First American Business Enterprise

Jive Communications

First ABE | February 11, 2018

LogMeIn buys Jive Communications

LogMeIn, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOGM) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Jive Communications, a leading provider of cloud-based phone systems and Unified Communications services and one of the fastest growing players in the Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) space.  LogMeIn (“Log Me In”) the company that offers conferencing services like GoToMeeting and join.me as well other online services to businesses, announced that it would acquire Jive Communications for $342 million in cash.  The deal also includes up to $15 million based on reaching specific milestones.

This announcement underscores how the telecom market continues to see a lot of consolidation.  This is a solid offer for Jive Communications, a Utah-based startup that had raised only around $31 million since it was founded in 2006.

The deal will add a suite of unified communications services that will complement and expand on LogMeIn’s existing collaboration products. Jive has 20,000 customers globally, LogMeIn said. Its primary focus is on VoIP for enterprises, and specifically hosted VoIP.  In the enterprise market the big shift has been from legacy phone services to VoIP so players like Jive are making a lot of inroads as a result. Other competitors to Jive include services like UberConference, Zoom and WebEx.

“Jive’s success in UCaaS is a testament to its modern cloud-based platform, its deliberate focus on customer satisfaction, and its renowned culture of innovation. We believe the combination of Jive’s award-winning voice, video, contact center and mobile applications with our leading collaboration products, GoToMeeting and join.me, will give LogMeIn one of the best and most comprehensive UCC offerings in the market,” said Bill Wagner, President and CEO of LogMeIn, in a statement. “The result is a deal that will accelerate our overall growth, set a new standard in the UCC market, and provide us with a foundation upon which we’ll build the next generation of LogMeIn’s UCC portfolio.”

This deal will give Jive a lot more scale to grow its business. LogMeIn is significantly bigger in terms of market footprint with 25 million users, clocking seven million meetings, and over 900 million conferencing minutes each month.

The deal is expected to close in Q2 of this year.

LogMeIn has been looking for more ways to expand the types of services that it’s providing to its existing user base, as a way to expand its overall revenues. Last summer, the company acquired an Israeli startup called Nanorep, which makes chatbots and other AI-based tools, for about $50 million.

Alexa for Business

First ABE | January 8, 2018

Amazon launches Alexa for Business platform (Nov 2017)

  • voice services to the office

At the most recent AWS re:Invent conference Amazon announced the launched Alexa for Business.   This is a fully managed service targeted at companies by allowing them to deploy Echo devices at scale throughout the workplace. The service will provided improved meeting experiences with a focus on communication and collaboration.

Alexa for Business has (and will have) a strong ecosystem with:  Cisco, Zoom and Polycom (with their in-room conferencing systems), RingCentral (for its cloud-based voice services), Microsoft (for Office 365 and on-premises Exchange servers), and Google.

For example, the RingCentral Meetings for Alexa for Business integration is an example of how voice control will play in the conference room. Users will be able to ask Alexa to launch scheduled meetings. The Amazon for Business management service will map Echo devices to RingCentral Rooms systems for the assignment of Alexa Skills.

The AWS system can respond when you say “Alexa, join my meeting.” The platform will also include Salesforce to answer questions about business performance, Concur to share business travel information, RingCentral for voicemail readings, SAP SuccessFactors for HR, and other third-party voice services for the enterprise.

For voice-based commands outside the meeting room, RingCentral is integrating Alexa Skills with its communications app so that users will be able to ask Alexa to do things like play back and respond to voicemails; send and check SMS messages; and place outbound calls.

Besides being able to configure conference room settings, a company’s technical department will be able to use the Alexa for Business service to do things like provision and manage shared Alexa devices, enable Alexa skills on an individual user and user group basis, and build custom skills through Amazon for Business APIs.

AWS will likely present more at Enterprise Connect 2018 in Orlando this March.    Stay tuned, things are starting to get interesting in the Voice space…

Telecom “In the News”

First ABE | November 18, 2017

Cisco:  Cisco this week posted very solid earnings.  While on the surface it didn’t look that good (flat revenue and earnings) is was much better than Wall Street expected so the stock went up.  Shares of Cisco rallied on Thursday after they wowed Wall Street with better-than-expected earnings.

Cisco said Wednesday that fiscal first-quarter adjusted earnings were 61 cents a share, flat vs. a year earlier, with revenue falling 2% to $12.1 billion.

Cisco also said it expects 1 percent to 3 percent year-over-year revenue growth next quarter, the first inkling of an increase after 8 quarters of declines. The stock rose about 5 percent Thursday after about a dozen Wall Street analysts listed in FactSet raised their earnings expectations for Cisco going forward.

Earlier this year Cisco stepped further into the Unified Communications and Telephony space with its acquisition of BroadSoft (BSFT).

