Internet & Telephone, LLC

 

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June 8, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information

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Managed IT Service & Business Telecom Provider

 


Paul C. Cissel

CEO

 

Internet & Telephone, LLC

www.itllc.net

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June 8, 2015

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Cissel, what is the idea behind Internet & Telephone, LLC?

Mr. Cissel: Our name, Internet & Telephone tells you what we do. We provide telecommunications services from dial tone to long distance phone callings. We also provide internet services such as access to the internet via broadband or telco circuit. We provide phone systems, both the new style Voice over IP or packetized phone systems, and traditional premise based phone systems. We are what is known as a managed service provider. We are the outsourced information technology provider for our customers.

 

CEOCFO: What is your geographic range and how do people fin you?

Mr. Cissel: It really does not matter in this day and age, although 70% of our customers are in the New England area. The remainder are spread across 38 different states and 14 different countries.

 

CEOCFO: How do people find you?

Mr. Cissel: Until last year, my business partner Pete Peterson, our VP of Sales and I were and are the sales people, but we just started a sales organization. He has been in the industry for 25 years and I have been in the industry for 35 years. Over that period of time we have developed quite a network.

 

CEOCFO: What do you understand about providing service that is all of the things people want and seldom get?

Mr. Cissel: Our mission statement is to provide proactive, first class voice and data services for our customers. We founded the business based upon the idea of what we wanted to experience ourselves as business owners and people who knew telecommunications and computers. We have both been with companies that have gone public as senior executives, where we had done the customer acquisition side and then had grown to the point where walking through the call centers and hear what they were saying to people and we were amazed, but not in a good way. That was not we had envisioned happening. Our idea was to have a first class boutique company that serviced specific customers. What we understand is that we want a warm body to answer the phone, and we want to be able to make sure that we are immediately understanding what the issue is for our customer, then have a technician respond in less than a minute. Our mean time to repair is somewhere within an hour.

 

CEOCFO: What is the proactive part in working with your customers?

Mr. Cissel: As a small company we have invested in a series of tools that allow us unfettered access to our customers networks. If you were to come into our network operations center, NOC, you would see that we know the moment that a customer is down, whether it is because they have a power outage, because the internet from other providers is down in that area. We will also know if a device that they have is having problems. Our tool set goes as far as, on any given night we would monitor hundreds of thousands of alerts and alarms that may mean nothing. However, if there were a particular alert or alarm two or three times, such as your hard drive having some issues that you may not recognize, then that would kick out an incident for us to give you a call We would alert you that your hard drive is having these incidents and might crash. Therefore, we would recommend replacing it.

 

CEOCFO: Is that a big selling point for your clients?

Mr. Cissel: It depends upon who that company is. If it is someone who runs the same business year in and year out, they may be used to interruptions, so they do not put a great deal of money into technology, then no it is not going to sway them. The companies that it matters to are companies that are looking at growing every year. They have a growth plan and they know that if somebody is sitting next to their computer for half an hour, they have just lost thousands of dollars in productive time. Therefore, it will matter to growth oriented companies with a high valued work force.

 

CEOCFO: What types of companies are companies are turning to you?

Mr. Cissel: There are all sizes of companies that turn to us. There are startup companies with three people and we are just onboarding a startup with 100 people. There are also companies that have been in business for decades. Ten years ago managed services was not something well known. People would have an IT professional work for them or they would just call up someone if something was broken and bring them in. That model has changed to where more and more people understand managed services and the benefits that managed services can provide. The main benefit is that you are keeping your team working all of the time and you know what you are going to be spending for your IT services every year going forward. Our average customer right now is 75 seats with our smallest being 5 seats and our largest 1,400 seats.

 

CEOCFO: How do you make implementation easy?

Mr. Cissel: We are in several peer groups, which in our industry are groups with generally 200 to 300 company’s CEOs and they are divided into subgroups of 10 companies in a geographically dispersed area that do not compete with each other. We all use the same financial chart of accounts and we meet quarterly to get best practices from each other. Within those groups that we belong to, one is called Taylor Business Group. That is the one that we are most active in, but we are active in some other groups as well. We make presentations and we know that our onboarding is unique and it receives a great deal of accolades; many of which come from our customers and peers. We have a very detailed onboarding process. It is 124 steps to onboard a customer whether they have 10 computers or 100 computers. At the end of that process, we know that their network better than anybody, including them. We present the customer with what we call a remediation report at the end of that process. That would include everything that is good and the things that we need to look at building upon or replace over the next three years. From that they have a dedicated technical account manager who is the technician that controls the onboarding and any projects that we might have with that customer. Then they have a customer account manager (CAM), who is in charge of working with them monthly and sitting down with them quarterly to go through the IT plan and the IT budget. Therefore, it is a very succinct process that has a defined outcome.

 

CEOCFO: Internet & Telephone has grown with acquisitions. Is that still a part of our growth plan?

Mr. Cissel: We are always looking at strategic companies. It is not that any of our large growth is acquisitions. The companies that we have bought have been small; under ten people. However, they have allowed us to acquire either a customer/prospect base or some key people as well. It is difficult to train up junior technicians. Therefore, our business plan has new business on an annual basis should be about 10% through acquisition.

 

CEOCFO: What has surprised you as the company has grown and evolved?

Mr. Cissel: What has surprised me as we have grown is that some of the projects that we embarked upon at the very beginning really made us as strong as we are. My business partner calls them the three pillars of success. One of them is that we have a saying which is “Hire for attitude and train for aptitude”. We are looking for people that fit in with the rest of the team and with our customers. We have a very unique process. We are almost 14 years old now and when we started we decided that we were going to hire junior technician that have come right out of a college or vocational school program. We train them internally as they go through a 120-day training program and then their compensation is based totally upon the professional certifications that they get. We are about best practices because I had seen for 30 years where there are many bright people who may not read the directions when they take something out of the box. They put it in and then a year later you find out that you have backed into some corner technically because the manufacturers processes were not followed. Therefore, we are about training our people, making sure that they are certified and have best practices, which helps us and helps them later in their careers as well. That was something that was difficult because most companies in this industry go out and try to hire the most senior people that they can, but many times those people come with preconceived ideas on how they are going to approach something. However, that might not be best practices or be in anybody’s best interest. Therefore, what surprised me was that we were able to do it and many companies look to us towards now tell us that this was something that was really good to do.

 

CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose Internet & Telephone, LLC?

Mr. Cissel: If you are a company that wants to grow and you have your own distinct competitive advantage and you want to focus on your business and not on focus on IT, then we are the company that understands business and business growth. We are also the company that understands IT, telecommunications and we are the best partner for you.



 

“If you are a company that wants to grow and you have your own distinct competitive advantage and you want to focus on your business and not on focus on IT, then we are the company that understands business and business growth. We are also the company that understands IT, telecommunications and we are the best partner for you.” - Paul C. Cissel


 

Internet & Telephone, LLC

www.itllc.net


 



 

 


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