Portal Talk

Comms Business talks to TalkTalk Business about their aggressive and potentially disruptive entry in to the SIP trunk market and how the Union Street designed NxTier provisioning portal makes everything easier for channel partners.

In the second half of 2015 TalkTalk Business made two key moves that demonstrated a clear intent to not simply disrupt the wholesale SIP market, but to also revolutionise it. First came the acquisition of SIP and hosted carrier, tIPicall, swiftly followed by the launch, at Convergence Summit South, of a highly disruptive portfolio of services and promotions. This included free SIP and extremely competitive pricing on voice and connectivity services for channel partners.

Acquiring tIPicall and their channel expertise boosted TalkTalk Business’ own channel strategy and this, combined with a well-established partner base and a broad portfolio of channel focused solutions, made tIPicall a perfect partner for TalkTalk Business.

Crucially, tIPicall’s range of SIP solutions were backed by the NxTier provisioning portal. The portal, which was developed by Union Street Technologies, also designers of the aBILLity billing platform, has according to Jon Nowell, Head of Product Management at TalkTalk Business, helped to define the TalkTalk Business proposition.

“It was key for us that we had a fantastic provisioning portal to offer our partner community. One that would not only enable us to offer a disruptive proposition to the market, but that also had customer centricity at its core. On top of this we needed something that had the scale for growth that we anticipated. The depth of capability, the ease of use of the portal, combined with the TalkTalk Business proposition gives our partners the tools they needed to take full advantage of the growth opportunities in the SIP market.

“One of the core strengths of our portal is that it fully integrates with TalkTalk Business’ provisioning systems as well as those of certain third party suppliers. This makes it possible for our channel partners to build bespoke quotes with pinpoint accuracy on pricing, then place subsequent orders quickly and efficiently without ever having to go outside the portal. It’s a complete end to end solution.”

Nowell cites productivity increases as another benefit of TalkTalk Business’ provisioning portal.

“In today’s increasingly competitive environment, resellers need maximum productivity from their suppliers when they’re placing orders or managing services for customers. Poor productivity is a profitability drain and the hidden costs of managing consumer services with a subpar solution can soon mount up. This is why we’ve worked closely with Union Street to maximise the efficiencies of the online journey, eliminating a lot of the time consuming toing and froing by providing everything a reseller needs to place orders.

“The portal doesn’t just offer efficiency benefits at the point of order. We’ve also provided the tools to efficiently manage queries and updates. Real time information and real time updates are all available within the portal so there’s no wasted time spent calling up to chase an order. This gives our partners freedom and independence, putting them in control.”

According to Nowell, there’s no doubt that the speed and accuracy offered by the portal will deliver a competitive advantage to TalkTalk Business’ channel partners.

“Because of its speed and the ease of ordering, our portal enables resellers to give their end user customers a great experience in the early life of a contract and going forward. Compared to traditional voice services, such as ISDN and CPS, where there’s no real time control and no options to self-serve, SIP Trunking with our portal will provide business customers with the sort of service they expect today; always on, agile and with the ability to control real-time changes.”

Speaking for Union Street, Managing Director, Tony Cook, hints that other benefits could soon be available to mutual clients of TalkTalk Business and Union Street. “Resellers that use our aBILLity billing platform may want to look at using TalkTalk’s services and vice versa. TalkTalk’s services have been a big hit with the Channel. Many of our clients are now using their services and, as the developers of TalkTalk’s provisioning portal, naturally we began exploring ways to streamline the provisioning process by integrating a reseller’s instance of aBILLity with TalkTalk’s provisioning portal. Our developers have come up with some brilliant ideas which will soon deliver some great added benefits for our mutual clients.”

Nowell concludes, “If you use TalkTalk for SIP Trunking and aBILLity for billing this provides an elegant and simple way for partners and resellers to break into the SIP market.

This is really just the beginning of a very exciting journey. With the BT ISDN Switch Off scheduled for 2025, voice is getting ready for its new dawn as customers begin to see the benefits of SIP Trunking and everything it brings. This is one of the first steps towards that journey. This is an exciting, mature, start. What we’ve got is amazing but it’s going to get even better.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine