Intermedia Unite: A Partner-Focused UC Solution
We discuss Intermedia and Intermedia Unite
Intermedia, a provider of state-of-the-art collaboration and cloud communication solutions, recently announced the availability of their “Intermedia Unite” solution. The new product is an easy-to-use and implement Unified Communication as a Service platform intended to give SMBs and the partners that support them fantastic new ways to communicate. The platform provides next-generation cloud PBX, video collaboration, file sharing, integrated screen sharing, and a host of other benefits; all backed up by Intermedia’s 99.999% (Five nines) uptime guarantee.
The new Intermedia Unite solution also comes with softphone features designed to support SMBs in a mobile and desktop environment. The softphone service ensures that today’s agile workers can connect with their consumers with the same high-quality solutions, regardless of where they are, which device they want to use.
We sat down with the VP of UC product and marketing at Intermedia, Mark Sher, to learn more about the company and its offerings.
Tell Us About Intermedia?
I was keen to find out more about Intermedia, and how the company came to be. Mark told me that to start with; Intermedia was one of the first and largest providers of hosted Microsoft Exchange in the market. In fact, they have more than a million end-users in the enterprise space.
“However, several years ago, we realised that we wanted to move beyond that, and provide a full suite of cloud applications to the SMB market. To do that, Intermedia began by acquiring a company called “AccessLine Communications.” That’s where I came from; I actually spent 20 years with that company before I moved into Intermedia.”
Mark told me that AccessLine was an early provider of the communication technologies we use today. The company was born in the telco cloud, delivering high quality SIP trunking, Cloud PBX and more. “We came together about 5 years ago and have been growing our cloud voice business for many years, taking products to market through two partner models, an “advisor” option where they can sell our services and get a commission, and a private label option where partners support the customer and set their own prices.”
Where Did Your UCaaS Offering Come From?
Intermedia clearly has a strong history in the cloud communications space, but I wanted to learn more about their UCaaS offering, and where it first came to life. Mark told me that Intermedia built every element of their UCaaS solution themselves, from SBCs to end user features. “We’ve been developing telco applications since the 90s; it’s been a long history for us in that space.”
One thing that’s particularly important for Intermedia is their commitment to five nines service. Mark noted that the company came from the Telco space, and while a lot of other companies talk about being five nines, Intermedia delivers that, and better every day.
“We’ve always believed if you’re going to be a phone company, you need to always be there for our business customers – particularly if you’re going to sell through partners. Intermedia are also committed to an exceptional support service. “We’ve been JD Power certified for our Tech support for the last two years in a row.”
Tell Us About the Features of Intermedia Unite
Intermedia built their business on the back of excellent uptime and incredible support, but they also have a rich selection of features to offer their partners and end users with their Unite solution. The platform includes:
- All the enterprise calling functions you could ask for, including call transfer, call park, call recording, auto attendant, and even reporting
- Collaboration with Intermedia AnyMeeting which offers HD video conferencing and screen sharing
- A mobile app and softphone so that today’s employees can take their applications with them anywhere they go
- Simple call management with the United Desktop App, which acts similarly to a remote control for a desk phone with click-to-call functionality and one-click launch for AnyMeeting
- Administrative tools through Intermedia’s simple HostPilot control panel which makes it easier to adjust user settings, and order services online
- Workplace file and data syncing with “SecuriSync,” an easy and safe way to manage data with real-time desktop backup, easy file syncing and more
“One particular service our partners love is the ability for us to calculate their telecom taxes for them based on where the phones are being installed and what the partner is going to charge their customers. With that information, we calculate the full telecom taxes for them, send them a bill at the end of the month, and simplify their business.”
How Do You Compete in Such a Busy Marketplace?
I was interested to know how Intermedia stays competitive, particularly in such a cluttered UC marketplace. Mark told me that they stand out by being entirely partner focused. “We have large teams focused on recruiting and working with products. Whenever we build a product, we think about how it will help our partners.”
Intermedia is purposeful in their approach to sell products through the channel, and they work constantly to make the process as easy as possible for partners.
“Part of how we do this is by running five nines or better all the time. The other thing is that we provide incredible support for all of our partners.”
Mark told me that Intermedia is always building applications to support their partners too. For instance, the company offers a system called “VoIP Scout” which allows the partner to go in, do a complete assessment on a network for a customer, and create an in-depth report of their system which they can present during the sales conversation.
“We don’t have yearly contracts or cancellation fees. We believe that we need to earn both partner and customer business every day, every week and every month. And, our churn is under 1% per month, so we believe it’s working.”
What Does the Future Look Like for Intermedia?
Mark told me that two things are essential for Intermedia going forward. First, the company is working on filling a couple of feature gaps in their UC side, so that they can really be a part of every UC conversation. Secondly, Intermedia will be working on additional partner applications and becoming even more partner friendly. “We’re very focused on targeting the SMB through partners because we believe that’s the most relevant market right now and the best way to access it .”