Ask the Experts: Integrating New UCaaS Technologies

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about the Cisco platform and integrating new UCaaS technologies with WestIP’s Director of Channel Operations Wade Wing. Find out more about designing a complete solution for customers that integrates with new UCaaS technologies from Wade and the WestIP team here:

Andrew: Okay, guys. Time to jump into another Ask the Experts session. We’ve invited to the studios here Wade Wing, who’s the Director of Channel Operations for WestIP, a long time supplier of us in the UCaaS space. Wade, you’ve been in these studios before, my friend—in person and now you’re here virtually. Pretty cool, huh?
Wade: Yeah. Seeing both aspects.
Andrew: There you go. Welcome. Glad to have you here. Hey, we wanted to ask you a quick question about this whole conversation we’ve been having about softswitch architecture. Bottom line, what are the elements that go into a service provider’s data center that is providing UCaaS services to end-user customers? You guys have a really unique platform. You’ve been committed to the Cisco platform since your inception many, many years ago. I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk about why Cisco; and specifically what are the elements that go into your network that may be different from another UCaaS provider; and how does your network architecture play into that strategy? I know that’s a big part of your play. Why don’t you speak to that real quick.
Wade: Absolutely. We’ve been very focused around Cisco for a long time. It’s been part of what we do. Even since inception back in 2000. When we opened the doors—or opened the organization, that was prior to HCS—but even then we pretty much standardized on Cisco gear at the client premise, so routers, switches, handsets, a lot of big Cisco gear within our platform. Edge routers, that sort of thing. We had an offering prior to HCS. When Cisco came to market with hosted collaboration solution, it just made perfect sense for us to incorporate it in our overall platform. We’ve quickly become Cisco’s number one HCS provider in the marketplace. About a third of all the deployed seats today in the commercial segment are on WestIP solution set, and we’ve been named their cloud provider of the year for the last couple of years running.
You’re right. We’ve made a big investment there and we feel pretty solid, pretty comfortable with that investment. We’re comfortable with that investment because Cisco gear has always been very accepted, proven technology in the enterprise space. They’re pushing forward very strong in deploying new UCaaS technologies. We feel there’s a niche for us in that midsize enterprise space that we service so well, to take that technology and help those companies integrate it to their business processes, integrate it to other technologies they may be using—whether they’re Cisco based or not—and manage it for them on a day-to-day basis. That kind of speaks a little bit to why we have such a focus on Cisco.
What’s a little bit different about our approach, though, is certainly there’s other Cisco HCS providers in the marketplace, but what’s unique about our approach is really kind of the wrapper that we put around it. When we built our platform, that platform was built in 12 data centers around the country so there’s no single point of failure—very robust solution set. We’ve also built it so that we can do some call routing, call control things long before the call ever makes it to the actual platform: the switch platform. We can integrate it with other technology. We feel that the customer is looking for more than just a feature seat which is what HCS is by itself. They want the dial tone incorporated. They want professional services, managed services around that and somebody who’s going to make it a complete solution for them.
Andrew: Interesting. What are a couple of examples of that? What are the other components that you put around, that you kind of, as you put it, a wrapper around HCS? What are some of those other components?
Wade: We kept incorporating dial tone and incorporating the data network aspect of it, giving them access to other applications, call center functionality, collaboration. Not just that, but back to your question about the incorporation of our data network. What does that add to the equation? It adds to the equation private access to other cloud-based technologies, some of which are West Corporation companies. Others are AWS, Skype, Salesforce—a variety of other tools to make sure that you have a high-quality connection between your platform and those other technologies in the cloud.
Andrew: Got it. The commitment to a dedicated private IP transport to all those third-party applications—that’s a huge differentiator for you, then.
Wade: It is, and it insures that quality. Certainly, you can still run things over the public internet. We’re seeing more and more customers who want to do that sort of thing. The technology has improved. The reliability has improved. Organizations are acquiring larger and larger dedicated internet circuits, yet it’s still a kind of best-effort technology. Our preference would be to run that over MPLS. Certainly our preference would be over our MPLS network, but we deploy over existing MPLS networks. At the end of the day, if the customer is demanding, “I want to run this over our dedicated internet connectivity,” we’ll support that. Again, the preference would be otherwise, but we’ll support it because we’re seeing more and more clients want to go that way.
Andrew: Good, good. Love it. Wade, really cool story, man. You guys have a heck of a platform, and you’ve committed to Cisco and it’s really paid off for you guys. You’re a go-to supplier for us when it comes to any customer looking at doing Cisco in the cloud. Congrats on that, man.
Wade: Thank you.
Andrew: All right. Thanks for jumping in. Guys, that’s Wade Wing. He is the Director of Channel Operations for WestIP of West Corporation. We’re thrilled to have him here as part of the faculty here at the University. Guys, make sure you check out the WestIP learning center here at the University. It’s chock full of great information, white papers and videos, sales tools that you can use to get smarter about how to sell WestIP and build a really robust portfolio in the cloud. Guys, good selling.