CallCabinet Interview with CloudCo Partner’s Mike Evanisko
Recently I spoke with Mike Evanisko from our new partner company CloudCo. Click the audio link to listen. Transcript (edited for clarity) provided below.
Listen to interview
CC: Hi, I’m Brian Gocher, and I am CallCabinet’s marketing writer and blogger—and I’m talking with Mike Evanisko from CloudCo. We just partnered at CallCabinet with CloudCo and, we’re going to chat today about the Cloud industry, how it’s changing, about the partnership that CloudCo has just made with CallCabinet, and where things are going in the future for us.
Mike E: Hey, how’s it going.
CC: It’s going well. It’s good to have you on. Let’s get right into it. Why don’t you tell us about CloudCo, and about the markets that you service, what kind of products that you provide to your customers?
Mike E: Yeah sure. So, CloudCo partner is a channel-focused Cloud services distributor. We’re concentrated on transforming and improving the way resellers and service providers deliver Cloud software to their customers.
CC: Tell us about why CloudCo stands out.
Mike E: We really focus on simplifying the vast offerings that are available in today’s market. I mean everyone sees it—there’s Cloud this, Cloud that, it’s everywhere, so it can be a little overwhelming to determine what you should work with, what products are good, what’s bad, and how to actually deliver these services to your customer. We also ensure that all of our vendors are a channel-focused company and their products meet the needs of our partners. So, we’re really big on the channel here at CloudCo Partner.
CC: And talk about the great group of people you got working with you over there, and your approach to taking care of your customers.
Mike E: We also pride ourselves on personalized sales, tactical training, and a certified support staff to allow all of our partners to enter the Cloud market rapidly and achieve profitability really quickly. Sometimes it can take months or even years once you start selling Cloud services to achieve profitability.
CC: And what kind of markets are you interfacing with more and more these days as the Cloud service business grows.
Mike E: The markets we primarily focus on are the voice over IP and communications markets. We really try to hone in on the products and services that support those markets, but we also focus on some ancillary markets such as infrastructure as a service and billing as a service. Those are also really important our resellers and partners who are delivering those services to their end-customer. They need everything it takes to provide a really cohesive product for their customers.
We’re seeing a massive drop in premise-based phone systems. Those onsite servers are really starting to dwindle. —Mike Evanisko, CloudCo
CC: Speaking of customers, let’s talk about your customers and resellers. Talk about the people that are working with you and that you’re providing products to.
Mike E: So, we work with a lot of US-based resellers and service providers. Most of them are managed service providers delivering I.T. products, backup-as-a-service, network management, things of that nature. Or, they’re a voice-over-IP service provider that is providing a hosted phone system to various customers. This is a huge market now as we all know, so these guys are across the country. Your local I.T. shop just doing this every day. And they’re faced with trying to determine which hosted phone system to go for, which call recording software is right. We’re here to help them make those decisions.
CC: That’s great. So, Mike how did you get started with CloudCo?
Mike E: I’ve been in the VoIP industry for about 15 years now. I’m also the CTO of another company called 888-VoIP which is a hardware distributor.
CC: Oh yeah. It’s well known.
Mike E: Yes. So we’ve been providing hardware and software licenses for customers for a long time as the market’s changed over the years. We realized that we really needed to have a better, stronger Cloud offering. We just kept seeing a lot of frustration from our partners. They’d be given a software license but then they had to go figure out what to do with it. They typically would have put it on a premise-based phone system, but now things are easier to move to the Cloud. There’s much more reliability and support. We really wanted to provide an end-to-end solution for them which is why we created CloudCo.
CC: So let’s talk about the industry as a whole. You talked about how businesses are finding it easier to move to the Cloud these days and how the premise model is kind of on-the-wane.
Mike E: We’re seeing a massive drop in premise-based phone systems. Those onsite servers are really starting to dwindle. We’re all seeing a large drop in PSTN phone lines. Obviously voice over IP phone lines are much more stable now as the Internet across the country becomes faster. Those markets used to be huge—especially in our hardware side. We used to sell a ton of premise-based servers and physical gateways, and it’s pretty much dropped off considerably unless you’re in a rural market.
CC: So why do you think that is?
Mike E: It’s really the infrastructure of service providers. It’s come a long, long way. You used to post things in the Cloud, but it was a little dicey in terms of the software side. They may have not installed properly in a Cloud data center, most of the Cloud data centers really didn’t have proper bandwidth, or redundancy, or location in the country. Those are all factors in this. Another major factor is , and this is something we saw specifically, is the sharing of resources in the Cloud infrastructure. Many of them are built for more standard applications and not so much phone system-focused applications, like hosting a website. So, say you’re on a server that isn’t actually processing live phone calls, when your resources are shared you don’t notice if there’s peaks and lulls in the day. You’re not hearing it, right? But when you’re using a phone system, and it’s the middle of day, and you’re using a shared Cloud, you’ll actually hear jitter on the call. Your customers will call and complain. That’s one of the things we focused on, and we pride ourselves on our VoIP-focused infrastructure, because it’s not shared. Everything you pay for is what you get and it works flawlessly.
