What is a ‘Real’ Multi-Tenant Solution

My Post (2)In today’s market, a real Multi-Tenant solution is capable of handling multiple customers (tenants) on a single server. A multi-tenant solution will be most competitive if it is a hosted model. This is because the actual software your customer will be using is not the ‘tenant’, but their server is.

A Multi-Tenant solution shares the same resources with all of its tenants. For both resellers and customers, there are many benefits when implementing a multi-tenant function. To learn the benefits of a multi-tenant solution, read our previous blog post on ‘The Benefits of Multi-Tenancy for Resellers & Users’.

Aside from being available in the cloud, we compiled a list of things that your Multi Tenant should have to be a ‘real’ or ‘true’ Multi-Tenant Solution.

Price
The software development and maintenance costs are shared with a Multi-Tenant solution. By sharing the same single server for multiple customers, you are using fewer resources. The reseller is significantly cutting costs and these savings can decrease customers operating costs.

Scalability
When upgrades and new versions are released, it is easier to manage these updates with customers on a hosted Multi-Tenant solution. The reseller has the ability to release the updates more easily through the cloud, instead of installing new hardware. This saves time and money for both the reseller and the customer because time is not wasted traveling to the customer, installing the physical hardware or having to stop operations during the update. The reseller only has to release the update once and all tenants will receive it.

Diversity
Hosted Multi-Tenant solutions allow resellers to expand their target market. Everything can be managed online and they no longer have to visit their many customers to set up the servers. Hosted Multi-tenant solutions are more affordable than a single-tenant solution and this attracts different customers with different budgets. Multi-Tenant also allows you to have a variety of different size customers.

Some PBX and Unified Communications Features

  • CRM Application Integration
  • Screen Sharing
  • Call Rating
  • Hot Desking
  • Customization
  • Compatible with most IP Phones
  • Call Recording

Most companies offer hosted and on-premise solutions for their PBX products. Both options have their pros and cons and it ultimately comes down to the needs of the company. Hosted solutions have several more advantages and features than on-premise. To learn more about the features of Hosted Telephony, read this previous blog post.

As a reseller, do not let service providers trick you. If your Multi-Tenant solution does not offer competitive pricing, ease of scalability, ability to reach a diverse market or the features mentioned in this post you do not have today’s latest Multi-Tenant solution.

Bicom Systems PBXware Multi-Tenant edition is our most popular product! Our Multi-Tenant edition enables you to increase efficiency in the workplace and transform the way you conduct business in the same way the Business and Call Center Editions do. To learn more about Bicom Systems Multi-Tenant solution have a peek at our product overview brochure or email us at sales@bicomsystems.com.

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The Benefits of Multi-Tenancy for Resellers & Users

multi-tenancyAs our industry continues its ongoing shift to the Cloud, one decision that many vendors are facing is whether to continue selling a dedicated solution or upgrade to multi-tenancy.

Multi-tenancy is a type of architecture where one single instance of your software and its infrastructure supports multiple customers (tenants). True MT solutions are only available in the Cloud.

Similar to housing, a dedicated solution is like owning a home – the whole thing is yours to occupy, finance, and maintain. A multi-tenant solution is like an apartment or townhouse that has a rented space in a shared structure.

Both scenarios have benefits and drawbacks. Owning a home may seem ideal, unless you are tired of being responsible when things inevitably break, are concerned about intruders, and wish you did not have to shovel your driveway on those cold winter mornings. In the same way, real-estate agents may crave the consistency of collecting monthly rent checks rather than always chasing the next big sale.

Getting back to technology, the benefits of multi-tenancy can be summarized in three big categories:

1. LOWER COSTS

Multi-tenant architecture is more cost-effective for both the vendor and the customer.

For the reseller:  On your end, you need only to develop, maintain, and support one solution to serve all of your customers. This will be less expensive than selling and supporting multiple dedicated servers and solutions.

For the user: Consumers like the multi-tenant pricing model of paying a set monthly subscription rather than a hefty up-front investment and unexpected bills down the line. There are no hardware or maintenance costs and they do not require IT expertise on-site.

Sharing the financial burden is a benefit to all parties involved.

2. MORE FLEXIBILITY

Despite the lower costs, multi-tenant architecture actually opens up more possibilities than a dedicated solution.

For the reseller: As a vendor, having all of your users on one instance makes it easy to customize individual preferences. Your MT interface will put all users in one place so it is quick and easy to add or remove customers, select the features one individual wants, or change the number of seats for another. Experience has shown us that selling dedicated platforms can lead to growth, but the work involved will become too much to manage. The scalability of multi-tenancy is the key to sustainable growth.

For the user: Your customers will love the flexibility offered to them as well. Rather than buying a one-size-fits-all solution with some features they do not really need and missing others that they want, they can pick and choose what to include in their solution and pay accordingly.

3. LESS WORK

Cutting out busywork and saving time is a top priority in our busy industry. Multi-tenant architecture does both.

