The classic voice-over-IP (VoIP) market has evolved quite a bit amid the rise of cloud, unified communications, workforce automation, mobile and other tools. But in many cases, technology vendors didn't adjust their VoIP and unified communications services to specifically serve MSPs.
In stark contrast, BVoIP is a unified communications service provider born from an MSP -- and focused on MSP partners. Led by CEO George Bardissi, BVoIP has extended beyond phone, internal chat and mobile apps to support SMS, video/web conferencing, web chat, and integration to line-of-business applications.
But how exactly was BVoIP launched? And where is the company heading next with MSP partners? Bardissi shared some clues in this recent email interview with ChannelE2E.
ChannelE2E: What inspired BVoIP's original launch?
Bardissi: We launched BVoIP at the tail end of 2014. Like many successful vendor companies in our space, we launched BVoIP from an MSP that I operate out of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We did not originally set out to start another venture. We wanted to try and help solve our own customers' issues in our MSP, and telephony was not cookie cutter like other pieces of the MSP stack such as backup or antivirus. When we went out in the world, we found very few companies really catered their technology or programs for the IT service providers and MSPs out there. There was a lot of channel conflict, "me-too" partner programs, and simply repackaging of the same stuff repeatedly from every vendor we investigated. After all the pain and suffering trying to figure out how to work our way through zero standardization in our own MSP customer base, we decided this was an underserved area of MSPs and that it could be done better. This is the WHY behind BVoIP.
ChannelE2E: Are you still involved with that MSP based out of Philadelphia?
Bardissi: Yes, I still own the MSP I started back in the early 2000s here in Philly. I retain my owner position and make sure my clients still receive the level of service they have been used to, but spend my time these days focusing on BVoIP and our partners all over the globe.
ChannelE2E: Unified communications means different things to different people. How does BVoIP define unified communications?
Bardissi: You are right, unified communications does mean different things to different people. When we started down this road, unified communications meant phones, fax, internal chat, and mobile apps. Today, however, the concept has morphed to all of that plus SMS, video/web conferencing, web chat, and deep integration to line-of-business apps. Add the two groups together and that today is what BVoIP defines as unified communications.
ChannelE2E: Video conferencing and collaboration systems like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, WebEx and others have gone mainstream. Do you see them as competitors to unified communications and VoIP? Why or why not?
Bardissi: Zoom, Teams, Slack, Webex are great collaboration platforms, but not very good phone systems. To them, voice is simply a bolt-on -- not a focus. Are they competitors? Maybe at the very low end of the market with sub 10- or 20-user business. Once you get past extremely basic deliverables all of them fall consistently. We pushed our chips into the Microsoft Teams Voice arena. We launched "Nucleus for Teams,” where we provide an extremely compelling offering between a fully featured phone, contact center, and integration platform meshed with the native Microsoft Teams Voice experience. Together, it creates the complete story.
ChannelE2E: Private equity and angel investors have been moving into the MSP technology market. Have you considered (or taken) any funding? Why or why not?
Bardissi: We surely get plenty of knocks on our door from potential investors. We have not taken any investment to date. Once you take outside money a clock starts that usually cannot be stopped. One day we may go down that road, but today we are entirely bootstrapped.
ChannelE2E: As you look deeper into 2021, what are your key priorities for the business and the MSPs you serve?
Bardissi: I think the pandemic we are all experiencing has forced a lot of different agendas forward by years. We are uniquely positioned to check the box for MSPs so that they can plug the usually large hole in their offerings when it comes to UC/Voice/Phone. We are really concentrating to providing a more streamlined experience for our partners. Our goal is to continue adding as much value around our category as we can, without constantly going back to our partners with our handout. We want to make things easy for our partners to position, offer, and start with as little effort as possible.
ChannelE2E: PS - We hear Alec Stanners recently returned to the company. What role will he play?
Bardissi: Yes! We are extremely happy to have Alec back on board. Alec has been tasked with building out vendor partnerships, international growth and expansion, as well as working with our strategic accounts here at BVoIP. These areas are a long game and take a bit of finesse and a lot of relationships to be successful. Alec's background and skillset particularly well suited to concentrate and win in these areas. Of course we will continue to have Alec help us put together some of the biggest parties the channel has seen.