Data Direct Networks (DDN) adopted SIP trunk and Microsoft Skype for Business (S4B) services back in 2012. Since then, DDN has continued to enjoy a high rate of growth and success and the SIP trunk S4B solution has delivered a colossal 95% reduction in telecom costs, bringing an overall bill of over a million dollars down to mere tens of thousands. Amazingly –this vast reduction is still dwarfed by the immense $3M savings in annual costs that's achieved by using Skype for Business services to provide their global conferencing requirements.
With employees dotted around the world in regular video contact via Skype for Business, DDN will stage around 30 conferences a day, each with a minimum of ten people involved. With that level of internal communication, these savings are revolutionary.
The business implications of this are so substantial that they affect more than just the bottom line. Reducing the costs whist simplifying the provision of global communications makes rapid growth and territorial expansion accessible and affordable like never before –and DDN have used this benefit to their advantage.
In this succinct Q&A with Nathan Boyd, Senior Director of Enterprise and IT Operations at DDN, we look back over the last three years and answer questions about a business partnership that has been uniquely beneficial to both companies.
Data Direct Networks (DDN) is the leading provider of high performance, high capacity big data storage systems, as well as processing solutions and services. Big Data is a booming area of the tech market, and DDN supplies data storage hardware to a vast array of companies, ranging from Universal Studios to NASA.
Nathan Boyd has been at Data Direct Networks (DDN) since 2011, overseeing a period of rapid growth and global expansion at the company. Nathan has been a Pure IP customer since 2012, rolling out DDN's communications network around the globe as it expands into new territories.
What is the Background to Your Partnership with Pure IP? How Long Have You Been Using Its SIP Trunk Services?
Nathan Boyd: I first became a customer with Pure IP in early 2012, shortly after I took up my role at DDN. At the time, we were making huge changes to the company - effectively building an international IT structure from the ground up.
DDN was experiencing high annual growth and to support this growth we needed to implement changes and expand quickly -including the establishment of call centers with a 24 hour 'follow-the-sun' remit. We were looking for companies that could help us establish all of this from scratch, and also had the ability to respond quickly to our needs to scale up or down at short notice.
We initially began working another provider, but they were unable to deliver what we wanted, and had issues with our demanding timeline. So, we were in the market for an alternative supplier, and fortunately we began our partnership with Pure IP, which has endured ever since.
How Did You Discover Pure IP?
Nathan Boyd: Reviewing and working with Microsoft on what was then certified Lync SIP providers (before the changeover to Skype for Business (S4B), we selected Pure IP. We reached out to them to see if they were able to help us. We were very glad we did.
After some false starts with other telephony suppliers, Pure IP rapidly set us up with a trial and changed our direction of travel very quickly. We had a global telecom system set up in a very short time, and they helped with the rapid deployment build. At the time we were busy laying cables - we really were building from the ground up. We'd had some issue with our other provider dragging their feet and finding obstacles to progress.
Pure IP's attitude really was the opposite, they went above and beyond. They fixed things. They wanted the solution to work end-to-end. They didn't see barriers on their remit, where their responsibility suddenly ended, they looked at it more holistically, and as a result got much more done than their competitors.
Were There Any Other Factors in Your Choice of Pure IP as a Service Provider?
Nathan Boyd: Yes. Big Data is a booming sector of the tech industry, but it is also a highly changeable environment. The business must be scalable and adaptable - essentially able to transform very quickly. It soon became apparent that Pure IP had the agility and the attitude to help us operate in this fashion. They've built their own business around the same principles, and there was a terrific sense of shared attitude in how to 'get things done'.
Another very important factor was Pure IP's relationship with Microsoft S4B. When we originally constructed our network, we had no gateways built-in, so a very important factor for us was Pure IP's ability to communicate directly with the Microsoft S4B Servers. This meant that there was no need for an on-premise session border controller, which was a real benefit. S4B server access was absolutely crucial.
Were You Pleased with Your Decision to Partner with Pure IP? How Did the SIP Trunking Roll-Out for Your Company?
Nathan Boyd: We opted for a full telecom’s replacement - 'rip and replace'. All the old technology went out, and we brought in 100% Microsoft Lync voice, now S4B. One of our major requirements was to get our phone support systems to 'follow the sun'.
We started with call centers in California and India, and now we have a follow the sun model spanning the globe. The S4B infrastructure effectively gives us a local office wherever we need one.
What Benefits have You Noticed from Adopting A SIP Trunking Service with Pure IP?
Nathan Boyd: The cost implications have been immense. We took a $1 million telecom bill in 2012 and with Pure IP on board we brought it down to around $50,000 a year at current levels.
And that's just the start. On any given day, around the world we will have about 30 conferences with a minimum of ten people involved. I estimated that we were saving at least $3 million a year on conferencing alone.
Tell Us About Any Plans You Have to Expand Your Use of Pure IP's Services
Nathan Boyd: We still have a few people working in remote places and we will be rolling out Skype for Business with them. Other than that, we regularly contact Pure IP to set up or take down new lines for us around the world -it's a very regular thing.
How Would You Describe the Standards of Service and Support You Receive from Pure IP?
Nathan Boyd: Service standards on a day-to-day basis, rather than just the build, are where Pure IP really excel. The experience is very different to other companies.
I've had plenty of experience of poor standards. With many companies you can encounter a problem, then if you contact them they will issue a ticket, then an escalation can be followed by difficulties, delays, and finally finger pointing and disagreements over boundaries of responsibility.
At Pure IP there is none of this. They have one point of contact and they operate on a 'follow-the-sun' basis, so they are always available to deal with any issue, and it is seamlessly passed on and dealt with. Any problems I have encountered have usually been solved in minutes -they are excellent. In the past we've had extra phone lines set up for us within ten minutes. On an immediate basis, they do it every time.
Importantly, they are able to offer end-to-end quality assurance, which is a very difficult thing to do with a global telecom.
What Are Your Predictions for Unified Communications?
Nathan Boyd: I think one of the major changes is the degree to which everyone is so used to texting and using IM -this has been a complete change in the way people communicate. For many companies the number one issue is "How do we communicate internally?"
Unified Communications has really changed the way we all work - meetings that used to take 15 minutes to set up can now be set up in seconds and over in minutes - without wasting valuable man-hours. It's a hugely important shift.