BCM One Executive Interview with Michael Nowak: Acquisitions, a Case Study, and Channel Updates

In a conversation between Patrick Oborne, co-founder of Telarus, and Mike Nowak, CRO of BCM One, they discuss the recent developments at BCM One. The company has made several acquisitions, including Pure IP, which has been a game-changer in offering global Teams and WebEx services at the upper mid-market and enterprise levels.

Pure IP brings in Session Border Controller (SBC) as a service to BCM One, which is significant for enterprise-scale voice networks. Nowak and Oborne also discuss a recent win with a major Northeastern university, where BCM One was able to provide a solution that allowed for a gradual transition from legacy infrastructure to modern technology. The conversation concludes with a discussion on BCM One’s Technology Expense Management portal, which allows enterprise customers to see and manage their own environment, contracts and assets.

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Topics covered in this conversation:

  • How PureIP’s Session Border Controller as a Service (SBCaaS) works
  • How SBCaaS is enabling organizations to establish a truly connected, global platform
  • Use cases for SBCaaS
  • How global organizations are able to blend existing legacy architectures with modern digital and cloud infrastructures
  • Why a gradual transition to modern solutions is often best and how BCM One helped a major university through a significant yet gradual transformation
  • The value of BCM One’s Technology Expense Management portal for asset management
  • What opportunities Channel Partners should be looking for when they’re talking to customers with talking points to open the door

Discussion Transcript

Patrick (00:00):
Greetings everybody. It’s Patrick Oborne, co-founder of Telarus here in beautiful Studio 19 here in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m joined today by a very special guest, I should say rejoined by Mike Nowak, CRO of BCM One. Mike, good to see you again.

Mike (00:15):
Patrick. Great to be here.

Patrick (00:16):
Seems like yesterday you were right here in this chair having a great conversation with us telling us all about BCM One. For the sake of the people who maybe didn’t see our video, we talked a little bit about BCM One who originated from kind of a partner background. We talked about the acquisition of NexVortex and how BCM One has really become an IP/SIP/managed SIP/all underneath it, network/ managed network with Versa, SD-wan, and all that stuff. Really this is a pyramid of technology, starting with the network layer, building all the way up into the application layers, with kind of the tip of the iceberg being the managed SIP. Tell us a little bit about what’s happened with you guys in the last 12 months. What’s new at BCM One?

Mike (01:06):
It’s been amazing, Patrick, and thanks again for having me. I had so much fun last time, and when I was flying in last night, first thing that came to mind was I’ve been here seeing you and your team 10 years and I have never been to Park City yet, and so I will put that on the list next time. 

Patrick (01:22):
Yeah, we need to fix that.

Mike (01:22):
We do. We need to fix it. There’s been a lot going on with BCM One, I think I’m very proud to say we are charging forward with our game plan.

Patrick (01:30):
Heard you’ve had some acquisitions, some excitement. 

Mike (01:33):
We have had some acquisitions. It’s that kind of market, this is the market that you need to take advantage of those opportunities, especially when you’re able to, and we have done that, and I’m very excited to tell you about one in particular. Pure IP is an acquisition that we have just completed and that has been a game-changer for us. During the year, we are the infrastructure provider for many, especially in that upper mid-market and enterprise level. And so BCM has continued with that. A lot of us knew us from our Verizon heritage and our skills around building out with Verizon as a key element of our network managed connectivity services. That’s still strong, but with this Pure IP capability for Teams and WebEx services – at the enterprise level, it’s just an awesome piece to the puzzle. It’s been an awesome acquisition for us. I can’t wait to tell folks more about it.

Patrick (02:27):
That’s great. So Pure IP brings into play something I’ve never heard about in the industry – that’s SBC or Session Border Controller as a service. We know that SBC is big and certain flavors of Microsoft Teams integration. We know that it’s a big play for enterprise-scale voice networks. Talk to us a little bit about SBC as a service. How does this work? Where is it available? How does it help customers solve problems?

Mike (02:53):
Yeah, absolutely. I think I would start off with SBC as a service is usually part two of the equation. Part one is folks want to get to Teams and they’re going to want to do it traditionally with Operator Connect, which we’re one of the first, if not the first to be a part of that program. You get into the hard-to-reach portions of the world. Now we have 47 countries that we have full PSTN replacement. And I’m talking not just the numbers, the porting, the short code.

