GCI Launches New UC solutions

Comms Business Magazine talks to John Whitty, Managing Director of GCI Channel Solutions, about a new range of converged communications services his company has launched to the channel.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): GCI Channel Solutions, along with a reseller partner, has just won an 1800 seat hosted telephony contract with a large corporate client but this time it was not a Microsoft Lync deployment it was another platform I understand.

John Whitty (JW): The converged communications solutions we can provide our channel partners with from Microsoft Lync is equally available on the Broadsoft platform.  This is achievable at the desktop in the form of a ‘Soft Client’ and equally for mobile employees on smartphones (Android and iPhone) and BYOD tablet devices.

Not everyone wants a Microsoft based deployment for their Unified Communications (UC) and following our £1.0m investment in Session Border Controllers (SBCs) last year, we are able now to carry all customer generated Broadsoft traffic through and via our own network.

This means we have converged our voice, data and value added platforms on Broadsoft and uniquely we are able to offer these solutions with an end-to-end service level agreement for users that guarantees the quality of their voice traffic.

CBM: So are you seeing demand for non-Lync based unified communications?

JW:Yes, whilst Microsoft Lync caters for a myriad of technical solutions, BroadSoft UC being equally as adept, offers equal capability and functionality in the mobile environment. Therefore, being able to supply the same capability across both platforms affords any customer the flexibility and choice to select what platform is right for their business needs.

Equally, our acquisition of Vodafone Platinum Partner CommsXchange has enabled GCI to add the mobility element to the feature list, so we can stretch beyond the Broadsoft UC1 offering to include all of our products as well in to the UC mix for partners and their customers.

CBM: Is the product available now?

JW: Yes it is. We have launched the service and have live customers, and via our web enabled portal it is now channel ready for self-service.

An added feature via our portal is inbound telephone number routing. So, say a channel partner has a user with 1000 telephone numbers, the resellers can manage these via our Web Enabled Routing (WER) portal and route their calls to wherever the user needs. This provides the reseller with ownership of the routing plan – they do not need to spend a fortune in CAPEX to achieve this, they can just use our platform as if it was their own. We have added functionality for the resellers’ users such as IVR, call recording, web routing, analytics and of course the end-to-end SLA.

Our objective has been to make our baseline infrastructure ready for anything, which is why we have invested in the SBCs and our data network transiting these calls.

The result is that our partners can take our connectivity solutions and add services on top via our portal, safe in the knowledge that we can deliver quality of service through our SLA.

It means that our partners can take everything from the same supplier and know it will work.

CBM: Whose vision was this in putting the whole picture together?

JW: We are a close team and it was as a combined team effort to merge and deliver this solution. We recognised that our strength should be in our underlying infrastructure, plus services and we have made this all available to our Channel Partners via an easy to use portal.

GCI Channel Solutions has a great network. What we have done is open it up to the channel so they can use it as their own and build ARPU.

We know we have a great proposition for the channel; Broadsoft UC office, plus more with applications on smartphones, tablets and laptops. It means any call hitting the users office can also connect to the user’s mobile devices on the move, with no call charges.

This is what organisations need today; working from anywhere with any device, presence capability and calendar, coupled with in built disaster recovery. I believe this to be an essential part of the kit-bag for partners doing business today.

CBM: You have recently upgraded your company web site I believe?

JW: Yes, and it looks fantastic! Our Marketing Manager Laura Swan has made the content highly interactive for our partners, there are many new additional features including a blog, support centre and video content. There is also an option to subscribe to our newsletters and access our partner area. One of the key features Laura has introduced to our resellers has been our Partner Playbooks, these have been designed to help Partners market their new products. If you visit our new website you can learn more about our Playbooks and our Broadsoft proposition at: gcichannelsolutions.com.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine