The more time, money and effort an organisation needs to devote to provisioning and managing IP endpoints, the fewer resources they have to focus on growing their business. Swoop Datacom has tapped into years of experience in the IP-PBX and handset manufacturing spheres to come up with a new solution for those who need faster, more effective strategies for hardware deployment in the UC industry.
Now the leading cloud-based system for end-to-end lifecycle management, “ForgeServe” empowers users to simplify their access to complex technologies, leading to more feature-rich and accessible experiences. I spoke to CEO of Swoop Datacom, John Bennett, about this enticing new technology and what it means to the future of unified communications.
What is ForgeServe?
Designed by Swoop Datacom – a relatively new pure software company that launched in 2015, ForgeServe was designed to fill an obvious gap in the IP market. Bennett told me that the founders of the company all came from a background which involved creating IP endpoints and PBXs,
“We knew how difficult it was to deploy and manage SIP devices, and there was no established solution out there designed to serve all customer needs.”
By creating a cloud-based solution that fits seamlessly into the distribution and channel partner experience, Swoop Datacom have introduced a vendor-agnostic solution that complements logistics, automates deployment processes, and supports vendors.
“Essentially, ForgeServe is about connecting any IP phone from any supported vendor, to hundreds of potential call control platforms, all the way from Microsoft Skype or Teams, to BroadSoft. Our purpose is to connect people without the need for manual intervention, with a true “zero-touch” provisioning methodology.”
Superfast IP Endpoint Deployment
While ForgeServe is undeniably innovative in the support it can provide, I was keen to find out more about the responses that Swoop Datacom has received from its customers.
“It’s a revelation to our customers in a lot of instances.”
John noted that the manual intervention previously required to deploy an IP telephone was huge – requiring a significant amount of training and background knowledge. Engineers would have to visit customer sites, come up with strategies for rollouts based on configurations and networks, and spend weeks setting everything up.“ForgeServe pre-automates everything in a software application based in the cloud. This means that provisioning can become effortless. There’s no manual intervention needed, and resellers are free to create their competitive edge with personalised systems and services.”
According to Bennett, ForgeServe gives resellers and customers the freedom to enjoy a more granular deployment and management experience. In fact, it can even remove the cost of having to send an engineer out to a business when something goes wrong, which from an ROI perspective is significant. “We reduce operating expenses so that service teams can reallocate their resources to more important tasks .”
Exploring “No More Plug and Pray”
The tagline for ForgeServe is “No more plug and pray” – an exciting concept, and a term I was interested to learn more about. John explained that the founders behind Swoop Datacom used to make IP handsets for a living, which meant they knew how difficult it can be to invest in technology and provision new communication devices. Until ForgeServe, there was no one service out there for simplifying the process.
“We’re the only company that’s multi-tier, multi-vendor, and designed to complement each customer at their chosen level. We allow our distributors to create value-added services for their customers that allow end-users to truly empower their teams. ForgeServe even offers a tool that allows support engineers to deliver remote support for diagnosing issues, remote-rebooting, and more.”
The remote management service means that companies can set up devices in different departments, and locations, but maintain the same control from a single management space. ForgeServe allows managed service providers and helpdesk teams to dig down into the granular information they need for lifecycle management, replacing the old “break-fix” maintenance solution. “This means we can support companies with complete visibility over customer assets, allowing distributors to deliver real value to their customers.”
Advanced IP Endpoint Management
With ForgeServe, each individual user gets their own account, so that everyone has a full overview of what’s going on within a communication network. The granular approach gives the reseller more power to know where a phone is, what it’s doing, and whether they need to fix issues. If problems do arise, all it takes is the click of a button for a remote reboot.
The ForgeServe environment can even empower end-customers to manage their own assets through a simplified user interface.
“We can launch a shared system where the configuration and deployment team have access to specific parameters at a high level, but there’s also a user level where administrators can log in and deal with their own requirements.”
While end-users might not need the same complex features as a deployment team, they can see information on who they need to contact for support and access specific features. For instance, a user might be able to change parameters around passwords and usernames, voicemail services, or IP shortcuts. If they have technical competencies, then they can even check logs for issues and debug problems themselves before they begin to escalate.
“We made the system with an open mind and the knowledge that the end-user customer might want to a certain level of access. This means that there’s a whole spectrum of options available, so resellers can ensure their customer receives all of the control services they need.”
Has ForgeServe Seen Any Big Wins So Far?
Although ForgeServe is still very new, it’s already seen some significant wins in the UC space. For instance, Bennett told me that one of the partnerships the company is particularly proud of is with-Vodafone. Swoop Datacom handles all of the phones that go through the One Net business piece for Vodafone in Germany, and that’s helped to open the door for relationships with other service providers too.
Alongside Vodafone, ForgeServe has also earned a strong relationship with Microsoft, and the US government. In fact, the system is currently used by a range of county council networks, including police systems, health services, courts, and more.
“One client we’re particularly happy with is the LA Clippers basketball team, who use our service for managing their three offices. They’re a smaller client, but the CEO is an ex-Microsoft CEO, so we have a great relationship there.”
The ForgeServe solution has been very well received in the UC world, and Swoop believe that adoption will continue to grow in the year ahead, thanks to new relationships with handset vendors. It will be interesting to see how this simple lifecycle management strategy transforms the UC environment.