The Next Step for Cloud: Alianza Addresses Vendor Agility
We speak to Alianza about Service Providers in the cloud
This year, during the Cloud Comms Summit in Washington, I had a chance to speak to some of the vendors and experts leading the way for better service provider solutions in the modern age. One of the companies I had a chance to sit down with, was Alianza, a cloud-communications platform company designed to support service providers’ VoIp and UC services who want to take the next logical step and embrace the benefits of the cloud.
Alianza has seen a significant amount of success since it’s launch in 2009, with more than 300,000 seats on the platform (6 times more than they had in 2015), and an increase in monthly recurring revenue of 55% in the last year. Alianza were the first pioneers to bring a software-as-a-service VoIP solution to service providers, and they’ve had eighteen consecutive quarters of revenue growth recently, with more than 40 successful client migrations from legacy-based and soft switch solutions
Tell Us About Alianza
I was keen to learn more about Alianza and their phenomenal growth, so I sat down with Brian Beutler, the company’s founder and CEO, to discuss their mission to radically improve cloud communications with vendor agility.
Brian began by telling me that Alianza is all about transforming the way that service providers manage, deploy, and deliver unified communications to end users.
“If you look at the UC space in general, there’s been a lot of conversations around how UC can improve communication for the enterprise. Our message at Alianza is one level upmarket from that. We want to bring UC and the cloud to the operator and service provider. We’re heading out there and saying it doesn’t just need to be enterprises going to cloud services, but vendors cloud-sourcing their voice networks too.”
Alianza was the first company to launch a cloud voice platform in 2009, and today, they’ve got more than 60 operators using their service. “We’ve seen a huge amount of growth this year, and we think the best days for service providers on the cloud are just getting started.”
How Has Alianza Grown So Quickly?
Brian told me that Alianza started off looking at three concentric areas: SaaS, voice, and cloud. “There are things like Amazon Web Services out there drastically changing the way service providers manage their data. Then, from a voice perspective, we’re seeing a huge move to cloud communications from an enterprise perspective. Finally, we’ve got the move from software to software-as-a-service making life easier for today’s companies. We believed there was a huge void in the middle of all those solutions for a service provider system. We believed that we could deliver the solution service providers were looking for.
Over the last 9 years, Alianza has seen a significant amount of growth. “We’ve been plugging away at this since 2009, and I think we’ve come this far thanks to a mixture of both luck, and success. You start off with this hypothesis that the world is going to move in the direction you think it is, and we thought that service providers were going to embrace the cloud for data and voice. That was a big prediction 9 years ago.”
What’s Been Driving Your Growth Over the Last 12 Months?
In the last 12 months, Alianza’s monthly recurring revenue levels have increased by 55% – that’s a huge boost. I asked Brian what he thought had driven that sudden rise in success. He told me that he thinks part of the reason comes down to the fact that customers are transitioning more frequently away from on-premise soft switch infrastructure, and into the cloud.
“Part of the reason for this move is what we can offer at Alianza. We’re delivering a really incredible service for our users. However, if you look at it from a broader perspective, the cloud is simply better suited to what service providers need today.”
“You can no longer drive a competitive and compelling advantage just because you own and manage software in your network. The only way to be competitive is to be agile so that you can funnel your resources into sales, marketing, innovation, customer experience and customer support.”
Beutler believes that Alianza is beginning to see a switch getting flipped in the market today, as service providers are no longer looking at voice as something they need to see blinking lights on. “They’re starting to give up ownership there so that they can address customer needs in an agile environment.”
What Is Alianza Doing to Differentiate for Service Providers?
One of the biggest topics of discussion at the Cloud Comms Summit was the rising demand for differentiation. I asked Brian what Alianza has been doing to differentiate itself, and he told me that differentiation can come in many different forms.
“To some extent, differentiation can take place at the end of the product offering for voice. When our customers walk up to an end user account, they need to be able to go in with a rich feature list – but at the end of the day, a phone call is a phone call.”
“Our customers come to us for integration, and easier movement throughout the customer lifecycle. We believe it’s about arming your sales force to do more when they’re winning new clients.”
Where Alianza differentiates is by ensuring that when the sales rep comes out of an opportunity with a closed deal, they can move the process quickly to start creating revenue on the service provider backend. “We offer voice in a way that’s as simple as signing up for a Facebook account. This is crucial in a world where everyone is craving business agility, but certain vendors just can’t offer that agility. Underlying vendor agility and service provider agility is the key. If you don’t have an agile underlying support system, then it all falls apart.”
Where is Alianza Heading in The Future?
Brian noted that legacy providers may consistently bring new feature sets into the market, but when a service provider invests in those systems, they’re committing to whatever they bought for five or size years at a time. Alianza is offering a different solution for those who want to innovate faster and become more agile. It’s service provider support on the cloud – benefiting from all the advantages that enterprises have already begun to see with a cloud approach.
“I think we really differentiate from an innovation perspective. We started in 2009, launched our first /unified-communications/ucaas solution in 2014, and I think we’re going to blow past the traditional infrastructure provider too.”
“The Alianza operating model is just so much more agile, and we can radically transform the way service providers offer their solutions.”
Alianza believes that they’re taking cloud communication to the logical next step with agility on the cloud.