Patrick (03:21):
PSTN replacement, that’s huge.

Mike (03:23):
Anything that the local provider can do, we can do. So, I think when you look at why do groups like Microsoft seem to have a good friendship with us, it’s because we can deploy and execute for those multinationals. Now, when you get into those hard-to-reach countries with heavy regulatory, this is where things start to break down. And these big multinationals are still going to have operations there. India is a classic example and in those cases, Patrick, we’ll use what we call SBC as a service. It’s historically a ribbon SBC, we’ll provide it to the customer’s facility and we’ll actually tie into their local third-party provider, whether it’s PRI because it may be the only technology they have or SIP and then bring that into their Teams environment. And we have our cloud-based SBCs around the world. So there’s that element that allows you to connect into these hard-to-reach locations. And the other part is when you’re migrating to Teams, you have your Cisco environment, maybe in Avaya environment, and you want to get to Teams and you want to connect it all together, five-digit dialing, that’s where SBC as a service comes in as well.

Patrick (04:34):
That’s fantastic. And you mentioned several technologies that are kind of your analog-based solutions. Talk to us a little bit about the velocity at which people want to get away from analog but the digital, but they don’t want to get away from it. It seems like things are moving, but they’re not. Explain to us what those transitions look like.

Mike (04:53):
Yeah, we see of course traditional analog replacement needs – folks that need a reliable solution to power their elevators or alarm lines and so forth that meet kind of thing, the standards. In the enterprise play space, especially these major factories, they have the dust conditions or floor conditions and they just can’t get there. And so they’ll want to take advantage of the existing analog infrastructure and historically they’re bringing it into one of our SBCs that connects it into their environment, makes it easy. But I’ve never seen so many analog heavy-duty machines going out for these major corporations and they need to keep that old tech. It’s miraculous.

Patrick (05:40):
That’s awesome. That kind of leads us into the next part of our conversation where you guys have recently experienced a pretty decent-sized win with a university, I understand, that had needs that were more futuristic, but they have a bunch of legacy and they need to switch, and they’re not going to just hard cut it over to the new stuff. Tell us a little bit about how you guys came in, the solution you proposed, which was just as much about technology as it was about project planning and a gradual transition into the new thing so they could test as they went along and not just one foot out of one canoe and one foot into the new canoe. You guys are really good at helping people kind of put their feet in two canoes for a minute and not really forcing them one way or the other and helping them with the gradual transitions, especially a lot of the enterprise people are looking for because these things, these things are very important to them, can’t go down – mission critical. Talk to us a little bit about your big win.

Mike (06:38):
Yeah, I think it goes along with being a specialist and surgical. The university is a major Northeastern university everyone would recognize. The problem they had is that they got caught into this what I call a “Teams vortex.” They didn’t know where to go. Everyone’s in the business and they chose a provider that they thought they could trust and just couldn’t execute. One of the things that they wanted to see as they reopened up their opportunity is does your portal refresh the same day? That was their main question – does it actually refresh the same day and does it actually have any functionality to it? And so they wanted to see that. The other thing that they really wanted to see that we could do is they had a Cisco call manager environment. They had an Avaya environment. They had a desire to get to Teams, and they had 10,000 Cisco HCS seats or hosted seats. And they said, we need you to at least be able to connect the Avaya on the same trunks as the Cisco and allow us to migrate over to Teams as we can. And can you encrypt at all?

Patrick (07:50):
That’s it?

Mike (07:51):
Well, and five-digit dialing between all of ‘em.

Patrick (07:55):
Oh! Okay. 

Mike (07:55):
So at first, I had not seen this kind of scale before. At Pure IP, this is fairly common because you just don’t see hot cuts in the Teams at that size. And so the idea to say that we can go in and move you over as you want to, do encryption on the UDP trunks and then power your Team service and the Avaya altogether – and by the way, we’re WebEx-certified CPP-certified if you want to move that Cisco environment to WebEx. And that’s what they did. So they wanted to test it. We lit the trunks up, raving fans, and this deal of 30,000 DIDs, it’s a major university. I would’ve thought a sales cycle longer. It’s probably about five weeks.

Patrick (08:40):
That’s Incredible.

Mike (08:41):
And we’ve already poured 10,000 DIDs within 60 days of that initial start. So just super proud of it, super excited about it. And that’s the kind of stuff we see at the enterprise level. And if anyone listening today works in that space and you really need full PSTN replacement, and you need those skills and you need someone that’s going to work as a consultant with you, think of BCM One and Pure IP.

