Ticking the right boxes

Tekton Billing was created by a reseller for telecoms and IT resellers. Comms Business caught up with Harry and Charlie McKeever, directors at Tekton Billing (pictured above with Harry on the left, and Charlie on the right), to hear more.

Tekton Billing was founded with a mission to provide the best possible billing solution for telecoms and IT resellers. The reason for that quickly becomes clear when you learn that the company’s story started with its own reseller business. Terry McKeever, founder and managing director, set up the business alongside his sons, Harry and Charlie, after finding they could not identify a solution that “really ticked the boxes that we needed” for the business they were running at the time.

An existing relationship with Zygo gave the company access to network-level enterprise billing architecture at a reseller price point. Harry said, “This gave us access to a system that was way beyond what we needed [and we could] … play around with.”

The McKeever’s reseller business started to make use functionality that was not available to other resellers – not because it wasn’t needed, but simply because it wasn’t in the price bracket that resellers could ordinarily afford. Conversations with other resellers showed the McKeevers that most had similar feedback on the billing systems that were available to them.

Harry said, “Then we thought there was an opportunity to use this underlying enterprise architecture but redevelop it, reskin it, make it affordable and really tailor it to the reseller market.”

The three set out to do just that, and the ZOEY platform was launched in September 2019.  The business has continued to grow ever since. Harry said, “If you compare the product we have now to that initial product, it is wildly different. But at that point in time, we had a product we were comfortable going out and pitching to the market.

“The last eighteen months have shown me that maybe what we had [at that time] wasn’t perfect. Now, we’re doing new releases monthly. Sometimes more often than that. Me and Charlie – we’re both quite fastidious about what we’re doing, so when we get feedback from partners, I find I have to take that feedback onboard straight away to try to amend the product to suit them. We’re constantly evolving the product and I can’t see that slowing down.”

Working with family

Above: the brothers are pictured as children.

Harry and Charlie’s roles at Tekton play to each of their strengths. Harry explained, “We have quite differing skill sets but they complement each other. I run the day-to-day operations and take on more of a strategic role, whereas Charlie works closely with customers – looking after onboarding, migrations, training, and outbound demos.

“I’m an accountant that used to work in the city and then decided to go and run his own business, so my skill set is very organisational. Charlie has always been the techy person in the family, even from a child he’d be rebuilding a PlayStation or an iPhone… and I never had any interest in that!”

Charlie added that now they’ve worked together for over four years, they’ve got used to the dynamic that comes with it.

Customer service first

The brothers are committed to growing the Tekton team in line with bringing new partners onboard. Harry said, “The foundation of our reseller business means that we have service at the forefront of our minds. This business brings with it a slight shift but, for us, we don’t want to fall too far away from that service angle. For me, having enough staff members working in areas like customer support to service our existing customers is just as important as having people out there selling and onboarding new partners.”

As such, the company now has over 20 staff and expects to double this over the next 12 months to maintain its current growth and to allow partners to complete their bill runs as early in the month as possible. Some partners have gone from billing on the 16th of the month with their previous provider to the 3rd with Tekton, and the roadmap will see the platform becoming more intuitive so partners can continue to bill quickly.

Charlie explained that the company is also focusing on integrations. He added, “Over the course of this year with home working, there has been a disconnect between support and billing teams. [Partners are] looking at how they can join these areas of their business back together. We’ve been talking about convergence in comms for 10 to 15 years and only really this year has it come to prominence. And it’s similar in the billing space: everyone has been talking about provisioning and how they can have all of these integrated solutions, but… [platforms have] never quite fulfilled what the expectation was.”

Resellers increasingly need to deliver billing data in a “functional format”, and Tekton will continue to shape its products with this in mind. Harry explained, “Typically, what we saw in the billing market was the access for the end customer was very limited. We looked at what network suppliers had to offer their customers and then tried to replicate it and better it. On our system, partners can now offer 24/7 out of hours support on certain suppliers by giving the customers direct integrations with the networks to be able to make their own changes out of hours.”

This is all about helping resellers deliver competitive offerings, and that will remain the overriding objective. Harry explained that this 24/7 support is “a massive thing” for resellers, and the company will continue to examine where its platform can help resellers be in the best position to win contracts.

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Charlotte Hathway

Charlotte is the editor of Comms Business and writes about the latest technology innovations and business developments across the Channel. Got a story? Get in touch – charlotte.hathway@markallengroup.com.

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