David Spindler, SVP of Digital, Takes a Deep Dive Into SIPPIO Partner Portal
SIPPIO just celebrated SIPPIO’s second birthday with the release of the partner interface and David Spindler will be talking about the features, functionality and technical merits of the recently released SIPPIO Partner Portal application.
David Spindler: We are super excited to release Partner Panel © to our channel ecosystem this month as we celebrate our 2nd birthday. We built Partner Portal with one key objective in mind which is to enable our partners and carriers through the full customer lifecycle. We are providing the ability to engage with SIPPIO and voice enablement in a way that’s never seen before in our industry. By bringing a number of different solutions and services into a single portal for voice enable collaboration platforms, we enable the partner to manage both their customers and their own overall business as a reseller.
With the managed service provider view, the partner can access the entire quote to cash process and impersonate their customer portfolio to handle activation as well as moves, adds, changes, and deletes (MACD). SIPPIO Partner Portal was built for partners from the input and feedback we received from our partners on what they need for themselves and their end customers need to make a voice practice simple, easy and seamless.
MSP’s benefit from tools that help manage revenue and profitability. Tell us how the features of Partner Portal enable this.
David Spindler: The ability to manage the entire quote to cash process and act on behalf of your customers in an automated fashion is imperative to building a healthy ‘aaS’ business and creating predictable, recurring revenue streams. This will help reduce customer acquisition costs, increase cross/upsell opportunities and provide ability for partners and carriers to offer value-added services.
The marketplace is murky right now with all the one-off build-it-yourself Direct Routing engagements, and we believe customers will quickly come to expect something easier with less costs, resources and overhead. If Ring Central or 8×8 expected customers to build their own telco solutions into their platforms, I wouldn’t image them being as successful as they are by providing full automation out of the box. Moving towards turnkey is key for Microsoft Teams and other collaboration platforms offering voice services to compete on a level playing field with the traditional vendors.
Partner Portal is touted as a rich and vibrant part of the SIPPIO platform – tell us what is specifically in the inaugural release?
David Spindler: Initially we are releasing the key features partners and carriers have asked for to support them in building a successful voice practice. Features include the ability to create quotes, convert quotes into orders, place orders, track invoices, view holistic billing information and call detail records. Partners can impersonate their customers with the full functionality of Voice Panel © to activate users, add and modify numbers, modify users, assign policies, prioritize routing, manage service and toll-free numbers and assign user access with full asset management capabilities. SIPPIO provides complete transparency via a single pane of glass in order in order to enable partners to manage their business more effectively and efficiently.
One of the first and most important aspects of Partner Portal is the ability for a partner or carrier to have many customers and the ability to log into their specific customer environment. The partner acts on behalf of the customer to be the IT shop, the enabler, the operator and the trusted advisor.
Asset management is key to aggregate all the information about various PBXs, numbers, and multiple carriers into a single version of the truth whether voice services are with SIPPIO, Microsoft Teams or anywhere else.
The behind-the-scenes features are even more important and include persona or roles-based access leveraging the power of Microsoft authentication and minding the store with session management. SIPPIO leverages as much of the Microsoft security and best practices as possible to provide both ease and peace of mind when using Microsoft Teams. The platform owner assigns rules, regulations, views and actions to their teams or users. Session management ensures auto log-out for inactivity which is a key tenant of security and power management to leverage resources safely and responsibility.
SIPPIO designed Partner Portal with the idea to enable the partner as a trusted advisor. What functions can a partner do on behalf of their customers and who controls it?
David Spindler: We talked a little bit on this but let’s delve into it more. Today, customers or partners can leverage SIPPIO Voice Panel to activate, add/change/delete users, add new DIDs, set policies and prioritize routing or outsource this to their partners. All of this functionality is also completely rendered in the SIPPIO Partner Portal to provide a single interface for a partner to execute end to end on behalf of their customer and to manage their own businesses. The platform owner sets the access and controls for everyone else.
Most partners and carriers are managing multiple customers so we wanted to provide an easy way a single resource can easily pop in and out of their assigned customers throughout the same work day or when there’s similar activities to be completed such as updating E911 information.
Using E911 as the example, with WfX (work from anywhere) being so prevalent, as end users are moving from home to the office to the beach or working in various locations intermittently, safety is no longer a ‘set it and forget it’ function. As a carrier, we know the importance of following Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM Act so a potential value added-service partners offer is updating the end user’s physical location to ensure teams are safeguarded.
You stated partners can use the application to manage their voice practice. What are the features and functions available in voic for this?
David Spindler: Since we’ve talked about it a little bit already, why don’t we talk about what Partner Portal means to different roles in a partner or carrier outside of IT. Let’s walk through the day in the life of a salesperson, an executive or partner principal and an accounts payable role.
For a salesperson, if they are engaging with a new end customer, they would be very interested in the catalog. All of the SIPPIO subscriptions are shared in the catalog so it’s very easy to create a quote, compare different options with full descriptions, country availability and cost to the partner as well as the suggested retail (MSRP) to easily create a quote or process an order. We also supply marketing and subscription collateral which can be discussed or shared with their customer. In the future, partners will be able add their own custom SKUs for cross sell or valued add services as well as select from add-ons such as call recording, meeting insights, fax apps and more.
