Is it cloud storage? Is it an online backup service? These are the questions that people often ask themselves when they are trying to decide on the best solutions for storing data to the cloud. It can be confusing because all companies want their product to look like the best one. What’s that saying if you only have a hammer and nothing else in your toolbox…..everything starts to look like a nail? Continue reading
We have been partnered with Samsung for over 10 years and of course there’s a story behind them. When DiscountCall first started in 1996, we only sold phone lines and Internet services mainly through T1’s through our Referral Partner Program. They always say your customers will tell you how to grow and that was the case. Numerous customers constantly asked me for a reference to someone who could sell them a phone system and I kept passing them out like a dealer in a poker room. Then the calls started coming in. “Randy, the reference was a nice guy and all but he’s always too busy to answer my questions”. “That guy forgot to tell me how to program my voicemail”. “Randy, do you have anyone else you can recommend?”. Needless to say, I was officially in the phone system business right then. I first needed to pick a brand and decided it would only be one unlike most PBX Vendors, which carry at least two or more. I’ll give business reasons on another post, or email me.
Because everyone else is! Just kidding. Since we started in 1996, I’ve always stayed keenly aware of what my customers want and need. I like to keep the shelves stocked with high value services and vendors who I can trust and rely on being there if something goes wrong.
The evolution of DiscountCall started with me selling T-1 services through a bunch of carriers while everyone was on the DSL bandwagon. I realized there wasn’t a difference between business class DSL and residential DSL other than maybe upload speed allowed. Don’t get me wrong, DSL had its place, but not with me when I first started. I wouldn’t be able to handle all of the ID-10-T (check below for definition) calls complaining and having to tell everyone to reboot the damn router every time. Anyways, my happy T-1 customers started asking me about phone systems and off we went. Samsung ended up being a great fit and our vendor of choice. They had a history of minimal issues with their equipment solidifying happy customers even if they paid slightly more in the beginning but always admitted they came out on top over the years. Which brings us to the Cloud.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford
I realize a lot of people don’t wake up in the morning saying they need to get their stuff in the cloud. There are many benefits in putting your applications up there and I won’t bore you with a list. Maybe next time! Of course there are many benefits to the vendors including me who are offering cloud services. Owning real estate at a server hotel, rack space at a carrier’s facilities or offering a shared server with a specific app helping to increase profits are all ways for Cloud vendors to make a profit. And the beautiful thing for businesses is these services are sometimes better and more effective than traditional ways of onsite hosting.
Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management. We have posters of the five principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS) on our walls. I consider my job and livelihood to keep up with technology and make sure it’s a good fit for my customers. Some have asked me for ideas with pricing, or IT contractors working on behalf of their clients have approached with specific needs while the rest are probably on autopilot with the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it mentality.”
“If you build the processes the money will come.” TPS basic outline
Since we are set up with those principles, selling Cloud services is not a paradigm shift for us. Our carriers offer basic co-location services with some value added services while we are continuing to build relationships with other co-location owners, migration experts and Disaster Recovery vendors. In fact, if the whole communication industry went bust, we would be able to stay alive by selling and servicing other things but hopefully that’ll go untested! One of the biggest eBay sellers in the world Adam Ginsberg wrote about selling pool tables raking in over $800,000 per month back in the early 2000’s. He was quick to point out that he wasn’t a pool table seller but more of an online business who happened to sell pool tables at the time. He wrote that he was ready and willing to change the product at any time if need be since all of his processes were in place. I later found out that he started selling other things since he mastered the art of an online business.
The opposite is of that is chasing what’s hot and the first thing to come to mind is the real estate market. When the market was hot, tons of investors and flippers flooded the market but most didn’t have a core process to survive the times, unlike my real estate broker and good friend Dan Mason who gets plenty of listings and sales in a good market while being a buyer’s broker whose gathered a bunch of mortgage companies who can meet the stricter requirements in the bad times. Buyers, Sellers, and Mortgage Brokers consistently knock on his door knowing he can bring the goods together with a good deal for all.
There are lots of factors that are unique to every business and my job is to introduce things if I think it may help. If not, there’s a comfort knowing certain things were investigated and ruled out. I can’t tell you how healthy both are for a business. An ID-10-T’er spells IDIOT and can sometimes be seen on many trouble ticket white boards across the U.S. Randy out.
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