CC: Yeah. You don’t always get what you pay for some of the some of the solutions out there that are for VoIP and for Cloud are very dicey, and under the hood they’re just virtual machine technology that are not true Cloud solutions. Why don’t you talk about our partnership and what we’re going to be providing together.
Mike E: Sure. Yeah. So we’re always looking for new vendors and we really like to be careful about it. We don’t like to add five of the same type of vendors and have them battle it out. We really like to take our time and find that vendor that fills a void for our partners instead of overwhelming them with offerings. For the past few years our partners have asked us what to do about compliance. It’s becoming a really complex industry as government has more control to force and more things upon us. Then CallCabinet shows up, we saw them at a few shows. We looked into then and were thought wow, this is an amazing product. This answers all these questions we’ve been getting the past few years solves it in one swoop. And it’s also an over-the-top solution—
CC: Oh, yeah it is.
Mike E: …which was huge for us because our partners either have their own homebrew solution, or they’re using proprietary software like Asterix, Free Switch, Vodia or any of a ton of other solutions out there. So having an over-the-top solution from CallCabinet means they can provide these extra features like quality assurance, call compliance, A.I. and analytics, it makes it really easy to bring into our vendor lists and for partners to buy.
CC: Let’s talk for a minute about what kind of customers CloudCo works with who’ve realized that they need to get their compliance game in order and come up to speed.
Mike E: There are two examples I always like to refer to when I’m talking to our partners. It’s two ways to look at businesses. In one, you can talk to your end customer and refer them to the cost of employees, in the other you can to a business about knowing their day-to-day business trends. If we look at the cost of employees, we think of a business that has dedicated QA representatives. It’s usually a bigger company that will have an entire team of them, could be 5, 10, 15, 20 people. The cost of these employees is huge, it’s massive. And these employees can either spend their days manually reviewing call logs, or they can purchase a product like CallCabinet’s [Atmos]. Now that same end customer, if they purchase [Atmos], can have that same staff working more efficiently because now they can dig into a higher volume of calls versus missing a lot of them, or they can reduce headcount. Now they’ve saved a ton of money and overhead. It’s a massive cost savings.
CC: And there’s no reason to ever do random call sampling again. It’s like if you had a school, and there was an outbreak, and you just decided to send every tenth student home. That’s random call sampling. That’s how effective it is.
Mike E: Exactly, exactly.
CC: I think now that we have the tools to use artificial intelligence and ask our data questions directly, it’s all going to come down to whether or not you adopt it in time to beat your competitors.
Mike E: The other side of it is businesses that maybe aren’t subject to compliance laws, but are focused on business growth. Atmos can help out immensely there, too. You have the ability to use the A.I. and analytics of [Atmos] to review all of your calls, and find out “hey. my customers are asking about support or service for this specific product and they’re calling about it 50 times a day.” Then the company knows they need to dedicate a cue, or an employee that specializes to that issue. Or another one I always bring up is say you’re launching a promotion for a new product, and you want your salespeople to tell every customer about it for the next month, because you’ve got to hit a goal with a vendor or increase revenue. Atmos can analyze all those calls for you and then determine if your sales reps are actually doing it every day. That’s just invaluable.
Most people don’t realize that you cannot take a credit card number over the phone and keep that call recorded. You have to have that data redacted. —Mike Evanisko, CloudCo
CC: Switching topics let’s talk about security for a minute. When you promise your customers compliance you might be talking about a lot of different things because different industries have different compliance laws. But security is a paramount issue when talking about compliance. And one of the problems we wanted to solve was how to stay compliant while sharing data from location to location so, the obvious solution was to use the Cloud. Because, when you have a company that’s spread across multiple geographical locations, they break compliance just by sharing call data with each other. However, if the call data is all stored in the Cloud, and obviously your locations have access to the Cloud, you’re never changing the location of the data. You remain compliant. So, Mike, talk about your customers and their security concerns.
Mike E: Security is extremely important, as you mention, but most of the customers aren’t even considering it, to be honest. We bring it up. They say “oh, wow! I didn’t realize that, especially when it comes to compliance”. Most of the customers don’t realize that it’s a security compliance issue to record or store those phone calls on a non-compliant system. What CallCabinet has done is made a secure way of moving all those all those calls to their secure cloud. Now being in the infrastructure-as-a-service business, it’s very difficult to provide a PCI-compliant secure setup in the Cloud, but they’ve done it. It takes a lot of work, it’s not easy. Your average phone system cannot do that. So, it allows you to go in and sell to these customers that are really security concerned without changing the existing platform.
