Award Consulting has deep roots in Metaswitch. Six of our nine team members worked there, with a combined 66 years of service, and the vast majority of the work we do for our clients has been related to Metaswitch products.
However, our long-term vision has always been to expand beyond that. Our primary focus is not on Metaswitch, our focus is on you – our clients. Our clients are mostly small, rural ILECs, and our driving purpose is to help you with any technical needs you have in your network.
We know that most small independent service providers have a fairly small technical staff, and each technician wears a lot of hats, and is often spread thin. So our purpose is to come alongside those technicians, as part of your team, to provide expert assistance when you need it.
Until today that assistance has mostly been related to the Metaswitch platform, but our theme for 2024 is MetaMorphosis – marking the beginning of a change, as we evolve into an organization that can assist you with a broader range of needs, while maintaining the quality of service and care that you expect.
Why now? What has changed?
To some extent, this has always been the plan. We’ve always had a strong emphasis on our client base (rural ILECs) and on building sustainable relationships with you, our clients. While our Metaswitch expertise has been key to our business, our strategy has always been to focus on you and your needs.
And yet… it’s not that simple. Why is 2024 the year when we’re focusing on this vision in a new way?
- It’s about you. The name of the game is needs-based positioning – i.e. we follow what you need. And in recent years we’re getting more requests from clients to help out in new areas. For example, we’ve recently worked on setting up virtual machines, installing and configuring TelcoBridges SBCs and Media Gateways, testing and configuring a Netsapiens platform, and setting up core IP networks.
- It’s about us. When we had a team of 3 or 4 people there wasn’t a lot of time to go around, and it was all focused on client work. Whereas now that we’re getting close to 10 folks we have a little more flexibility to allocate time for investment in the future – in growing our skills so we can serve you in new ways.
- It’s about the market. It hasn’t escaped our notice that some of our clients are exploring a future where voice is a hosted application in the cloud. It’s too early to call this a trend, but our recent survey (and a couple of client engagements) suggests that a few people are dipping their toes in the water. I don’t think this will happen rapidly, but if some of our clients decide to go down this path, we would still like to maintain those relationships and be useful to you even if you’re using a hosted voice platform.
What will Award Consulting be doing differently?
In the past we’ve done occasional work “beyond the Metaswitch” when a client has had a need and we’ve felt confident that we could help. Going forwards we’re going to be more aggressive in expanding our service offerings, in the following ways.
- We’ll be asking for your input. I’m currently working on our first ever annual client survey, which will go out later this month, and part of that will be to understand some of the specific needs you have, where we could potentially help. If you’re an active client, keep your eyes open for that!
- Training and partnerships. This year we’re planning to invest much more heavily in training our team in new areas, and building partnerships with key vendors who also serve our client base. We already have partnerships in place with TelcoBridges and TransNexus, and have plenty of experience of their products, but there’s a lot more we can do to set ourselves up well to help you in more areas.
- Special pricing programs. With our traditional service offerings, we have a very high level of expertise, and we charge accordingly. When we identify opportunities to help our clients where we’ll be training ourselves as part of the project, we will offer special pricing programs to reflect that situation. The details will vary based on the situation, but either we’ll be looking at a fixed-price engagement, or if we’re billing hourly, we’ll include some free “bonus hours” as part of the proposal, to reflect our need to grow our skillset in these areas.
But of course, despite all this focus on growth, our core business will be exactly the same as it always has been. We still expect the vast majority of our business to come from technical work on the Metaswitch in 2024 and for many years to come.
We’ll be pushing hard this year to begin the process of MetaMorphosis – to add new offerings to our services – and we’ll be sharing our progress with you along the way. Thanks for joining us on this journey!