Founded in 1989, Forerunner Technologies Inc. is a leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to business of all sizes and industries. Forerunner CEO, Paul Diesu and VP of Sales and Marketing, Rick Taylor have extensive experience in the telecommunications industry and helped build Forerunner’s reputation of providing tier-one customer service through personalized services and flexible solutions. “We take customer service very seriously. We have built the business around our reliability and providing a white glove experience to customers,” Paul explains.
After years of selling on-premises PBX systems, Forerunner realized that many of their customers were shifting to cloud-based Unified Communications (UCaaS) solutions.
Paul Diesu and Rick Taylor knew they needed to provide customers with a reliable, cloud-based UC offering, but feared that reselling another company’s cloud portfolio wouldn’t allow them to offer the white-glove, top-tier service customers had become accustomed to. Forerunner decided to white label another vendor’s cloud portfolio as their own, but quickly realized it was going to be difficult to compete. “There were so many larger cloud companies that already had so much of the market share; it was hard to come in as a traditional on-premises telecommunications provider and make a name for ourselves as a cloud provider,” says Rick.
Forerunner had a few disappointing experiences reselling other cloud vendor’s, whose solutions proved ineffective at meeting customers’ needs, and Forerunner’s needs. Rick explains, “Our operating costs were too high, and maintenance became very complicated and time consuming.” Paul adds, “Our customers needed more versatility in how, when, and where employees could communicate - our past offering could not meet their expectations.”
Forerunner continued to search for a cloud provider that could deliver a full suite of reliable, fully integrated, easy-to-use, and well-supported communications solutions, with a partner model more favorable to their business.
“The Partner Model and the robust features offered with UNIVERGE BLUE® were ultimately why we decided to expand our relationship with NEC to sell [UNIVERGE BLUE] CLOUD SERVICES.”
UNIVERGE BLUE’S local support, easy administration, and robust features combined with the ability to maintain the customer relationship through the Customer Ownership Model has solved many challenges Forerunner previously faced.
- UNIVERGE BLUE Customer Ownership Model
Forerunner spent years building relationships with their customers, they did not want to lose touch with customers by reselling a cloud product in which the OEM would have control over customer service and support. Luckily, with UNIVERGE BLUE, Forerunner was able to choose a partner model that fit their business. “NEC allows partners to sell under their own brand. The Customer Ownership model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows businesses to better control the end user experience while keeping costs in line,” Paul Diesu shares.
The UNIVERGE BLUE Customer Ownership Model allowed Forerunner to maintain their customer relationships and offer personalized support. Rick explains, “Provisioning cloud endpoints through a third-party vendor, drop shipping them to a client then having the client handle the deployment and train themselves, or having the OEM handle this, was never going to be well-received by our clients. The UNIVERGE BLUE Customer Ownership model, allows us to handle all support, billing, and training of the customer.”
- Local Support
Rick notes that with most of the large cloud providers, Channel Partners do not have the option to provide local support. “With other cloud providers, if a customer has a service request or question, they have to reach out directly to the OEM using a general support number or email. UNIVERGE BLUE allows us to be the first level of local support but NEC is always there if we need to bring them in to help,” Rick shares.
“Forerunner was built around exceptional customer relationships that helps our customer’s business grow. The Customer Ownership model allows us to continue to provide that tier-one level of local support that is essential for their business growth,” Paul adds.
- Easy Administration and Quoting
The user-friendly interface of the UNIVERGE BLUE partner portal has helped Forerunner service customers quicker and easier. Paul says “We can go in and easily port over numbers, make adjustments, provision the account, and deploy changes very easily. This is something that has allowed our technical staff to be more efficient in deploying services to customers.”
“With UNIVERGE BLUE, we can deliver a quote almost instantaneously, and something more customized within the same day. With other providers, it can take weeks,” according to Rick.
- Advanced End-User Portals
“The UNIVERGE BLUE Admin Portals are extremely intuitive and easy to use.” Rick continues, “Even the most non-technical clients are able to leverage the portal to make changes to their system. With an on-premises system, even the smallest changes can become labor intensive and costly for IT.”
- Cost-Efficient and Feature-Rich UCaaS
“When we were researching cloud providers, we knew we needed advanced unified communications (UCaaS) features at a reasonable price for our customers. That’s what we get with UNIVERGE BLUE,” Paul shares.
Paul explains why UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES has been gaining popularity with his customers, “By bundling all of the UCaaS features into one integrated application, customers no longer have to maintain relationships with different vendors to get all the features they need in a communications and contact center solution.” Rick adds, “In the past if a customer wanted file sharing, meeting transcriptions, auto attendants, and basic contact center functionality, they would have to use different solutions and vendors. Now, they come to us and we can provide them with all the features they want within one fully integrated solution, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT.”
NEC allows partners to sell under their own brand. The Customer Ownership model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows businesses to better control the end user experience while keeping costs in line.
The tradition of providing clients with reliable and flexible solutions continue as Forerunner transitions into a cloud service technology partner. Since becoming a UNIVERGE BLUE Partner, Forerunner has seen an increase in their efficiency, customer satisfaction, and cost savings that they have been able to pass on to their customers.
Products Forerunner offers:
- Increased IT Operational Efficiency
“One of the greatest things we've seen come out of UNIVERGE BLUE from an operational perspective is shorter implementation timelines and the ease of delivering services to customers,” Rick shares. UNIVERGE BLUE has enabled Forerunner’s IT teams to focus on the core business, instead of having to deal with tricky implementations associated with on-premises hardware and other less intuitive cloud providers’ products.
“The shorter sales and installation cycles have been phenomenal for both our business and our customers’ business,” Paul adds.
- A Better Experience for Forerunner’s Customers
“No matter what a customer or prospect needs in a UCaaS or CCaaS solution, UNIVERGE BLUE offers all the features customers need and want,” Rick explains. “UNIVERGE BLUE gets our customers excited about the possibilities with cloud. It has given them new features and capabilities that they never experienced with a premises-based solution.” For Forerunner, it is paramount to provide reliable solutions in which customers need and want; UNIVERGE BLUE offered Forerunner the opportunity to expand their business within existing customer’s accounts and obtain new business.
Rick elaborates on how the scalability of BLUE is another benefit to customers, “With on-premises systems, it’s difficult and costly for customers to adjust licenses as demand grows. Now, with UNIVERGE BLUE, they can retract or add licenses on an as needed basis – this has benefited our customers greatly.”
- Cost Savings
“UNIVERGE BLUE reduces support costs for us because the services are turnkey and don’t require a lot of troubleshooting.” Paul continues, “UNIVERGE BLUE makes us a lot more profitable in terms of our service margins by freeing up more time. Since we have lower administrative costs, we can focus on supporting our end users and on our corporate strategy going forward.”
In addition to providing Forerunner with cost savings, UNIVERGE BLUE has also been able to provide their customers with cost savings and more features than ever before. “UNIVERGE BLUE has all the UCaaS features and functionality customers need to be productive and collaborative – all at a great price. No other vendor offers such robust features, fully integrated into one solution, especially not at such a competitive price,” Rick concludes.