An Epic Year
It’s time to celebrate the Season and get ready for the New Year. Words cannot express how thankful the entire PlanetOne team is for your partnership and continued support.
Over the last 25 years, we’ve built this business with you and for you. You’ve inspired our team to work harder and play harder. Together, we have inked record deals, solved countless business challenges and led the industry by raising the bar, and closing several others!
It’s truly been an epic year of partnership, explosive growth and good times. Our future is promising and our pipeline is full. As you heard during our closing 2017 Tech Tour in Scottsdale, it’s PRIME TIME for PlanetOne and our partners. We will continue to disrupt this industry and over deliver on our promise to be more than a master agent.
As you reflect on your business and plan for the New Year, please don’t hesitate to give me or a member of my team a call. Success is best shared and if you haven’t heard me say it before, our team is your team. As a PlanetOne partner, you are part of our family.
Thank you for your friendship, partnership and support over the years. I am so thankful and inspired by all we’ve accomplished together. It’s hard to believe this all started with a loan from my father, a two-page business plan hand-written on a legal pad and a relentless focus on your success.
Cheers to a great holiday season and Happy New Year!
Ted Schuman, Founder/CEO
Partner Success Stories: RapidScale and IPStack
Company Name: IPStack Technologies
Headquarters: Latham, New York
Year Founded: 2002
IPStack is focused on helping clients identify the resources needed to fill the “expertise gap” when it comes to network and cloud migration, security, compliance, management and support. Dave Cafaro and Suzanne Kennedy lead the executive team, both bringing over 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications space.
Dave and Suzanne had been working hard to identify and implement a cloud deal for about a year prior to this one, after deciding to transition from focusing primarily on network services to cloud service offerings.
RapidScale’s Northeast Partner Experience Manager, Matt Coso, had a longstanding relationship with Dave and Suzanne, but had yet to engage with them since joining the RapidScale team. In June 2016, Matt called Dave to re-engage and update him on the new position.
Soon after, IPStack uncovered an opportunity in the manufacturing space thanks to a key referral from a sales colleague. They knew it was a massive opportunity and wanted to bring in the provider that would best fit the customer environment.
As well as the IPStack team knew Matt, they still weren’t familiar with RapidScale and needed to gain further knowledge before engaging their team with the customer. That September, RapidScale’s Senior Vice President of Technology, Duane Barnes, flew to New York to join Matt and complete a half-day whiteboard session, walking Dave and Suzanne through RapidScale’s background and solution offerings. This instilled the confidence IPStack needed to introduce RapidScale to the prospect.
The customer is a Northeast-based lumber manufacturer with 420 users and 21 locations. The manufacturer had a 420-user Citrix desktop platform with IBM that was being managed by an MSP and had nagging technical issues, as well as multiple in-house servers they were struggling to manage while growing at a rapid pace. They were also due for a Microsoft Exchange renewal, which was expiring in January 2017. The customer wanted to offload as many workloads as possible to enable their limited IT staff to leverage technology and drive innovation and revenue. Dealing with multiple vendors had become tedious and caused frustration due to limited support and projects not being completed in a timely manner. Ultimately, the customer sought a partnership that could accomplish consolidating infrastructure and taking ownership of their entire IT footprint, strategy and management.
Once IPStack engaged the customer and vetted RapidScale, they were able to set up a joint customer meeting a week and a half later. This initial on-site meeting brought to light clear synergies between the customer environment and RapidScale’s core competencies and value. The first spark flew from the discussion surrounding the customer’s upcoming Exchange renewal, as RapidScale introduced their Hosted Exchange offering, CloudMail. The process flew from there.
The manufacturer revealed they wanted to complete initial implementations by January 2017, as they had to move off of certain platforms and were eager to improve their environment. They had even experienced such unreliable support that they were willing to move away from an incomplete three-year contract, which RapidScale helped remediate.
RapidScale began to build a solution that would fix the customer’s key issues and consolidate services, while also uncovering some key areas for massive cost savings and adding 24x7x365 support. During a second on-site customer meeting, RapidScale presented the first draft of the proposal.