Mitel:  Mitel just this quarter closed its $530 million acquisition of ShoreTel.

The purchase marks one of the largest unified communications mergers in years, creating the No. Two (#2) player in the global UCaaS market.  The UC market is transitioning to the cloud and there are very few on-premises UC vendors left.

The new combined company is laser-focused on winning more deals and taking share from its two biggest UC cloud rivals: 8×8 and RingCentral.

The acquisition will give Mitel annual sales of more than $1.31 billion, according to Ottawa, Canada-based Mitel, and will double Mitel’s UCass revenue to $263 million. The company is also targeting $60 million in cost synergies by 2019.

Ribbon:  Sonus has put the final touches on its merger with Genband, renaming the combined company under the new Ribbon Communications brand.

The name Ribbon is meant to reflect the suite of real-time communications software solutions that the combined company brings to market, according to press materials

Ribbon brings together Sonus’ strengths in real-time virtualization, cloud-based SIP, security, and 4G/voice-over-LTE solutions with Genband’s strengths in network, UC, mobility, and embedded communications/communications platform as a service

Avaya:  Avaya has filed paperwork earlier this month with the intention of coming out of Chapter 11 in December.   They have announced a new Board of Directors and plan to issue stock on one of the stock exchanges.

It appears most of the debt holders are in agreement with the restructured company’s plan on the debt with a key court date for possible approval at the end of November.

Monitoring with First American

If your network is down your business is down.   Have you ever experienced the frustration of your business’s voice network being completely down?  Your contact center?  There are some companies who “react” to issues when they happen and there are some companies who are “proactive”.   The companies who are not proactive generally believe it costs less than being proactive, however when you factor in the cost of down time and lost revenue that is not necessarily the case.

To be proactive in managing your network, it is best to have eyes on your network at all times.  Not just Monday – Friday 8 – 5, but truly on a 7×24 basis.   Proactive monitoring, alarm generation and notification give you those “eyes” even when your staff is not there.   If an outage happens to your voice network on Saturday and you are alerted and able to fix it over the weekend, think how much better that proactive solution is to showing up on Monday morning and then starting your trouble shooting while your business leaders are pressuring you for an answer.

At First American Business Enterprise, our monitoring product suite is focused on two major areas:

1 – Monitoring remote Telephony and IT equipment, and

2 – Giving you secure, simple access to that equipment from anywhere in the world.

Our solution starts with connectivity to your remote site. The solution does this by having a small appliance at every customer location. The appliance is called an ENS and it has all the connectivity and logic to connect to any console. The device supplies access in one of two different ways: 1 – Via a Secure Access Link Tunnel (SALT) through the remote firewall and back to your central location, or 2 – via Modem.

To Monitor or Not

First American’s solution is “Device Agnostic”. As long as the device at the customer’s site has some mechanism for communicating that it is unhappy, we can monitor it.

First American monitoring gives you what you need the most: knowing that there is something wrong with the systems, knowing it before the business user might even know it, and having the ability to fix the issue from anywhere before it has a serious impact on the business’s operations.

Summary:   With First American Business monitoring (part of our full managed services offer) you get on solutions that provides:

  • 24×7 local and remote network monitoring
  • Proactive notification via email
  • Fail over connection
  • Troubleshooting tools
  • Easy Web Browser tools
  • Port History and replay
  • Keyword search and alert
  • Secure remote access

7×24 NOC support from First American Tier III engineers:  Tier III engineers with Lee, Steve and Sean have certifications and are skilled engineers covering ALL Blue and most red systems and applications. Also John (Tier III) and Norm (Tier II) provide SL100 and CS2100 support followed by Tick and Dave (both Tier III) and others.

Customer Success Story

First American Business Enterprise has just successfully completed a 100+ site and system deployment for a major Fortune 100 financial institution called “Branch Deployment” which also included a major CM7 Upgrade Project.  The project was over 2 years in total and on the very day of the final branch deployment our customer sent us this note which says it all:

 

Darryle, Mike, Don, Rich, Kim, and Val:

It is hard to express our appreciation for the amazing work you have done.  Thank you all for the endless hours that each of you spent/are spending working nights and weekends for the past two years – benching, data gathering, end user training, deploying phones, installing switches, installing gateways, FDOB support, adds, moves, changes, ordering, tracking and shipping hardware, etc.  Challenges have been numerus – and your ability to adapt to the constant change in procedures has been outstanding. The dedication, professionalism and team effort that each of you have shown has been immensely impressive.  Congratulations on a job well done!

 

Lauren and Lin:

Lauren, your diligence, dedication and ownership has been a source of inspiration for everyone on the team.  You and Lin have done an outstanding job in keeping the wheels turning and on track for two years – processing 270 Cisco orders – managing and storing HW – plus weekly deliveries; 167 Avaya orders, and 167 site travel arrangements/expenses, managing and delivering billing on time – it’s been absolutely crazy – and not once did we have a travel hiccup or major invoice delay.  Thank you all for your efforts and for an outstanding job.  

