On Tuesday November 28th, we hosted another great iPECS Insights session. These monthly forums are a chance for our global partner community to gather and share their insights. The sessions are designed to be informative, inspirational, and interactive.
This month, our host was Liam Tracey, CEO of our Irish partner GoldStar Telecom. His focus was on a journey that many global partners are on – how to move from a hardware-based business model to a service-led model based on monthly recurring revenue.
In his introduction, he made the important point that all markets are different, and partners have to adapt to user preference as well as infrastructure constraints and cost in their territories. The secret to GoldStar’s success has been in providing iPECS vUCP. Liam’s presentation was all about how the business made this work.
About GoldStar and the Irish market
Liam’s presentation began with a brief introduction to GoldStar. Based in Cork in the south of the country, the business is a longstanding member of the Ericsson-LG Enterprise family, having been started by Liam’s father, Tony, in 1986.
He then outlined how the Irish market has changed. Ireland has a small population, and telecoms resellers are generally small businesses. Irish businesses have traditionally been reluctant to migrate to cloud telephony solutions for many reasons. For example, it is very rare in Ireland to use finance to purchase an on-premises phone system. Businesses tend to buy a solution they can afford up front, making them more attached.
Liam and the GoldStar team were keen to find ways to increase monthly recurring revenue. However, this was a challenge when so many businesses preferred to keep their on-premises systems.
Increasing recurring revenue
The shock of the Covid-19 pandemic had many effects on workplaces. One of them was to show the value and viability of remote and hybrid work. Ireland was no exception, and when the pandemic struck the country, demand for remote working solutions increased.
GoldStar was able to offer this thanks to the work that the business had already done. They had begun a wholesale agreement with an IP voice carrier in early 2017. In the same year, they set up a billing system. They also worked hard to make sure that reseller partners were included on invoices, as previously this excluded them. As Liam pointed out, it is essential to bring reseller partners on the journey.
By now, the majority of GoldStar’s revenue is from recurring streams. Liam then explained the reasons behind this success.
How GoldStar succeeded
Liam outlined the broad reasons behind GoldStar’s success in increasing recurring revenue as a proportion of turnover. Customer service played a major role. His motto was “little from many” – instead of trying to push customers into services they may not need, they find ways to help them in small quantities.
He also pointed out the need for dedicated billing personnel. Billing errors can cost time and customer trust, so it is essential to invest in making billing as seamless and accurate as possible.
It was just as important to help resellers maximize their revenue in any way possible, through engagement, relationship management, and support.
The three solutions (or pillars of success in Liam’s words) underlying all this were IP trunks for on-premises systems, iPECS Cloud, and private cloud services. Liam went on to explore the third of these in depth, and to show the potential that iPECS vUCP has in a market like Ireland.
Bringing iPECS vUCP to market
Especially after the pandemic, Irish businesses became convinced of the need for flexibility. This made cloud solutions appealing. However, as discussed earlier, they like to “sweat their assets”. Deploying iPECS vUCP helped GoldStar achieve this.
There were still many challenges. One of these was the question of hosting. GoldStar looked at many options, from using AWS to creating and managing their own data center. After extensive research, they found that a software-defined data center (SDDC) met their needs of manageable costs, flexibility, and security, with backup and disaster recovery as part of the service.
Benefiting partners and end users
This solution has given GoldStar and its partners true flexibility. It has also done the same for end users. From the user perspective, they have full UC functionality in a solution they can access remotely. This allows them to enjoy the flexibility of cloud while retaining their physical assets.
Meanwhile, GoldStar and its partners are able to deploy this in a significant range of environments, showing its scalability and adaptability. As well as SMEs, the user base includes complex deployments in multi-site medical centers.
Liam’s closing advice
As his excellent presentation came to an end, Liam returned to his original point. All markets are different, and all partners are on their own part of this journey. He offered some great advice to partners who are just beginning to move to more recurring revenue streams:
- Address billing now, not tomorrow. Billing is essential for trust. A good platform and good processes are essential.
- Create add-ons. There are many options for managed services that can be monetized. That way, the customer gets exactly the service they need, and the partner gets more revenue.
- Embrace any avenue to provide managed services to resellers.
Closing the session
After a Q&A session, Brian Shin, Account Manager of Ireland, thanked Liam for an outstanding presentation. Ahed Alkhatib, Sales & Marketing VP at Ericsson-LG Enteprise, reiterated Brian’s words and pointed out that Liam had shown a great way to succeed in environments where cloud uptake was lower.
With that, another great session concluded. We would like to thank Liam for sharing his experience and wisdom.
Thanks also to all partners who attended, and we look forward to seeing you at next month’s session.