Patrick (09:08):
Now. That’s great. And to our final part of our conversation, let’s talk about the partners. When they’re out talking to their customers – again, we just went over a really good case study. We talked about the Pure IP acquisition. What are the capabilities that this unlocks that now with capabilities comes that translate to opportunities? What should our partners be looking for? In my mind, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, in my mind, you’re looking for customers that have pretty sizable investments in legacy infrastructure. People who know they need to modernize people who know they need more security. People who know that they want to move from the analog world into the digital world and then from the digital world into the cloud. They aren’t quite sure how to get there. Don’t really want to forklift from one to the other. They need a gradual transition. So maybe they run both in parallel for a while to make sure that they’re working before they burn the boats, so to speak, on the beach. They’re looking for someone that can control really every element of the environment, right? Because you have the network, you can monitor your QOS – everything that affects the voice experience you can control. And now with the acquisition, now we can go from the SMB to mid-market. Now we can go mid-market to enterprise. So now you can think of BCM One really as an enterprise play where maybe in the past, maybe we didn’t think of you guys so much. Did I understand that correctly?

Mike (10:38):
I think it’s a fair way to describe it, Patrick. I think I would just build on it by saying that for those that are looking for these kinds of opportunities, I think, of course, we want to be considered what would get them in the door. What are the things that are happening in the market that we see? I think that there definitely is major pressure for folks to cut costs. There are folks that are looking at how do we communicate better? We clearly know it’s a hybrid workforce that everyone has. We were talking about that earlier, and to go into those customers and say, I have a point solution for you. It doesn’t always work well. And you very well have a customer that wants to entertain that, and they get into it and you’re talking about a point solution that just does Teams or something and you don’t talk about the journey, and that’s going to kill your deal. It’s going to stop the deal. The customer is going to be happy with you, but they’re not going to have a solution. They’re not going to buy from you. So to say that we know that you have a lot of old iron, and there’s studies out there that say that the major corporations are sitting on a pile of these phone systems still and they still work, but they need to get ’em off. They feel the pressure of it. They don’t want to secure them, they don’t want to manage ’em. And so talking through that journey is going to open up the doors for folks. And I think if you look at BCM, you’ve heard of our managed connectivity services and SD-WAN. It really is two major revenue products that folks would end up selling with us is the enterprise voice, probably the managed connectivity that just goes with it. And then you have the stuff that adds onto it like the SD-WAN and security services and so forth.

Patrick (12:15):
Then lastly, before we wrap up, I just want to offer a quick pitch for the TEM module. You guys have a fantastic portal. You’ve kind of mentioned in passing your portal, but your portal is really exceptional in its ability to allow the customers can kind of see their own thing, see their own environment, see their contracts, see their assets that maybe BCM isn’t even handling. And that’s really a big deal, especially when you get into the enterprise space. Enterprise – you can’t really go to them kind of without some type of asset management solution because that’s kind of what they expect a little bit when they give you so much spend, they’re like, well, help me manage that spend. Help me see it, help me in some cases, take it on and you pay the bills and you just send me one bill every month and you guys can manage. So I think that’s kind of like a missing element to the enterprise puzzle that’ll lot of people overlook.

Mike (13:06):
It’s a great story, Patrick. It really is, and it’s a door opener. Folks are looking at, they’re trying to reduce their costs. They can’t see all of their expenses, and so BCM has a proprietary service that we built over the years because it allowed people to answer those questions and allowed our partners to go in and say, wow, there is significant spend in these areas, that’s huge. And then we would lower any costs that they have from this tool by buying more BCM services. So you can put in third-party services, pay one bill, and those other services are paid for out of the BCM accounting team. It’s a nice roundout story for that mid-market enterprise.

Patrick (13:43):
That’s awesome. Well, Mike, again, thanks for stopping by and visiting us here in Studio 19. We hope to get you up to Park City next visit. Hopefully, we can make that happen. And for everybody watching, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate you and again, if you have any questions about BCM One, contact your Telarus partner support manager or XPDM, we’d be happy to help you engage with their sales engineering team and really help you get into those enterprise-level voice conversations. That’s it for today. Take care everybody. Thanks for watching. Bye-bye.

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