For the reseller: Selling multi-tenancy is extremely easy. On-boarding new customers is quick and simple. Once you have your software instance and first customer set-up, adding new users will be mostly automated. The process will be the same for each customer and takes little more than a few clicks of your mouse. In the same way, software updates and upgrades can be done one time for all users. Forget the days of lengthy set-ups and updates for each and every user. Leave that headache in the past.

For the user: Your multi-tenant customers will enjoy less busywork as well. They do not have to worry about any: installations, maintenance, support, upgrades, or security. You will take care of all of those things, so they are free to focus on running their business.

Ready to upgrade to a multi-tenant solution?

Our Multi-Tenant PBX gives Telecom Service Providers a powerful platform to serve the IP PBX market in the cloud as a VoIP switch. Unlimited Hosted IP PBX Multi-Tenants, Unlimited resellers, user/company self-portal, and LCR are just some of the advanced features included with desktop applications to support. The system may be used as a Class 4 or Class 5 softswitch/voipswitch with multi-tenancy architecture. Learn more about Multi-Tenant PBX here or contact us today.

Breaking the Silence on Skyswitch

skyswitchThough we have discussed our competitors a number of times on this blog, it is never something that I like to do. I am a firm believer in “rising above,” especially in a professional setting. But the “marketing” efforts coming out of a company called SkySwitch have pushed even me to the point of breaking my silence.

SkySwitch is again using the search phrase “Bicom Systems” in an attempt drive traffic to their website. (A piece of advice – if your own brand name is not bringing in enough traffic, there are thousands of industry-relevant keywords to focus on before resorting to other companies’ brand names.)

This time they are proclaiming that “it’s time to cheat on Bicom Systems.” At the risk of stooping to their level of using immature, inflammatory language in what should be a professional setting – dare we throw out the phrase “if they will cheat with you, they will cheat on you.” Of course business partnerships are not really like marriages, but trust is an important part of both. Our advice to you: choose a partner that values integrity and trust.

As far as I can tell, SkySwitch is claiming that subscribers of all major communications providers (the document I was given is clearly not specific to Bicom Systems) should switch to them on the basis of nine reasons. I will respond to each of these as concisely as possible and include evidence so you can come to your own conclusions. (Yes, we are confident enough in our own solutions and partners to transparently discuss potential issues.)

1. “You know there are problems before you (SIC) provider does”

Their first claim is that your business may be in trouble and no one will notice. Bicom Systems developed SIP Monitoring and SIP Security modules for this exact purpose. Issues will not only be identified, but even fixed automatically.

2. “No escalation procedure in place”

You can see our escalation procedure here: www.bicomsystems.com/support (I guess SkySwitch didn’t do their research before putting pen to paper.)

We whole-heartedly agree with their claim that “problems happen”. No provider is perfect and bugs will arise with Bicom Systems or SkySwitch or any other provider. However, after 15 years of experience, our team of technical support engineers and telecommunications experts responds to support tickets quickly and efficiently. But don’t take our word for it – check out our customer reviews here: blog.bicomsystems.com/customer-reviews.

Going one step further, SkySwitch claims that your platform is “connected to many carriers and third-party providers.  While most problems within your service provider’s own platform should be easily solved, those that originate outside their platform may require cooperation among a number of companies.” On the contrary, Bicom Systems partners typically do not require other carriers or third-party providers as we have all of the pieces in-house, thus avoiding many compatibility issues in the first place.

3. “Poor Processes = Poor Performance”

“There are reasons to have solid procedures in place when customers report issues or open trouble tickets.” Again, see our support procedures here: www.bicomsystems.com/support

Our support team put together efficient support and escalation procedures years ago. This is not something that occurs naturally in a company, but rather something that needs dedication, organization, and experience to perfect.

4. “Poor SLA Delivery”

We sign an SLA (Service Level Agreement) with all of our partners. You can see it here: www.bicomsystems.com/files/public/corporate/SLA.pdf.

May we also point out that we have more staff in our Support Department than SkySwitch has total staff. Our support team is spread across three continents for maximum reach and availability.

5. “Data Leakage Among Clients”

SkySwitch expresses a concern that data may be leaked between partners in the absence of a true multi-tenant platform. Fortunately for us and our partners, Bicom Systems actually developed one of the first multi-tenant platforms with unlimited extensions and tenants. We guarantee 100% scalability and elasticity to our partners and resellers, so of course we have the same capacity internally by default. Learn about our Multi-Tenant platform here: www.bicomsystems.com/products/multi-tenant-pbx

See our Privacy Policy here: www.bicomsystems.com/legal/policies/privacy_policy

6. “Tax Compliance Failure”

Our partners typically use our in-house billing software and integrate it with the Tax Provider of their choice. Again, we are more than happy to work on an individual basis and develop custom solutions when necessary. Read more in our TELCOware manual.

