Q&A: Masergy's new CEO says his company is headed for a growth spurt

networking
Masergy CEO James Parker says the company is gearing up to expand its product portfolio by hiring more than 140 employees this year. (Pixabay)

While some telcos such as BT, AT&T and Verizon have announced they're reducing their headcounts, Masergy's new CEO says his company is adding employees to keep up with the company's growth. 

Masergy CEO James Parker, who started in his new role last month, said his company expects to hire north of 140 new employees this year to help Masergy keep pace with its growth plans.

"We're looking to scale the business," Parker said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We'll be hiring more personnel. Will also be increasing our global footprint.

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"We need to do a geo-expansion, both within the United States and certainly internationally. The go-to-market strategy is a big piece, but across the board we're increasing operations and solution resources."

Parker and Masergy's board are now targeting revenues of $1 billion, so Masergy needs to grow while facing increased competition in the managed services sector.

Related: Masergy CEO Parker on why SDN is a cornerstone to company's success

In a previous Q&A with FierceTelecom, Parker said Masergy's software-defined network (SDN) has allowed it to roll out SD-WAN and other products for enterprises at a fast rate. In this Q&A, which was edited for length and clarity, Parker talks about how SD-WAN and Masergy are evolving.

FierceTelecom: There are 50 or so SD-WAN vendors or offerings in the market. How does Masergy distinguish its offering from the others?

James Parker: As you get in these conversations with customers, ultimately it migrates quickly into a managed network service play. The conversation then quickly gets into the realization that it's a hybrid managed network service that customers are looking for. SD-WAN is already a feature on our hybrid network portfolio. I think our job here is to really amplify the market awareness, the understanding, and when I talk about the understanding, it's helping customers answer the question:"How does SD-WAN play into a holistic view of a hybrid network infrastructure?"

FierceTelecom: Another trend for SD-WAN is more security virtual network functions. Do you see that in play at Masergy as well?

Parker: Certainly, we're going to continue to go deeper on that security front. I think this is an area of opportunity for us. There's some IP that we have when we look at our SDN offering and our fabric. We have really good insight, monitoring, and instrumentation that really tells us what's performing within the network. Our ability to plug that—the right types of security infrastructure and security monitoring— into our fabric will really help us to light up that offering within our portfolio.

FierceTelecom: The managed service provider space has shifted over the past few years. What do you see out in the competitive landscape?

Parker: The competitive landscape is certainly shifting. I think different competitors are covering different spaces. You can look at the system integrators that are carrying managed network services and wanting to get into that space. We view that as a partnership opportunity to work with those types of providers.

One of the growth vectors for us is through the diversity of the channel. You can have a reseller channel, and we have a very, very strong channel business today. But when I look at that, I think we have exponential possibilities in how we work with leveraging partners. There are partners that will  use our technology to deliver their services. These could be OEMs and these could be ISPs. These could be system integrators. I really see that we can further accelerate our performance through the channel business.

I also see the opportunity within our direct sales force. A large part of our revenue base today is coming through the channel, and we have a huge opportunity that frankly is untapped for us in how we go direct to our larger customers and really provide this consultative engagement to help them on that transformational journey through the services that we provide. I clearly see that we can capture increased share adding a direct route to market.

Our go to market strategy includes diversifying our route to market, geo-expansion and product line growth. All of those are contributing to our future potential. I really think the best years are ahead of us. It's an absolutely fantastic time to be in this business.

FierceTelecom: What about automation across Masergy and with your enterprise customers?

Parker: I think the next layer of automaton is going to be some form of autonomous network management. The basis for that is, how much intelligence do you currently collect off your network that can feed into another system that can make some intelligent decisions? The fabric that we've built out and the monitoring that we've built out, and what we already expose to our customers is already differentiated in what we're capturing and what can feed into the right analytic engine for it to perform.

The next front is artificial intelligence and that's where we are going to advance, invest and add. It's a natural evolution of our capability that we would start to provide self-healing, autonomous, managed network services.

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