners. Their impressive portfolio and commitment to ensuring an exceptional customer experience, enables solution providers like Sky Technology Partners to grow their businesses by capitalizing on the demand for managed networking and cloud communications services. We are proud to have had the opportunity to work alongside Masergy and Sky Technology Partners in ensuring a smooth pre-sales and post-sales experience for Catalogic.”
Preferred Provider Spotlight: Mitel
Knowing where to turn for one high power introduction to the right provider is sometimes all it takes for a channel partner to win big and replicate success. It’s been a little over a year since IT solutions provider DisruptiveTek (formerly known as Advanced Business Communications, Inc.) was first introduced to Mitel by PlanetOne Communications, its preferred master agent. Flashback to one of their recent wins, and it’s easy to see why DisruptiveTek now leads with Mitel, always teams with PlanetOne, and adopted the Mitel technology in-house.
Making the Case for a Modern Phone System
One of the more recent deals that DisruptiveTek closed with PlanetOne and Mitel was for a budget-conscious customer in the financial services industry with multiple branch locations and the need for a more modern, reliable and easy-to-manage phone system. This was not the first win for the two companies, but it is definitely the largest one Mitel has had with DisruptiveTek thus far.
“Some of the challenges the customer was experiencing were related to ensuring backup and disaster recovery when their phone systems went down,” said Andrew Harris, President and CTO, DisruptiveTek. “Another pain point was the time they were spending managing multiple phone systems in place at their headquarters and across more than a dozen branch locations.”
The financial services firm didn’t want to resort to a costly rip-and-replace scenario, and during a discussion with DisruptiveTek, asked for recommendations on alternative approaches to modernizing its phone system. “We offered up several of our providers, including Mitel,” continued Harris. On the table for consideration was Mitel’s MiCloud Business Cloud Communications Solution with Contact Center.
“We selected MiCloud Business Cloud Communications Solution with Contact Center because of its ease-of-use, scalability and incredible value proposition which includes increasing efficiencies and improving the productivity of the customer’s IT staff and employees.”
– Andrew Harris, President and CTO, DisruptiveTek.
Key features gained from using MiCloud Business Cloud Communications Solution with Contact Center included multiple auto-attendants at each branch that were individualized based on the location and connected across the financial services entire operations. Additionally, the financial services firm benefited from the 4-digit dialing capabilities for internal calls, centralized answering functionality and simultaneous ringing.
“Having the full support of the Mitel team when it comes to adding and removing users and taking advantage of the other features and capabilities provided by MiCloud Business Cloud Communications Solution with Contact Center, was a great benefit for the customer and one of the key reasons we continue to work with Mitel,” added Harris.
Adding more success to the sale was a special promotion Mitel brought to the attention of DisruptiveTek. “Our customer wasn’t planning to replace their desk phones, but thanks to a limited time promotion offered by Mitel, we were able to provide them with free desk phones as part of their MiCloud Business solution,” said Harris.
“We love working with the teams at Mitel and PlanetOne because they are reliable, have incredible follow-through, and do a lot of the legwork when it comes to helping us close deals,” said Michael Howard, CEO, DisruptiveTek. “Together, Mitel and PlanetOne offer an unmatched level of service both pre- and post-sale. The bottom line is both companies are fully engaged, and that is why we continue to place our trust in them.”
DisruptiveTek has so much faith in Mitel that it also adopted the Mitel solutions in its own business. “We have the option to use a free phone system, but choose to pay for the Mitel solution because it works, and mitigates many of the challenges we ourselves face as business owners when it comes to providing communication systems that improve the efficiency and productivity of our employees,” said Howard.
Employee Recognition: Christi Clark
We are immensely proud of the PlanetOne team and value the contributions that each and every one of our employees makes in driving our success and that of our partners. To help you get to know our amazing team, we are putting the spotlight on a different employee in each of our quarterly newsletters.
This quarter, we are excited to be featuring Christi Clark, Director of Client Services, who has been with PlanetOne almost nine years, having joined the team in November 2008. We recently sat down with Christi to learn more about her role here at PlanetOne, what she likes most about working with us and our partners, and things she enjoys doing most in her spare time.
Q: What did you do prior to joining PlanetOne in 2008?
A: I spent nine years working for a Toshiba PBX vendor, and prior to that I was in financial services. I’ve had three jobs my entire life – all wonderful companies and people, and I feel truly blessed.
Q: What are your day-to-day responsibilities at PlanetOne?
