In the next of our series of blogs from Barry Pascolutti (Lead Sales Engineer) we interviewed him on how he’s found his first 9 months here at VQ Communications. This is what he has to say………….
What have you found most exciting working at VQ in your first 9 months?
Well ultimately I’m a sales guy so obviously I get very excited when I close deals, especially the larger ones. I think my trip to the US was also very exciting. In particular, seeing customers with our software in actual and production environments, talking with the customers about how they use it and getting real insight into the issues they are having. I also thoroughly enjoyed InfoComm; seeing what is happening in the industry and the latest trends. It was also good to catch up with former colleagues and friends – these things are great in that you’ll always see familiar faces. People move organisations but they still go to these events. But mostly it has been the move from working at a very, very large organisation to a small dynamic organisation, such as VQ.
VQ has been going for a long time now and the product is mature and very well established but the size of the organisation, the ethos of the people within it and the dynamism of VQ all make it feel like a start up environment and there are very few, more exciting environments to work in than that.
What is it about the software that potential customers are most interested in when you talk with them in the pre-sales process?
There are 2 things that are getting the greatest reaction from customers during demonstrations. The first is the Operator View – the single place where your on-going calls can be monitored and controlled in a single pane. The second is Reporting; both real time Dashboards and the historical Analytics. Both of these features give admins and service delivery teams true visibility of everything going on within their system and confidence that it is working as it should.
Can you describe some of the problems VQ has solved for our customers in the last 9 months.
I think one which comes readily to mind is the fact that in order to achieve much of the functionality and gain access to much of the feature set within CMS you have to do that via the API. And this is fine in a lab or if you want to teach yourself how REST API’s work, but in production it means you have to write and maintain quite a large toolset. And even if you have the skills in house to do this, and we have many customers who do have these skills, this is still a huge chunk of work. I have many conversations with customers who have gone along these very same lines. They’ve started using CMS, realized exactly how much work is needed to gain access to these CMS features and then started writing their toolsets. They have had some success but have realised that in order to complete that work and maintain it, a significant effort from the team is required. Probably a permanent job for a good-sized team. The other point is that here all I’m talking about is configuration and service creation. Reporting, well you can’t do that and it is actually very difficult to write. We wrote reporting functions and that was a significant chunk of R&D effort from our perspective. To expect someone to repeat that in their own environment, I don’t think that is realistic.
The other thing is parameterized service delivery; provisioning video conferencing based on who the user is and what dept. they are in. For example, User A gets one set of service levels and User B a different set of service levels. And finally automating this process, so that when people move organisations, or when they leave or people join, keeping track of those changes automatically. So the new user is provisioned and old users are removed.
What are the light-bulb moments when talking to customers when they understand the value of VQ Conference Manager?
I remember a couple of times when people were surprised when centralised control of the video conference was even possible. So observing me change screen layouts, and seeing the effect that had on their view, resulted in real wonder. But now when admins realise they don’t have to manually create Spaces on behalf of their users, because these are created automatically when the users are imported by VQ Conference Manager, this is a real revelation.
How easy has it been to sell VQ Conference Manager?
But in several environments customers need a proof of concept. This is fine and I actively encourage it. This gives the users the confidence that we will stand up and deliver software that enables them to provide services, not just generically but specific to their environment. And I’m very confident that we can stand up and prove our worth in your environment and solve your problems. And we do track how successful we are in turning proofs of concept into successful sales and the signs are very, very good.
What are you looking forward to in your next months at VQ?
Our roadmap for 2018 is exciting and I’m very much looking forward to sharing more about this in the coming months. Also, I want to see us grow our channel. This is a very interesting time in the industry. I’m seeing huge demand and we have real momentum behind us. I want to capitalise on this as much as we possibly can and meet this increasing demand that I’m sure we are going to see. But I think the best way for us to grow and scale to meet that demand is through our channel. Now this requires more than just signing up new partners and organisations. I will be up-skilling and training them so that they can become more self-sufficient and then see their own revenues grow as they scale up their own operations.
Exciting times indeed.