*** Mark – again – you should be so very proud of your team – First American has delivered yet another successful job! **

Wishing everyone the best for exciting times ahead.  I am looking forward to our next endeavor together. 

 

Project Statistics:  Branch Deployment Project:

  • # of sites deployed – 167
  • # of systems deployed per month (max) – 12
  • # of systems reverted back to the old system – zero!
  • # of people on the project – 6 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –22 months
  • # etc. etc. – 2 maternity leaves (diff people)

Project Statistics:  CM7 Upgrade:

  • # of sites upgraded –182
  • # of systems upgraded per month (max) – 45
  • # of people on the project – 4 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –7 months

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

First ABE | September 18, 2017

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

As a leading provider of international carrier services, Convergia offers a comprehensive portfolio of quality managed services, while focusing on customer needs and providing reliable business solutions.

First American Business (ABE and ABS), as a leading Enterprise and Government provider of nationwide dispatch technicians, installation engineers, and training around voice & contact center support services, offers a tactical complement.

Lately, First American and Convergia have been working on a number of opportunities.  In particular, First ABE leverages Convergia’s:

  • Wholesale DID prices – which are up to 50% lower than other international providers, through their CLEC network
  • Wholesale toll free service includes a variety of cost-effective tools designed that will expand a customer’s communications capabilities
  • Wholesale Sip Trunking
  • Wholesale SMS bulk and two way SMS messaging service.

On the Business side of things Convergia has a solid portfolio of:

Convergia is a powerful Global Provider of Telecom Solutions

To Monitor or Not

If your network is down your business is down.   Have you ever experienced the frustration of your business’s voice network being completely down?  Your contact center?  On one hand it is a nice feeling “hey, my phone is not ringing so I can get a lot of work done”.   Then it dawns on you… your customers can’t call you; they get frustrated; they start to think about alternatives to doing business with your company!

There are some companies who “react” to issues when they happen and there are some companies who are “proactive”.   The companies who are not proactive generally believe it costs less than being proactive, however when you factor in the cost of down time and lost revenue that is not necessarily the case.

To be proactive in managing your network, it is best to have eyes on your network at all times.  Not just Monday – Friday 8 – 5, but truly on a 7×24 basis.   Proactive monitoring, alarm generation and notification give you those “eyes” even when your staff is not there.   If an outage happens to your voice network on Saturday and you are alerted and able to fix it over the weekend, think how much better that proactive solution is to showing up on Monday morning and then starting your trouble shooting while your business leaders are pressuring you for an answer.

At First American Business Enterprise, our monitoring product suite is focused on two major areas:

  1. Monitoring remote Telephony and IT equipment, and
  2. Giving you secure, simple access to that equipment from anywhere in the world.

Our solution starts with connectivity to your remote site. The solution does this by having a small appliance at every customer location. The appliance is called an ENS and it has all the connectivity and logic to connect to any console. The device supplies access in one of two different ways: 1 – Via a Secure Access Link Tunnel (SALT) through the remote firewall and back to your central location, or 2 – via Modem.

To Monitor or Not

First American’s solution is “Device Agnostic”. As long as the device at the customer’s site has some mechanism for communicating that it is unhappy, we can monitor it.

First American monitoring gives you what you need the most: knowing that there is something wrong with the systems, knowing it before the business user might even know it, and having the ability to fix the issue from anywhere before it has a serious impact on the business’s operations.

Summary:   With First American Business monitoring (part of our full managed services offer) you get on solutions that provides:

  • 24×7 local and remote network monitoring
  • Proactive notification via email
  • Fail over connection
  • Troubleshooting tools
  • Easy Web Browser tools
  • Port History and replay
  • Keyword search and alert
  • Secure remote access

Mitel to buy ShoreTel

Mitel is at it again!   On July 27, Mitel announced it was purchasing ShoreTel in an all cash transaction.   This follows the announcement on May 11th that Mitel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer assets and support obligations, including existing inventory, from Toshiba.

Mitel is based in Canada (Ottawa) and has annual revenues of about $850 million.

The premise PBX market continues to shrink and as the Cloud telephony business ramps up, there was not enough runway for the likes of Shoretel and Toshiba to make the transition.

Combining the two companies catapults Mitel to number two in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, according to the company.

With the stroke of a pen, Mitel now has almost doubled its UCaaS revenue to $263 million, and there will be other efficiencies achieved by combining the two companies with similar markets.

“This is a very natural combination that enables us to continue to consolidate the industry and take advantage of cost synergy opportunities while adding new technologies and significant cloud growth to our business,” Mitel CEO Rich McBee said in a statement.