The following meetings consisted of tweaking the final proposal and engagement with more members of RapidScale’s team. During this time, the customer also completed thorough due diligence. They spoke to RapidScale senior management, including spending an hour on the phone with CEO Randy Jeter to confirm their business model, structure and expertise, and contacted 12 references.
IPStack remained heavily involved throughout the entire process, playing the valuable role of the trusted advisors. The customer constantly looked to them for guidance, trusting Dave and Suzanne to recommend a reliable provider and solution set.
Just one month after the initial proposal was drafted, the deal closed.
The final solution included taking over the 420 desktops with RapidScale’s CloudDesktop offering. This very large support pain point was resolved with RapidScale’s team of on-staff certified Citrix engineers that the manufacturer now has direct access to. RapidScale also replaced the majority of existing Microsoft licenses with SPLA, Office 365 and Citrix licenses that resulted in $207,000 annual savings. CloudMail replaced the customer’s existing email service, consolidating the server environment by 42 percent. The RapidScale solution resolved 100 percent of the pain points, claimed complete ownership of the environment, and freed the IT team from ongoing, nagging, reactionary issues. Instead, the customer’s IT team can focus on more innovative initiatives and projects that drive profitability for the company.
Almost a year later, the customer expressed new pain due to slow connectivity. They were looking to move away from their existing MPLS network. They had private connectivity with one MPLS circuit, which was slow and unreliable. They faced challenges with network reliability, speed, resiliency and future network migration. The customer wanted an SD-WAN solution to integrate with the existing MPLS network and allow for future decommissioning of MPLS in favor of DIA. They also wanted integration with their newly implemented CloudDesktop solution. IPStack recommended bringing in RapidScale once again due to their proven success, robust capabilities and continued support.
With RapidScale’s new SD-WAN offering, the customer is able to aggregate multiple broadband connections to provide more capacity, resiliency, and a higher quality of service applications. They reduced expensive circuits by leveraging lower-cost broadband. The SD-WAN solution also allows the customer to be vendor agnostic with their connectivity, giving them flexibility to choose the lowest cost and/or best provider available as pricing and options change going forward. RapidScale added value with always-on reliability, network upgrade cost avoidance, consolidation of network devices and future proofing the network.
This recent addition has made the lumber manufacturer a $65,831 MRR customer.
IPStack and RapidScale are now in new conversations with the customer around disaster recovery and UCaaS, and the manufacturer is heavily leaning on the RapidScale team for guidance on complementary UCaaS recommendations. While this product is not part of RapidScale’s solution set, IPStack has worked hard to remain hand-in-hand with the managed cloud provider while working on all other aspects of the customer environment.
RapidScale continues to win by being in front of customers, white boarding, hand holding and demonstrating their value. RapidScale is easy to do business with and 100 percent partner focused with no direct sales team. They offer customers full management, 24x7x365 reliable, live support and white-glove service.
RapidScale is part of PlanetOne’s Preferred Provider Portfolio.
Preferred Provider Spotlight: CenturyLink
Use Case: CenturyLink Teams with a CCA Partner to Deploy Purple-Enabled Location-Based Applications and Cisco/Meraki Wi-Fi
Customer Profile: Large entertainment company that owns several themes parks, and whose mission is to create a unique, memorable, and rewarding visitor experience.
Challenge: To keep up with other hospitality and theme park entertainment groups, the company was in the process of revamping one of its parks, and wanted to understand how to provide visitors with a better experience, while at the same time deploying location-based notification marketing.
Solution: CenturyLink and its Channel Alliance partner (CCA) deployed Cisco/Meraki Wi-Fi combined with Purple-enabled web splash page and location-based applications to supply guests with park and resort services information, as well as special event and ride notifications via their mobile devices. For example, theme park guests now can hold their place in a “virtual line” using a mobile application that pinpoints where they are in the park and drives location specific promotions via CenturyLink to their device.
