CallTower: Microsoft Case Study - CallTower - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Hosting Provider to Grow Revenue, Expand Partner Channel with Multitenant Solution
CallTower, wanted to offer its customers a supported multitenant Microsoft Lync Server solution. By joining the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack Technology Adoption Program, it was able to test the pre-release product with actual customers and provide feedback to Microsoft. Based on that testing, the partner expects to increase revenue, expand its channel, and meet its customers’ compliance needs when it deploys the final product.
As a unified communications (UC) solutions hosting provider, CallTower was an early supporter of Microsoft unified messaging and communications technologies, including Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Office Communications Server, and Lync Server. To enable companies to automatically provision their instances of Lync, it created the CallTower Connect self-provisioning system in 2012. The partner also hosts an extensive public voice gateway based on Cisco technology.
In December 2012, CallTower migrated approximately 5,000 customers to Lync Server 2013 Enterprise, most of which were hosted through a Microsoft Exchange Global Address List (GAL) segmented solution. For that GAL segmented subset, CallTower created its own multitenant installation of Lync Server 2013. However, because that solution was unsupported by Microsoft, it required extra attention from CallTower, including custom programming to add the necessary security.
The partner wanted to find a way to offer its customers a Microsoft-supported Lync Server multitenant hosting solution that would provide enhanced security and isolation, and reduce the need for custom programming. It also wanted to expand its voice offerings.
Based on those needs, in early 2013, CallTower joined the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack. The Multitenant Hosting Pack comes with Microsoft security and support features built in. This makes it easier to isolate each customer’s Active Directory services within the multitenant environment. Through the TAP, CallTower tested beta versions of the Hosting Pack and provided feedback to help Microsoft improve the final product.
“Microsoft knows that hosting providers don’t want to have a different server for every customer, so it came out with the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, built specifically for multitenant applications,” says Greg Reynolds, Senior Vice President of Technology at CallTower.
Setting up the Hosting Pack environment took about eight weeks. Along the way, CallTower received support from Microsoft as it built the architecture, and insight on adding unique features and taking advantage of the new voice features in Lync Server 2013.
When the architecture was set, the partner moved customers to the new environment during its scheduled maintenance window. “We used a Friday maintenance window to migrate customers and make the Domain Name System changes. They were up and running the next time they logged in,” says Reynolds.
The customers participating in the TAP were chosen, in part, because they had expressed a need for compliance on a Microsoft-supported Lync solution. “Those customers were anxious to move to the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack for better control of their Active Directory services, increased isolation inside the multitenant environment, and greater Microsoft support,” says Reynolds. “The migration was nearly seamless. They didn’t really notice any feature differences; it was basically the same solution just in a more supported format.”
One such customer, Triterra Realty Group, based in Burlingame, California, was migrated from the CallTower GAL segmented solution to the TAP environment and deployed the Lync Voice capability. “We decided to move to the new Lync environment because of our security and compliance requirements,” says Riyad Salma, President of Triterra Realty Group. “The added security and supported architecture of the Multitenant Hosting Pack brings full functionality with a reasonable cost. We are able to use all the built in collaboration tools and make calls to the public network through CallTower. We also enjoy the benefits of Lync Mobile access.”
CallTower expects that moving customers to the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack will offer significant benefits, including:
Revenue Growth Potential
CallTower expects to add revenue streams from new features in the Hosting Pack. “Now that we have added voice to the mix, we are seeing a tremendous growth in revenue because no longer are we talking about this being a sidecar to a communications system; it is replacing what exists today,” says Reynolds.
CallTower has enabled specific features within the Hosting Pack that allow some migration away from Cisco technology. “For example,” says Reynolds, “the mobility features that let you push a button on a smartphone to join a meeting and see the screen share are things that you just cannot get from other solutions.”
Channel Expansion Opportunities
With the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, CallTower can go to the channel and promote the fact that it has a fully supported multitenant Lync model coupled with its CallTower Connect solution, which allows customers to administer and provision new users and make account changes.
Since participating in the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack TAP, CallTower has signed dozens of new channel partners. Reynolds attributes that expansion to a few factors. “We are early to the game offering the Multitenant Hosting Pack,” he says. “And because Microsoft has done a great job promoting the product, awareness of Lync has accelerated just in the last six months.”
CallTower works with major partners in the telecommunications and financial services industries, where compliance is a critical issue. “These customers really need to make sure that the solutions they’re providing—especially the hosted solutions—are secure,” says Reynolds. “They love the functionality of Lync, and they want it in a secure and supported format, which is what the Multitenant Hosting Pack offers. It brings credibility to our customers.”
Publish Date: January 24, 2014 5:00 AM
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