Windstream pairs OfficeSuite UCaaS, SD-WAN offerings; targets SMBs and enterprises

Windstream is putting its recently completed acquisition of Broadview to work by introducing a new SD-WAN/unified communications as a service (UCaaS) bundle as a way to bolster the IP adoption trend for business customers.

The new service combines Broadview’s cloud-based unified communication (UC) services with Windstream’s dynamic and cost-effective SD-WAN solution.    

By pairing Broadview’s OfficeSuite with Windstream’s SD-WAN solution, business users will get a UCaaS platform that combines services such as phone, contact center, chat, video and collaboration with Windstream’s SD-WAN solution.

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Windstream says that this combination ensures performance and quality of voice, video and critical business applications that fit a business’s needs quickly with visibility, control and the ability to prioritize bandwidth.

Brian Crotty, president of Windstream’s mid-market and small business division, told FierceTelecom that the integration of the two products is a way to present a common cloud-based product strategy to its business customers.

“We’ve been working on integrating the businesses in terms of a go-to-market strategy and making sure that we have got a ubiquitous set of products by business unit,” Crotty said. “Broadview’s OfficeSuite offered with Windstream’s SD-WAN is really what we’re going to market with as essentially the lead product suite from the application perspective.”

Already in use by 250,000 users nationwide, OfficeSuite is a well-established platform that Windstream can immediately use to take the new bundle to new and existing business customers.

Crotty said that the advantage OfficeSuite has over other UCaaS platforms is that it was originally built as a cloud-based solution.

“We’re the only 100% cloud-based UCaaS supplier in the country, which means all of the computing power is happening on our network,” Crotty said. “Unlike traditional SIP services, it does not have to communicate with phones because our phones are essentially touchscreen monitors of everything that’s happening in the cloud.”

Windstream’s timing for an integrated solution could not be better. UCaaS is on a strong growth trajectory. According to IDC, the UCaaS market is set to grow from $38 billion to a $43 billion by 2020.

Network priorities

Windstream introduced its SD-WAN offering earlier this year, offering customers the ability to set business policies that can dynamically prioritize and de-prioritize traffic, making better use of available bandwidth to enhance performance and overall user experience.

After completing the EarthLink acquisition earlier this year, a deal that bolstered its SD-WAN portfolio, Windstream recently updated its service with a set of improved customer experience and network connectivity options for business customers. Prior to being acquired by Windstream, EarthLink launched its own SD-WAN offering in September 2016.

RELATED: Windstream enhances SD-WAN solution, adds customer experience, network connectivity options

The service provider’s SD-WAN solution now includes additional broadband flexibility, improved self-service monitoring and control options and a new SD-WAN Concierge managed service that automatically optimizes application performance, lowers costs and simplifies network management.

Providing network connectivity and OfficeSuite with Windstream SD-WAN gives administrators control at the network and application levels to manage their experience. Windstream’s recently announced SD-WAN Concierge management tool simplifies the administration, management and monitoring of applications by presenting comprehensive information to the customer in a unified management console.

“You start with OfficeSuite and you bundle it with Windstream’s SD-WAN that takes multiples of connectivity and puts on a management layer on top of it that allow you control of not only what’s happening on the LAN, but also what’s happening in the WAN to give you 100% SLA uptime,” Crotty said.

As a result, customers can easily establish and change business and security policies across their entire UC network, or even have Windstream manage it for them.

“A business would clearly prioritize OfficeSuite for voice and credit cards as a top priority office and something like Pandora for employees use way down on the list,” Crotty said. “When you marry these products together with the power of a Fortune 500 company by putting them in the marketplace through all sales channels nationally, it gives an incredibly compelling story for a customer to have one stop for OfficeSuite/SD-WAN as well as a network that’s 150,000 miles of our own fiber.”

Additionally, the Broadview MyOfficeSuite portal allows end users to customize their UC features and instantly change or manage their services in a mobile or in-office environment.

An extensible model

OfficeSuite with Windstream SD-WAN is applicable for businesses of any size, ranging from small businesses to enterprise customers that need to stay connected and that cannot afford costly network downtime that could disrupt productivity, harm the customer experience and even threaten their ability to stay in business.

The combination of OfficeSuite with Windstream SD-WAN offers cloud-based UC solutions with up to 100% SLAs for SD-WAN connectivity that the service provider claims can eliminate downtime to keep businesses up and running through both minor and major business interruptions.

OfficeSuite will be the flagship solution for Windstream and is best suited for small, medium and enterprise customers that have up to 2,500 seats. Customers above 2,500 seats and those businesses like healthcare and hospitality will be able to access other Windstream UCaaS solutions.

“Windstream is a one-stop shop for anyone looking for UCaaS, but OfficeSuite will clearly be the lead,” Crotty said.

This new bundle will be sold directly by Windstream’s own sales associates and its agent channels.

“For our distribution model, we have our direct sales agents that are excited and the agent channel is very excited because they have been trying to do this bundling on their own,” Crotty said. “Now they can go to a single source for all of it.”