How the partner succeeded in winning this deal: The CCA partner helped to vet the requirements, managed the account strategy, and conveyed the pricing considerations that allowed CenturyLink to select the appropriate solution and service contract. The partner then reached out to CenturyLink early on with engineering support to help bring in the needed overlay teams. Next, that team worked closely with both the partner and customer to ensure the solution met their needs and addressed the challenges they were facing.
As a result of the deployment, visitors to this theme park now have a higher level of interaction with the park through their mobile devices including access to information on upcoming events, marketing specific to their location within the park, and tips on how to navigate the park. Additionally, wait times have been reduced.
Channel partners, this is a great example of why it is important to ask about all aspects of a company’s business, and know that CenturyLink is here to help. Not only do we have one of the industry’s broadest solution portfolios – from SD-WAN to security to location-based solutions to big data, we also offer engineering support and overlays that can do the heavy-lifting on the technical side when needed.
Employee Recognition: Maricela Contreras
At PlanetOne, we are incredibly proud and value the contributions our employees 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 and talented team members, we are putting the spotlight on a different employee in each of our quarterly newsletters.
This quarter, we are thrilled to be featuring Maricela Contreras, Partner Services Manager. Maricela has been with PlanetOne for seven-and-a-half years, having joined our team in April 2010. 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 coming to PlanetOne?
A: My background is in telecom and prior to joining PlanetOne, I held administrative assistant and accounting roles for several large companies. What I have found since coming to PlanetOne is that no one treats employees like Ted does. He is an amazing and kind boss, and I’m very proud to be a part of the PlanetOne team.
Q: As Partner Services Manager, what are your day-to-day responsibilities at PlanetOne?
A: My primary responsibility is to secure quotes from our partners. I procure the paperwork, contracts and whatever documentation is needed to support both our partners and providers during the quoting process.
Q: What do you like most about your job? Working with PlanetOne?
A: What I love most about my job is getting an early start at 5am each day – I can accomplish so much in the early hours in the morning! I also enjoy my co-workers here at PlanetOne, and working with our partners and our providers, who make my job so easy. One of the other things that I love about PlanetOne is the incredible work ethic and a team-player mentality – everyone gets along both at work and outside of work. Over the years, I’ve formed an incredible bond with the team here at PlanetOne, and I know that I can always count on them to help me get the job done, whatever that job may be.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?
A: I would have to say making salsa for my friends and family is high on that list. I also enjoy off-roading with my boyfriend – we have an ATV, and watching and helping him restore his 1941 Ford pickup truck.
Q: Do you have a ‘bucket list’? What are some of the things you would want to do if time or money were no object?
A: I would love to be able to travel more and visit Hawaii and Alaska – two places I have never been to but would love to explore.
Q: Do you have a favorite saying, mantra or quote?
A: Where there is a will, there is a way. Never give up – success does not come without persistence.
From the Heart: Seal Beach Clean Up
The final “From the Heart” project for 2017 was a beach clean-up project that the PlanetOne Irvine office participated in during November. Kristen Cunningham and Eric Cooke, along with Eric’s nine-year-old son Cooper, pitched in to do their part for the environment by volunteering with Save Our Beach in Seal Beach, Calif.
With 3.5 million tons of trash currently floating around in the Pacific Ocean, and 40 tons of debris washing up on our beaches every year, 260 species of sea life are now known to ingest the non-biodegradable plastic materials that have been discarded around the globe. This is why it is important that we take the time to clean up our beaches – our oceans and sea life depend on the help we provide.
Save our Beach is a Southern California nonprofit organization founded 18 years ago. Their mission is to educate individuals, companies, schools and organizations on how their environmental footprint impacts our community and the world. Save Our Beach hosts environmental field trips, beach and riverbed cleanups and team building activities.
PlanetOne 2018 Tech Tour:
Please join us for the PlanetOne 2018 Tech Tour, a series of educational and networking events where you can learn about emerging technologies and industry trends, and gain valuable market insights.
Each Tech Tour stop will feature speakers from PlanetOne’s 2018 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.
The following is the schedule of PlanetOne Tech Tour events currently planned for 2018:
Channel Partners 2018
In The News