A: I’m dedicated to partner support, which includes facilitating resources between vendors and partners. Essentially, I make sure the vendors are responding to quote requests, orders, escalations, etc. I also watch partner orders to ensure the experience is as smooth as possible. And while it’s not part of my official job description, I will often get called on to take care of handyman duties in the Scottsdale office!
Q: What do you like most about your job? Working with PlanetOne?
A: I love coming to work and having my day filled with communications between me and my partners whom I love so much! I greatly respect my partners and their passion to ensuring that their end clients are getting what they need. It truly is a team effort and we are all here to make it the best experience possible for the end client.
My favorite part about working for PlanetOne really is the ability to work independently – they have placed such great trust in my abilities, and I’m grateful for that! I also love the people, and it’s a pleasure having the opportunity to work with likeminded folks who care about our company and genuinely want to do right by our partners. It’s often hard to find this type of environment today because honesty, hard work and integrity aren’t always top priorities. I can tell you that 100% of the PlanetOne team not only has a tremendous work ethic, they take great pride in maintaining our outstanding reputation and ensuring that we stay on top.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?
A: I love working around the house doing personal chores and fixing things. We recently moved to a new home, so there is a lot to do in getting settled in and making it our own. I also like helping my daughter and all my friends with their chores since I have all the tools and “know-how” with which some of them have not been blessed.
Q: Do you have a ‘bucket list’?
No – I am very boring and I have no “must dos” that most would consider to be fun. Don’t get me wrong – when I get an opportunity to go on a real vacation I do have fun once I get there – but it’s just not something I long for in life. What I really like to do is accomplish things, projects, home improvements and helping others with projects or even house chores so I can stand back and see what I have completed. The satisfaction of completing a task or project is my “must have” to survive.
Q: Do you have a favorite saying, mantra or quote?
A: Be kind and loving every day and don’t prejudge folks based on the opinions of others. Focus on the good, not the bad in people. Make your own opinions and look for the good in all people because everyone has something that is good about them.
Q: What is your favorite song?
A: I guess my favorite song would be a tie between “Much Too Young, To Feel This Damn Old” by Garth brooks and “Dream Big” by Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand.
From the Heart: Food for the Soul
To celebrate our 25th anniversary, PlanetOne launched a program to help our community with charitable actions that come “From the Heart.” As part of this program, each employee was given $250 to go forth and make the world a better place.
This quarter, we are giving a shout-out to three members of Team PlanetOne, Christi Clarke, Karen Carver and Tobey Schollmeyer, who went above and beyond the call of duty, not only donating their funds but also volunteering their time to the Feed My Starving Children Organization in Arizona. Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children.
As volunteers with the non-profit, Christi, Karen and Tobey were selected for the MannaPack labeling shift. MannaPacks are plastic pouches of food shipped to countries around the world for children in need. They contain rice, soy, vitamins and dried vegetables. Once they arrive at their destination the MannaPacks are boiled with the cleanest water that can be found, and then fed to children who are starving or malnourished. Together, Team PlanetOne packed a total of 98 boxes, which will feed more than 26,000 children. Go team!
Click here to read more about Team PlanetOne’s “From the Heart” project at Feed My Starving Children, and learn what a memorable and heart-warming experience it was for our volunteers.
For more information on our From the Heart Program, visit https://www.planetone.net/company/fromtheheart/.
CompTIA ChannelCon 2017
Later this summer, PlanetOne will be participating in CompTIA ChannelCon, taking place July 31 through August 2 at the JW Marriott in Austin, Tex. This is the first time that PlanetOne will be participating as an exhibitor at this conference. We are looking forward to having the opportunity to network with current and prospective providers and partners at this annual event that connects the industry’s leading solution providers, vendors, distributors, IT professionals and media.
PlanetOne 2017 Tech Tour:
Please consider joining us for the PlanetOne 2017 Tech Tour, a series of educational and networking events where attendees can learn about emerging technologies and industry trends, and gain valuable product information. Check out our photo album on Facebook from our most recent Tech Tour event at Arrowhead Golf Resort in Denver, Colo.
Each Tech Tour stop features speakers from PlanetOne’s 2017 Preferred Providers, creating opportunities for valuable engagement with some of highest regarded executives in the industry, along with opportunities to win prizes and receive gift packages.
Exclusive to PlanetOne agents, prospective channel partners and our Preferred Providers, there is no cost to attend and meals are complimentary. The following is a list of our upcoming tour dates:
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