XO Invests In Automation to Support Partners

By Khali Henderson Comments
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XO Communications Inc. has made investments during the first half of 2013 in automating its back-office systems to better support its channel partners.

Among these investments are the launch of it MasterStream quoting system, the return of the Order Entry Hub and the launch of a partner relationship management system.

XO announced the availability of its MasterStream quoting tool this spring at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The carrier is working with its partners to drive usage of the click-to-quote functions, said Alethea Peyrin,  senior manager of channel development and operations for XO, in an interview with Channel Partners.

"Partner quoting activity increased via MasterStream by almost 10 percent in July over June alone," she said, noting that by automating quoting XO's local channel managers are able to spend more time supporting partners with strategic opportunities.

XO is planning to upgrade MasterStream with click-to-order capabilities by the end of the year or early 2014, Peyrin said. Several XO Business Partners have been enlisted for the beta test, which is coming soon, she said.

Peyrin also said the carrier has resurrected the popular Order Entry Hub, which includes a dedicated team to take and process orders. The hub was a standard offer of the XO Business Partner program two years ago, but was disbanded as part of XO's efforts to push more control into the field. But, she said channel chief Shane McNamara, not coincidentally a past partner of XO who had used the hub, brought it back to give field reps greater ability to support partners with sales rather than paperwork.

Launched in early July, the Order Entry Hub already has resulted in a 26 percent reduction in the time from contract signing to order entry, Peyrin said. "The net effect is it speeds up installations," she said.

Finally, Peyrin said XO has done a system upgrade on its Siebel PRM system. While it's an internal system, she said that it is driving efficiencies in the company's ability to support its partners.  XO's business development managers can manage activity at the master agent and, now, subagent level, she said, explaining that it enables visibility into activity driven by local channel managers who are engaging directly with subagents on behalf of their masters. Reporting on that activity is shared with the respective master agents.

A coming upgrade to the PRM system will incorporate strategic business planning with XO Business Partners, she added.

"Overall, these are significant investments that we've really never had before in the channel at this level in XO's history," Peyrin said. "We will continue [to invest] as we grow the indirect business. It's a great time to turn to XO."

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