Now that Windstream has brought EarthLink under its network belt, the service provider is ready to present its business customers with a unified SD-WAN product set across all of its markets.
CEO Tony Thomas told investors during the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference 2017 that since EarthLink was already ahead of its own SD-WAN development the service provider was able to bolt that capability onto its network.
“On SD-WAN, EarthLink was 6-9 months ahead of Windstream, so we took their front end portal and cloned it and dropped into the Windstream IT infrastructure,” Thomas said. “We have a major release going on in July where we’ll bring our full set of capabilities together.”
Similarly, Windstream will extend the Unified Communications Office Suite service set it will gain from acquiring Broadview.
Broadview offers a suite of cloud-based services under the OfficeSuite UC brand. Broadview has also continued to align with popular office applications like OfficeSuite UC for Microsoft Dynamics 365, one of 16 software applications it offers.
“We look to close the acquisition of Broadview in the third quarter,” Thomas said. “We want to provide the Office Suite across the entire footprint as quickly as possible.”
However, Thomas cautioned that the broader rollout will also require Windstream to get its sales team trained to talk to customers about SD-WAN and the UC services.
“You have to make sure your sales and support organizations are capable of making that transition,” Thomas said. “It is a different solution selling that some of them will have to transition to.”
While some of Windstream’s competitors like Sprint offer customers the ability to bring their own bandwidth, Windstream said most customers would rather have their service provider manage that element.
Windstream will take on the challenge of procuring bandwidth access not only from its own network, but other cable and ILEC network off-net partners.
“Customers can bring their own access with SD-WAN, but most of the larger customers that Windstream works with don’t want to have the challenge of managing multiple access methods and running down trouble tickets and issues related to those access methods,” Thomas said. “Typically, they see it as a managed service and that’s how we have been positioning it.”