7. “More Iron to Support Growth”

SkySwitch points out an interesting difference between hosted and cloud solutions. “In a hosted solution, there is often hardware and servers specifically dedicated to servicing a particular client. Servers may need to be added to address the growth of that client or support premium features such as on demand call recording.” Not to worry, Bicom Systems offers true, high-availability cloud solutions that support scalability – both up and down – with just the click of a button. Read our definition of “cloud” here: blog.bicomsystems.com/what-is-cloud-communications

And we’ll add here that we are not limited to the cloud, but also have hosted, premise, and even Key Systems. Growth can happen however is best for your company.

8. “Insisting on Long-Term Contracts”

We offer our hosted and rented solutions with 30-day contracts. It never occurred to us to make them longer – to date no one has stopped paying.

9. “Provider Diversity is Met With Dismay”

On the contrary, many of our customers come to us from legacy situations. We always value the knowledge gained by working with other providers. With partners around the globe, diversity is no stranger to Bicom Systems and we have developed custom solutions to ensure compatibility with third parties many times.

In conclusion, if you are interested in Bicom Systems or already a partner and experiencing any issues or discontentment – just give us a call. To date, we have not lost any of our partners to SkySwitch. We are happy to chat about what’s going on and work together to a solution. It is not unusual for us to develop custom solutions for individual partners to ensure they are getting exactly what they need. Check out some examples here: blog.bicomsystems.com/category/custom-work 

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3 Steps to Telecom Success: Part 1 Sustainable Growth

telecom growth15 years of conversations with partners and clients have taught us a thing or two about succeeding in the world of telecommunications. Three things, really.

In our experience, no telecom will succeed without pursuing these three goals:

  1. Sustainable growth
  2. Increased profit
  3. Loyal customers

These may sound mundane enough, but how many of us actually know how to increase our profit? We can talk about earning customer loyalty all day, but can we actually attain it?

In our next few posts we’ll tackle these issues one by one and offer realistic suggestions on how to actively pursue these goals.

Jumping right in: Sustainable Growth. Key word being sustainable. Short-term growth can be great and exciting, but if it doesn’t extend into the long-term, what was the point of it?

The first step to sustainable growth is a simple one: you need a platform that will support growth. There are too many providers out there that will give you a functional, cheap – maybe even great – platform, but once you start to grow it fails you. Before even thinking about growth, find a platform that supports scalability with unlimited extensions and tenants, great customer support, and an upgrade plan already in place (see also: How To Grow Your Telecom with a Multi-Tenant PBX).

Once your growth-friendly platform is in place, it is time to create a plan to future-proof your business. You are about to start growing, let’s make sure you know what to do next. Ideally your provider should have a working roadmap in place and offer customized support for your company specifically.

A large part of this future-proofing is following the trends: both current and future. Failure to jump aboard the latest trends will not only decelerate growth, it can throw you off the tracks entirely. Now is the time to adopt popular technologies like UCaaS, integration, or mobility (see also: One More Card for Your Hand). The benefits of add-ons like these are twofold: one, to start growing now; and two, to sustain that growth into the future.

It goes without saying that adding more technology to your offering will enable you to widen your customer base, expand to new markets, and make more sales. But the real value is that these add-ons will enable your solution to compete with newer, more modern options into the future. Partnering with a provider that researches and stays ahead of the trends (so that you don’t have to!) is simply invaluable.

A final way to extend growth beyond the temporary is to take matters into your own hands. Stop the monotonous routine of selling someone else’s solution day after day and year after year; start building and investing in your own brand. Yes, by all means partner with a great provider, but choose one that invests in your success as a company. By shifting the focus from earning sales for someone else to your own paycheck, you will be much more aware of – and in control of – your growth.

If these methods of generating sustainable growth sound like something you want for your own company, please reach out to us today. Our experienced account managers would love to chat and learn all about your unique situation. Contact us here: www.bicomsystems.com/contact

Stay tuned for the next post in this series: How to increase profit.

 

Don’t Play Jenga with Your Customers and Profits

multi-tenantDo you remember the game Jenga? Popular in the 80s and 90s, kids everywhere tried to keep their hands steady as they gently slid blocks out of a teetering tower and continued building upwards until it all fell down. Hmm, sounds familiar in more way than one.

It is starting to come up with more frequency: customers dedicating a VM for each of their FreePBX instances per customer, trying desperately to attain some form of multi-tenant or multi-office PBX. Sure, it works at first and seems a simple and easy solution. But as you add more and more customers, it begins chewing up more and more IPs. Eventually you have a mile long list list of logins and IPs for each system and customer. One wrong move and your Jenga tower will crumble.

With the inevitable collapse comes the nightmare of migrating all of your customers and settings to a new platform. Just what you were trying to avoid, right?

The good news is that bona fide multi-tenant solutions do exist. With the right solution, you can build from the ground up on a firm foundation instead of playing Jenga with your customers and profits. For example, Bicom Systems offers both rented and hosted multi-tenant PBX solutions that support rapid and sustainable growth.

To learn more, contact us or visit our website today!

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