If there's one thing that Tripp O'Hara, Director of Federal Solutions Group, XO Communications (OTC BB: XOHO.OB) knows how to do, it is generate sales.
Following roles at the former UUNET and later Qwest, O'Hara came to XO in early 2008. After helping XO develop and launch the Enterprise Sales Channel, he became the director of XO Federal Solutions Group (FSG) in October 2008.
As director of XO's FSG, O'Hara oversees the development, management, and growth of XO Federal.
Like other competitive and incumbent telcos, XO is attacking the market on two ends: selling directly to agencies and through systems integrators.
O'Hara explained that what while agencies are adopting various elements of its product set, the key to its success is being able to respond to the right customer needs.
"I think some of the reasons for our success is our ability to be quick in delivering the solution based on consultation with a certain agency and hit the expectations we set from a service delivery perspective and being able to manage the account proactively," O'Hara said. "At the same time, we try to be very aggressive with new technologies that make their organizations more efficient."
Right now, the federal side is split almost evenly between defense and civilian agencies.
What these agencies are looking to change technologies and how to move beyond standard telephony and data to more advanced solutions.
"We're able to articulate the story and help them build a business case and help them meet their budget requirements for the next fiscal year and beyond leveraging our enterprise SIP, integrated access and Ethernet over Copper (EoC) product sets," O'Hara said.
In addition to its wireline-centric products, XO can offer its fixed wireless offerings for continuity of operations (COOP) and disaster recovery.
XO is no less aggressive on the state and local government (S&L) side. To engage with S&L agencies and education institutions, XO has integrated E-Rate experts into the markets the sales team targets.
Of course, O'Hara said that the success of XO's S&L approach comes down to where certain agencies are located near its metro network footprint.
Being in the federal space for over nine years, XO has increased its focus on the space over the last 12 months with plans to expand the focus in the next 24-36 months based on its success.
So what's making O'Hara confident about XO's current and future public sector success?
"In talking with federal CIOs, they are facing pressure from a budget perspective to reduce their budgets," O'Hara said. "In a typical world the CIO can be comfortable with the same budget as the year before, but with the crunch of having to reduce their budget 10, 15 or 20 percent, they can't stay with status quo. They need to look at a market disruptor from a technology and pricing perspective to bring them in the mix to ensure they have the most optimal solution and pricing structure."
Whether it's federal or S&L, O'Hara's focus on driving best of breed products and solutions will help agencies meet their mission within their tight budgets.