Next, an executive would likely be interested in the summary information showcasing invoicing and billing data for their organization. They could drill in by customer or salesperson and they might also view quoting and ordering information to compare to their CRM pipeline, forecast and bookings. They can export the data or leverage API calls to integrate with other solutions. The ability to compare recurring revenue to goals is an important aspect of any ‘as a service’ business.
Lastly, for someone in accounts payable, they can view billing detail and call detail records to compare one-time fees to monthly recurring revenue and review what is owed, what’s been paid and what their profit and costs are while monitoring A/R (accounts receivable) against DSO (days outstanding).
Partner Portal showcases different functions based on the role of each individual at the partner. The view is dynamic and varies based on the engagement the user has with their customer. SIPPIO is excited to add to these personas as we move forward in our development waves and add more functionality beneficial for our ecosystem.
We now understand how Partner Portal provides a window into the platform and works with Voice Panel. How does it tie together technically and what best practices did you use to build it?
David Spindler: Partner Portal is designed in 3 different layers : Presentation layer, Orchestration layer and the SIPPIO virtual stack to all work together.
The presentation layer is built for self-service. We leverage React (like Facebook) and some of the advantages are using asynchronous calls instead of waterfall; these micro calls are so quick and agile. The Fluent UI focuses on the user experience and limits the number of clicks to get to the customer’s data quickly and easily. Like Amazon, it’s responsive so the interface renders to the specifications of whatever device you are using. Partner Portal looks great on a 32-inch monitor, a Mac and on a mobile device.
The orchestration layer provides API’s as microservices calls to feed our presentation layer with token management to ensure speed and security. The rest API’s will be fully packaged, documented and managed via the Microsoft API manager. This allows the data to be available to the partner or carrier to include in their own CRM or ERP system, app or custom browser interface.
The SIPPIO stack is a virtual network completely leveraging Azure for monitoring, security, COSMOS for the database store and pipelines to control access. Our stack is inclusive of the certified session border controllers that were designed native to Azure, cloud and multi-tenant. Master Data Governance (MDG), application insights and netcore APIs controls the communications between systems across each of the Azure data regions SIPPIO runs in complete with firewalls and redundancy built in.
Basically, we are saying from a security perspective, this thing is locked up – we know who is coming in the front, the back and the sides. This is a key advantage over typical Direct Routing solutions. It doesn’t scale for an organization or a partner to build something like this as a one-off. We leverage shared resources using the best technology available with SIPPIO experts in all aspects from the carrier services to the virtual SBC’s to Azure to Microsoft Teams and SIPPIO UX as a very strategic investment we committed to over 2 years ago.
Managing multiple customers is key to a lot of MSP’s. What does the SIPPIO experience look like?
David Spindler: We’ve talked before about the single pane of glass. Once the customer grants access to the partner, a partner can see all the information, data and key attributes about each of their customers and compare across their entire customer portfolio. This enables the partner or carrier to be a stronger trusted advisor by providing usage insights, potential cost saving guidance and proactively monitoring a global environment.
It’s a little like crowdsourcing because your partner can help you get the best out of your subscription by leveraging the power of the insights that your own data can provide to you. Then, because a partner can see in aggregate across their entire portfolio, the insights are exponential because more data offers stronger use cases and builds trusted insights that you as a customer wouldn’t have only looking within your own environment myopically.
What’s the future hold for SIPPIO and Partner Portal?
David Spindler: SIPPIO believes the future for voice enablement in collaboration platforms is bright and wide. Today we are building for Microsoft Teams and tomorrow, we’ll add in additional collaboration platforms. As we enter into the next phase of normal for collaboration tools, we believe customers will settle on a platform that matches and serves their culture. We want to make it easy for partners to help their customer aggregate global users, switch platforms and have a complete and transparent view into every user, all the available options and make difficult migrations a thing of the past.
We build for partners and as they need to evolve, so will SIPPIO. Later this year, we will introduce ticketing, CPQ (configure, price, quote), virtual warehouse and additional automation to provide value to our partners and carriers. We take the partner requests seriously, so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s a particular feature or persona you’d like to see.
A partner joked earlier today ‘will Partner Portal also make me coffee’. It was tongue in cheek but a good sentiment that they found the application extremely valuable to their business. If you’d like to talk to SIPPIO about our subscriptions, partner and carrier programs and see the Partner Portal in action, we’ll buy you a cup (or two) of coffee when you sign up to meet with one of our amazing Partner Enablement specialists.
You can also join Adam Cole, SIPPIO CEO, and Dawn-Marie Elder, SIPPIO COO, for a live demo from IT Expo on June 24th at 11:00 EST to learn how Partner Portal helps partners and carriers build and maintain a healthy voice practice.
Oh, and did I mention you can white label all of this?