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CoreDial CEO: Lines Are Being Redrawn on Technologies Companies Want

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Edward GatelyCoreDial, which offers a software-as-a-service platform via the channel, last week capped off its first partner conference, and made several announcements to improve partner performance and success.

The vendor now has nearly 500 channel partners and more than 200,000 cloud communications seats deployed. The PartnerConnex conference featured more than 200 MSPs, VARs, IT service providers and valued technology providers.

The announcements included: integration with the BroadSoft BroadWorks platform; a partnership with MASS Communications to bring advanced MPLS connectivity to business customers; a mobile client for iOS compatibility with CoreDial’s Asterisk and BroadWorks UCaaS services; and new modules for tax automation and commissions.

CoreDial's Alan RihmNearly a year ago, CoreDial received $27.5 million from private equity firm LLR Partners, and has used the investment to accelerate its SaaS platform and business model, and develop many of the new offerings announced at PartnerConnex.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, CoreDial CEO Alan Rihm talks about PartnerConnex, new additions for partners and his company’s evolving channel strategy.

Channel Partners: CoreDial just completed its first partner conference. What was the theme and overall message?

Alan Rihm: Our overall theme was engage, inspire and educate. When we say engage, it really gives us a chance to have that engagement with one another. Bringing in partners from all over the country gave them the chance to share best practices, war stories, what’s working well, all of that kind of stuff, and also engage with our team face to face. There’s nothing like them meeting our team members face to face, the people they speak with over the phone or who build the product or services for them. And so that was great.{ad}

The inspire part is we get inspired when we get their feedback, and hear what they want and need, and then we obviously want to inspire them to get out there and be successful with UCaaS and their customers. And educate was probably the most challenging part of the whole thing, to build all the content sessions. And the good news is we think they loved it. It was very engaging and they were very interactive.

CP: How do the new features and enhanced capabilities announced at the conference come into play in terms of CoreDial’s overall partner strategy?

AR: One is removing friction out of the process of their going from quote to cash: sell, deliver, manage and invoice. When I say remove friction, that’s through …

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… two of the things we did. We released a commissions module that enables them to engage sales agents and to encourage agents to bring leads by offering them commissions to a fairly typical model in the industry. We also released a tax automation engine, which was an integration with Avalara, and again that removes the friction and makes it easier to calculate and report on taxes and regulatory fees in the industry. So that helps with their back-office functions and really helps make it easier for them to scale their business.

The other thing we do is we give them new features and functions for their end customers, and help them compete and win, and move up market. In that light, we launched a mobile app, the first version is iOS … that gives them the ability to have a modern mobile app connected into our platform, and quite frankly on both platforms, Asterisk and Broadworks. And that’s unique in the space; it’s not typical that you have a mobile app that works on multiple call-control systems.

The second thing that we did related to helping them compete and win with customers, and drive value to the end customer, is we showed our production installation of Broadworks and we are working on the final pieces of integrating it to our SwitchConnex platform. That will help them with additional features and functions, more advanced things like video or mobile twinning, all that fun stuff. So now they can sell both an Asterisk call-control solution and a Broadsoft solution, one of the best open-source solutions and one of the best commercial solutions in the UCaaS space for their customers.

CP: How long as CoreDial had a partner program and has it been evolving to reflect the company’s strategy and partner feedback?

Rihm: We founded the company in 2005, and from that period of time we were targeting both the channel and … we did sell some direct. So the channel started from the beginning. We signed our first partner within a year of our existence, so we started to build a platform. And now we have right around 500 partners, and add about 15 to 20 a month now.

Partner feedback has been phenomenal. The feedback we got very directly was that they love the white-label solution, they like to be able to go to market under their own brand, they like to be able to have more control in the quote to cash process, and the process of providing these services to their customers. And they like having the ability to put any recurring or non-recurring item in our quoting and billing system so they can differentiate and add other managed services to help differentiate, compete and win.

And kind of the punchline of all of it is, instead of making 10-15 points being an agent for somebody else, with us, they can make as much as …

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… 60-65 percent gross profit margin at scale. So it’s an amazing business model and one that has really been growing over time, and getting better and better over the years.

CP: What is the biggest challenge facing vendors and partners in the UCaaS space?

AR: I’d say the biggest challenge is that technology innovation creates opportunity, but it’s also challenging for partners if they don’t adapt and take advantage of it. The end customer wants the cloud, they want the value of an OpEx versus a CapEx, they want the agility of being able to scale up, scale down, any way they need to. They like the geo-redundancy and all the capabilities of not having to worry about the stuff in their phone closet and technology in their closets, where they can really leverage a company like ours and a channel like ours to help them to be able to compete and win in their own business.

So I think the biggest challenge is that the lines are being redrawn on the technology that customers want to buy and how they want to buy them. So the channel has to adapt and adopt, and stop just giving leads and giving customers to their competition. If they wait too long, they’re letting somebody else work their way into their customers.

CP: How do you think your company’s channel strategy will change in the next three to five years?

AR: I think as we move forward, we’re going to start to do even more segmentation, to not treat every partner the same. Bigger partners have different needs, smaller partners have different needs, partners who focus on certain verticals may have different needs. So we’re going to start to segment and get better at delivering more value more often to the right partner.

And the second thing I think is we’re going to start to really provide many more services, including things like sales training, lead generation and marketing assistance.


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