From the President’s Desk
With Summer behind us and the holidays ahead, now is a great time to take another look at the landscape, and assess what, and in many cases who, is working for you and against you.
Businesses of all sizes are looking to leverage technology services to solve problems and bolster performance. And with so many players to choose from, every detail matters – from the start of the discussion to the close of the deal and beyond. There is no room for gaps, which is why it’s critically important to know where you are, where you need to be and who can help you get there.
As many of you know, PlanetOne is big on tracking against key performance indicators, and asking our partners what more can we do to help. We’ve built the measurement and mentality into our day-to-day so we can more easily keep our business and our people focused, accountable, connected and actionable year-round. We take pride in empowering our people to develop relationships that help build the business and generate record recurring revenues and profits.
In an industry where value is easily diluted by volume, PlanetOne continues to invest in the areas that matter most to channel partners: Our people, processes, performance and portfolio. We aren’t chasing shiny objects. Our goals are grounded in leading versus following, and include finding more ways – big or small – to further differentiate and positively disrupt your business. From back office operations to solutions architecture, sales and support services, PlanetOne is ready to teach, enable or get it done for you.
An easy, effective and fun way to see all we can do firsthand is by attending one of our annual face-to-face events. If you’re not already registered for our 2017 Tech Tours, we have three remaining: Newport Beach, Calif., on Sept. 14; Austin, Tex. at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 25 through 27; and of course our big year end event in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 7 and 8. I encourage you to register, attend and ultimately walk away with more insights, more opportunities, more connections and more ways to engage PlanetOne to reach and exceed your goals.
With only a few months left in the year, and so much we can accomplish, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Your success is what motivates us!
Thank you as always for your business. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Lauren Shapiro, President
Partner Success Stories: 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 Connects the Dots for Birch and MicroAge
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
Preferred Provider Spotlight: IntelePeer
Are your customers still using outdated PRIs for their voice communications? Do they have problems with long lead times to increase capacity when business is booming? Are they worried about business continuity in the event of an emergency? If any of these scenarios ring true, it’s probably time to start talking to them about moving to the cloud.
It’s all about SIP
The SIP Trunking market has grown steadily at a rate of 50 percent annually, and anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of enterprises are in some form of SIP migration. While these numbers do represent impressive growth, we will likely see an even more dramatic spike in adoption as enterprises continue to realize significant advantages over traditional PSTN, including cost savings and scalability.
Voice Services from IntelePeer brings high-quality voice and UC tools into the enterprise. Our reliable and flexible SIP service eases the transition to IP-enabled services, simplifies the network and creates significant cost savings. When moving to the cloud with Atmosphere® Voice Services, clients typically reduce telecom spend by 30-50%. Atmosphere® Subscription-based, Voice Bundles includes all the calling features you’ve come to rely on, such as local, long distance and toll-free calling, direct inward dialing (DID), number porting, directory and emergency services (E911). Multiple options make it easy to connect to the IntelePeer network via Over the Top, Private Connection, or MPLS.
Get more from your communications
Communication providers such as IntelePeer have sophisticated communications features built into their network, and they can deliver those features to both your premises and to your cloud communications solutions. With features such as Cloud Routing and IVR built into the network, you can create a consistent experience for your customers across all of your communications.
Personalized Customer Experience
At IntelePeer, we believe our customers deserve the best through the best pricing, ability to customize their solution and getting up and running quickly. When IntelePeer customers call the 24/7 support line, they are immediately connected to an engineer who is trained to solve the problem, whereas most other providers record the issue and call back at a later date. Each customer is assigned to an account manager who has extensive telecommunications experience to assist with day-to-day questions and operations. The company consistently receives high customer satisfaction scores due to the team’s willingness to support customers, no matter what, even beyond issues not related to IntelePeer’s network.
“The redundancy capability, level of support, and quality of IntelePeer’s SIP services is some of the best in the industry, They are a great partner that consistently goes above and beyond for me and my customers. I highly recommend IntelePeer.”
-Steve Morphis, Innovative Telecom Solutions.
PlanetOne Partners can win BIG!
As a PlanetOne partner, not only can you earn competitive monthly recurring commission checks by selling Atmosphere® Voice Services, but you can also qualify for our Double Dip partner SPIF and Private Island Hideaway Contest.
