Ask the Experts: How Do I Move Upmarket With UCaaS?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by CloudServicesUniversity.com. In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses how to move upmarket with UCaaS solutions with 8×8’s Vice President of Strategic Channel Development Chris Peters. Find out more about UCaaS and contact center solutions from Chris and the 8×8 team here: http://8×8.cloudservicesuniversity.com/

Andrew: Okay guys. Another Ask the Experts session. I’ve asked here Chris Peters, who’s the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8, to join us. Chris, welcome back to the studio, man.
Chris: Thanks a lot. Appreciate the opportunity.
Andrew: All right. We’ve been talking a lot here about the UCaaS definition, and how UCaaS is now being adopted by more and more companies of really all sizes. You guys have had a really interesting journey at 8×8. A company that’s been around for a long time, one of the earlier pioneers in the space. But it used to be that you were focused on kind of the “S” of the SMB. I recall reading one of your public reports that showed an average seat size of 5 or 6 seats. It’s kind of . . . Heck, it’s probably more the IBB than the SMB. I call that the itty-bitty business. You guys have changed your strategy, and you set out to move way upmarket into the larger enterprise space.
I think that probably caused a lot of people to pause, wondering, “Is that possible? Are they going to be able to make that pivot in kind of the medium enterprise and up space?” You guys have done it, man. You’re having a lot of success there. Tell us about that. How are customers responding in that space–the larger business. How are they responding? Why are they responding so well to the 8×8 story?
Chris: Well, you know first and foremost, it’s the channel that enables us to go upmarket like this. Our channel partners–we’re seeing an incredible inflection point in the marketplace where we were talking probably six months ago about 1000, 2000, 3000 extension deals. We’re now talking about eight, nine, 10, 15, 20,000 extension deals, and these are spread out all over the world. The channel has–it brings those opportunities to us. They’re in with these types of customers. These customers see the channel partner as the trusted advisor. It really puts an emphasis, and really enforces our decision to go forward with the channel in a big way.
Now, part of our success is driven by the fact that we have a full-blown hosted PBX platform, full-featured unified communication solution–obviously as a service–as well as that cloud contact center. When you have 5000 seats, you’re guaranteed to have what we consider the nontraditional contact center opportunity in there somewhere. Whether it’s the IT help desk, or whether it’s the sales team. To have those two robust platforms fully integrated and available is very, very appealing to our mid-market customers. Certainly, our reliability, our scalability–we’ve been offering our service on our own platforms, patented with over 104 granted patents, since 2002.
The reliability is second to none. We offer today an end-to-end SLA. We will operate over MPLS. We will operate over open internet. We don’t sell bandwidth–this is all third-party stuff–but we’re going to guarantee the call quality from the IP phone to the PSTN, and all points in-between. We’re going to ensure the reliability even over that third-party IP–third party bandwidth, excuse me–is ahead or above 99.99%. In fact, we’re operating more like 99.9975%. That reliability, the scalability–and obviously, we have over 40,000 customers. There is no end in sight as to how far our platform can scale up.
Certainly, the security is a huge issue. Our ability to deploy SRTP and SIP TLS for data and motion encryption. We will do data at rest encryption. That’s on top of the fact that all of our IP end points have embedded security certificates, authentications over HTTPS. We don’t let our customers’ accounts get stolen.
When you’re talking about a mid-market customer, you look at integrations with third party software–whether that’s NetSuite, whether that’s Salesforce. That’s what they’ve deployed. They want to be able to integrate with their business process systems–what they need to do to pull it all together to have all that data available. Combine that with our own virtual office analytics, and our contact center analytics. Now all of the sudden, they’ve got a wealth of data with which they can thoroughly analyze and improve the efficiency of their business. Not just save money on their IT services.
Finally, of course, it’s the global presence. When you’ve got 5000 employees, 10,000 employees–you know, we have a cool little map we show that on any given day; there are agents logged in to our contact center from 40 different countries and 6 continents. 60 countries for our virtual office customers. And we can get DIDs from, I think it’s over 100 different countries now. We’re able to deploy deployment resources–our white glove treatment–anywhere in the world. We get people up and running, and deployed. And that’s very, very important to these mid-market customers–to be able to provide them service where they are. Not just in one or two states in the United States, you know.
Andrew: You have contact center seats deployed in 6 continents. So, nothing in Antarctica yet, I’m guessing. Is that the new frontier, maybe?
Chris: Well, my CEO has threatened me to go down on a sales call to Antarctica once when I was in the dog house, but not yet. We’re working on it.
Andrew: Very cool. Well, it sounds like you guys have an incredibly well-rounded strategy that is hitting all the hot buttons for that medium enterprise customer and up. I’m finding more and more of these companies are waking up to this idea, “Why in the world would I continue to own, and manage, and maintain my own PBX infrastructure?” The cloud is the way to go for that, especially for contact center. You guys are perfectly aligned to take advantage of that pivot.
Chris: We feel that’s the case, absolutely. And our financial stability also plays very well. Obviously, we’ve been profitable for years growing revenues, and our mid-market customers know we’re going to be around for a long time.
Andrew: Great story. Guys, that’s Chris Peters. Chris Peters is the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8, and one of the newer suppliers in the portfolio here at Intelisys. And of course, a member of the faculty with the Cloud Services University. Chris, thanks for jumping in here, man.
Chris: Appreciate it. Thanks for the time. Take care.
Andrew: Good deal. We’re thrilled to have 8×8 in the portfolio. Guys, make sure you check out their learning center. Lots of great stuff there that can equip you to move upmarket and to sell bigger and bigger deals in the cloud. Good selling.