CC: And the secure facility is actually the next topic I want to hit with you. We use the Azure network for Atmos, and we do that because we’ve seen so many more multitenant operations need to be compliant with their calls—but you can’t share call data from location to location without breaking compliance, so the solution was to make sure the data never changes location. When you put it all in the Cloud, like we do with our solution, these multitenant operations can share data with each other, and maintain compliance. Is CloudCo seeing its resellers tackle more multitenant designs, or is it still really a single location customer base?
Mike E: No, it’s definitely becoming more prevalent to see multitenant operations. You’re starting to see the resellers learning all they need to for selling multitenant solutions. They’ve got their customers spread on systems located all over the place. So, moving those calls through the Atmos system securely is huge, especially when it comes to redaction of credit card numbers and things like that. Most people don’t realize that you cannot take a credit card number over the phone and keep that call recorded. You have to have that data redacted.
CC: You said a lot of people don’t really even think about security—
Mike E: They don’t.
CC: That’s OK because we’re thinking about it. Let’s round it up by talking about the financial benefits of what we offer together, and how easy it is to deploy.
Mike E: The financial benefits are enormous. It’s one of the reasons why we really didn’t approach call recording prior to discovering CallCabinet’ Atmos product. The previous systems in place were extremely expensive, and for most of our partners that service small businesses, it was out of their price range. Just impossible. They would have to have a special phone if they really wanted to do this right, so there was no easy solution. You would spend 10 to 20 thousand dollars on a large, premise-based system. The monthly fees would be crazy. The financial benefits of Atmos are far better. You’re just paying for how many calls you’re going to record in the Cloud. And it’s a very low monthly fee with no hardware no hardware. You don’t need anything additional for the majority of systems. All you require is a simple secure script on a server that connects back to CallCabinet’s Atmos platform and you’re done.
CC: That doesn’t take very long. Even if it’s a multitenant operation, right?
Mike E: Yeah, for most VoIP systems that we see and support, it’s just a simple script that goes on the Linux OS. It takes all of two minutes to set up. It’s one of the easiest things we do.
CC: We also notice that our users are really happy to not have to take care of the maintenance costs, because that was half of what made it impossible to sell a call recording system back when they were behemoths.
Mike E: When you went with a premise solution, you had to worry about storage space, fix hard drives, increase size, and always keep an eye on it. That’s a lot of work for a reseller. Nowadays it’s just a great thing to add on to any sale. We tell our partners they should always have it in the back of their mind and be thinking about it.
CC: That’s great. We couldn’t be more excited to be partnered with Cloud and to be to be working with you.
Mike E: Yeah likewise, the same. We’re extremely excited. I mean just to the AI piece alone is so amazing, it’s creepy to agree, but it’s so powerful.
CC: That actually reminds me I do want to talk about AI just for a second. Do you find that your customers are aware, or do your resellers have to educate them on the power of using A.I. to sift through their customer data, to evaluate agents, and to maybe even look for new business opportunities? Are your resellers starting to feel a push towards A.I. from their customers?
Mike E: Yeah. And I really think they’re just starting to think about it too. That’s the thing they didn’t really realize that they could have a solution like this that was so cost effective. Prior, this would just be too much, it wouldn’t be worth it. They’re better off just manually listening to phone calls and and going the old school way. With a product like Atmos, now they can actually have a low point cost of entry, and they can do this and provide this for their customers. And, on top of that when they’re telling their end customer—when that reseller is over talking to that customer that business owner and he tells them he can provide them this level of capabilities. I mean this is something they wouldn’t have imagined they could have done in their home business. This is something you think oh, only Google can do that, only Microsoft can do that. You can do it now yourself within your own business with this product.
CC: Yeah. We find that really exciting. I find that very often I have to convince people that A.I. has nothing to do with drones turning on you or etc. That it’s an education process we’re always trying to get people to use the technology that we’re giving them, because you don’t just resolve disputes with it you can actually, you can really train your agents, it’s not just about the bad calls. There’s the good ones out there too. And that data is vital, but you’ll never be able to show it to your staff if you if you can’t even find it.
Mike E: Exactly. I mean you know who your top sales rep is in a company. Take a look at his calls record them with Atmos. See what he’s talking about. It’s a perfect training exercise for the rest of the sales force. I guarantee you he’s hitting on a lot more points in comparison to the other people.
CC: Well well this has been Brian Gocher from CallCabinet and Mike Evans go from CloudCo partner—our new partner—Mike, thanks for being here with us and we’ll talk to you soon.
Mike E: Cool. Thanks a lot Brian I appreciate it. Have a great day.