Contact Brandon Warren, Director of Regional Channel Sales, at 720.889.9544 to learn more.
Employee Recognition: Renee Schoedler
At PlanetOne, we love our employees and place tremendous value on the contributions they make each and every day to ensuring both our success and that of our partners. To help you get to know more about our amazing team members, we are putting the spotlight on a different employee in each of our quarterly newsletters.
This quarter, we are excited to be featuring Renee Schoedler, Director of Partner Services, who has been with PlanetOne for eight-and-a-half years. We recently sat down with her to learn more about her role here at PlanetOne, what she likes most about her job, and how she spends her time away from the office.
Q: What did you do prior to joining PlanetOne?
A: Before I joined PlanetOne, was working within the telecom industry in a similar role to what I do now, supporting partners and back-office for two master agents.
Q: What are your day-to-day responsibilities at PlanetOne?
A: I support a large group of strategic partners, helping them with pricing, contracting, order placement and escalations, if needed. The team at PlanetOne knows that I will wear any number of hats to ensure that the transaction in play is a win-win for the partner and for PlanetOne.
Q: What do you like most about your job? Working with PlanetOne?
A: Supporting our partners in helping them achieve success is the one of the most gratifying aspects of my job. However, what makes this the best job ever are the friendships I have made over the years with our partners, and sometimes even their end customers. This alone makes the hard work that we put in day in and day out well worth it! Overall, working with PlanetOne has been an amazing experience, and has given me an opportunity like no other to grow in this industry and to work with some truly remarkable individuals. We all say we are family here and that statement is as true as it gets.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?
A: The thing I love to do most when I’m not at work is to head to the woods and dry camp with family and friends. The quality of time we spend together and the memories we make are what I hold closest to my heart and brings me much happiness.
Q: Do you have a ‘bucket list’?
A: I really haven’t given it much thought. However, if there is one thing I would love to do, it would be to travel and see some of the world we live in. Germany would probably be the first stop on my journey. Maybe someday…
Q: Do you have a favorite saying, mantra or quote?
A: Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.
From the Heart: Food for the Soul
To celebrate our 25th anniversary, PlanetOne launched a program earlier this year 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 proud to highlight the contributions of two of PlanetOne’s team members, Dawn and Maricela. Recently, they spent time volunteering at Dress for Success in Phoenix, where they sorted donated clothing, shoes and accessories and prepared them for distribution. They also helped set up racks and displays for newly donated items, and assisted clients in selecting the perfect outfit for their next interview.
Following their volunteer experience, Dawn and Maricela shared with us that “The smiles that we saw were priceless and the experience was inspiring and empowering to see what a difference a hand-up can mean towards self-sufficiency and a path to a new life.”
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Since 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to more than 150 cities in 27 countries and has helped nearly one million women work towards self-sufficiency. The Phoenix branch alone has dressed more than 6,000 women since January of this year!
For more information on our From the Heart Program, visit https://www.planetone.net/company/fromtheheart/.
Autotask Community Live!
We are looking forward to having the opportunity to network with current and prospective providers and partners during Autotask Community Live! 2017. This is the first time we’ve participated in this annual event. More details to follow.
Channel Partners Evolution
Later this month, PlanetOne will be participating Channel Partners Evolution in Austin, Tex. On Tuesday, Sept. 26 and Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 9am to 3pm, we’ll be hosting poolside meetings with partners and prospects in our private cabana at Azul Rooftop, located at the Westin Austin Downtown. To schedule a meeting, please contact Shawna Hayes at Shawna.Hayes@PlanetOne.net.
PlanetOne 2017 Tech Tour:
Please consider joining us for the PlanetOne 2017 Tech Tour, a series of educational and networking events where you can learn about emerging technologies and industry trends, and gain valuable product information.
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 the chance 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.
Our next 2017 Tech Tour event will take place in Newport Beach on Thursday, September 14 aboard Electra Cruises’ “The Eternity.” This will be followed by our year-end event to be held Nov. 7-8, 2017 at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. and headlined by Chris “Boomer” Berman of ESPN’s SportsCenter.
To register for any of these events, visit https://www.planetone.net/partner-program/2017-tech-tour/. For photos from our most recent Tech Tour event at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn., check out our photo album on Facebook.
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