$1.3 Bil in Revenue:  The combined companies will have approximately $1.3 Billion in annual revenue.  In addition when combined will have 3200 channel partners and 4200 employees worldwide.

Financial highlights of the transaction include:

  • Combined sales of $1.3 billion*
  • Increases Mitel’s total recurring revenue to 39% of total revenue*
  • More than doubles Mitel’s UCaaS revenue to $263 million*
  • Significant synergy opportunity targeted at $60M in annual run rate spend expected to be achieved over two years

The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder review before it can close.

The combined company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate as Mitel. Rich McBee, Mitel’s Chief Executive Officer, will lead the combined organization. Steve Spooner, Mitel’s Chief Financial Officer, will also continue in that role.

Mitel to buy Toshiba’s Telecom division

In blog #34 (March ’17) we posted that Toshiba was shutting down its Telecom division headquartered in Irvine CA.  At the time of the announcement it was a pure shut down… Toshiba did not try to sell their Telecommunications division but simply decided to shut it down.

The premise PBX market continues to shrink and as the Cloud telephony business ramps up, there was not enough runway for Toshiba to make the transition.  Toshiba sales have been declining for some time and the company has become far less visible and innovative than many of its competitors. Toshiba made an excellent PBX that competed with small business systems from the likes of Panasonic, Mitel, and NEC.

Toshiba had been losing some of its pull in the industry, it was still a shocking decision considering that the company has about a 3% market share in the U.S.

Fast forward to May ’17 and we learn that Mitel is picking up the parts from the Toshiba telecommunications business.

A little about Mitel:  They are based in Canada (Ottawa) and have annual revenues of about $850 million.

On May 3rd Mitel announced Q1 financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

Mitel announced they too are taking proactive cost reduction actions to align its operating expenses with its current business needs. This includes a workforce reduction of approximately 10% expected to be completed between now and the end of the year.

Financial Highlights from Continuing Operations

  Q1 2016
in millions
(except per share data)
Q1 2017   Historical
Currency
GAAP Revenues $223.1   $233.0
GAAP Net Income (Loss) ($19.7)   ($11.8)
Non-GAAP Net Income2 $10.9 $10.5
GAAP EPS – basic ($0.16)   ($0.10)

Mitel Business Highlights this quarter included:

  • Recurring cloud seats grew by 45,000 during the quarter and now stand at 588,000
  • Working with a large service provider, Mitel is transitioning 10,000 employees of a second large European-based auto manufacturer from premise to a cloud-based Unified Communications solution.
  • A Midwestern US-based furniture retailer with more than 65 locations and an on-line presence selected MiCloud Enterprise and MiCloud Contact Center to connect all locations, centralize answering, and manage their advanced contact center needs including callback in queue and multi-media requirements.  The system is all hosted by Mitel. 

Mitel, on Thursday May 11th signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer assets and support obligations, including existing inventory, from Toshiba to Mitel. The agreement also includes a transition of product and services agreements from Toshiba customers to Mitel.

Mitel expects to close on the Toshiba deal this summer.

Besides transferring their existing inventory, Mitel will also be transferring all of their service and maintenance contracts to Mitel, so that Toshiba customers continue to have support as they move forward.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mitel made its last acquisition in 2015 with the purchase of cloud-based UC provider Mavenir. The vendor made a bid to buy Polycom last year, although the deal fell through.

Verizon exits Cloud

Verizon Enterprise Solutions on Tuesday (5/2) said it had reached a deal for IBM to buy its cloud and managed hosting services. No value of the sales price was indicated.

Verizon says it will still sell services to “securely and reliably connect to their cloud resources” – this is presumably Verizon carrier and transport security services which will allow customers to “connect” to the various cloud providers in the industry.   With this sale to IBM, Verizon just won’t be hosting applications on its cloud infrastructure, which it gained by acquiring Terramark in 2011 for $1.4bn.

This news with IBM follows the earlier announcement where Equinix announced it would pay $3.6bn for Verizon’s 29 datacenter locations.

Verizon had ambitions of moving into the cloud back in 2011 when it acquired Terremark.

The acquisition by IBM is expected to close later this year.

As George Fischer, SVP and group president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, notes in the announcement, IBM and Verizon will work together on a number of “strategic initiatives” that will involve networking and cloud services. “This agreement presents a great opportunity for Verizon Enterprise Solutions (VES) and our customers,” Fischer writes. “It is the latest development in an ongoing IT strategy aimed at allowing us to focus on helping our customers securely and reliably connect to their cloud resources and utilize cloud-enabled applications.”

It appears Verizon never reached the scale to compete with other infrastructure cloud providers like Amazon, IBM and Microsoft.

With this move, IBM bolsters its position in the private cloud and managed hosting space to help them better compete.