Light Reading

Windstream Makes Regional Cloud Play

Carol Wilson
3/6/2014
50%
50%

Like its larger telecom brethren, Windstream Communications recognized the importance of cloud years ago, bought significant assets in the space, and has been working at incorporating its cloud and data center operations into its overall network services business ever since. (See Windstream Buys Hosted Solutions and Windstream Unwraps Cloud Strategy.)

But unlike companies such as Verizon Terremark and CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Cloud Solutions, formerly known as Savvis, Windstream Communications Inc. (NYSE: WIN)'s strategy is more regionally based; in fact, you might even say it has a local flavor.

Windstream is building out a national services presence, but its cloud sales focuses on enterprises and small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) within a 200-mile radius of its 27 data centers, including the most recent addition, a fourth data center in Charlotte, N.C. (See Windstream Adds Fourth Charlotte Datacenter and Windstream's Plan for Paetec.)

The thinking is to focus resources on where Windstream can do a consultative sale, says Rob Carter, director of product marketing for hosted solutions, and where possible to combine Windstream's network services and hosted/cloud options in the way that makes the most sense for the customer. That includes hybrid offerings of public and private clouds.

"We are solution focused, not a credit card swipe," Carter says. "Typically our customers have a strong e-commerce presence or there is some mission-critical app for which they need support, not just being able to turn up or turn down cloud services."

One example he cites is a customer that is running clinical trials for medication and needs to give its trial participants cellphones on which they can regularly enter feedback. That data needs to be collected, stored, secured, and analyzed for the period of the trial. The customer counts on Windstream to provide the appropriate technology piece and the overall integration.

"We talk to them and evaluate what they need and deliver it end-to-end," Carter says. "We have the services and it's not fluff, it's real."

Customized clouds
While most telecom cloud providers are also looking at custom sales, in addition to commodity offers, Windstream's more regional focus lets the operator target its expertise and the training needed for both sales and support. The company recently announced an extensive cloud training for its value-added resale partners to enable them to establish "cloud-ready" or "cloud-motivated" status with Windstream for taking its specialized services to market.

"There is a lot of orchestration involved," Carter says. He includes robust infrastructure services, cloud service, storage, and analytics all as core competencies of Windstream's, but its real push is in tying all that together to prove to a CTO or CIO how the carrier can solve their business problems.

The local flavor can be an advantage, says Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Caroline Chappell, because it builds on an established reputation.

"Operators can make a virtue of being local to enterprise customers when selling cloud services," says Chappell, commenting in general and not directly on what Windstream is doing. "Issues of security and trust loom large when enterprises think about cloud so the close physical presence of an operator can paradoxically, be reassuring. Proximity also makes it easier and more cost-effective for the operator to deliver personalized support services around the cloud, such as consultancy services, which are high value compared to cloud services themselves and cement the operator-customer relationship. "

One other advantage is that customers can usually inspect Windstream's data centers for their own peace of mind, Carter says, and know their data and apps are not being hosted and stored in a telco closet or point of presence. The network operator does capitalize on having diverse data centers for some offers, such as disaster recovery services.

Where Windstream has invested heavily is in support and sales training, overcoming what Carter admits were internal conflicts over who sells what and how sales people are compensated. There may be three Windstream sales associates involved in the initial process of addressing customer needs, but what emerges is one solution for that customer, he says.

The company isn't interested in taking on the IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)s of the world or in getting into the commodity business of an Amazon Web Services LLC , but it does address a wide range of businesses of varying sizes within its sweet spot -- and sometimes even beyond.

"We do have customers outside the 200-mile circle," Carter says. "But that's not where we are focused. "

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/6/2014 | 7:24:50 PM
Going local
With cloud becoming a global commodity, it makes sense for a company like Windstream to tack against the wind and serve local companies who require high-touch services. For one thing, high-touch service is less likely to be outsourced to some developing nation somewhere. 
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
Carolina Town Becomes First US 10-Gig City
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/3/2015
Eurobites: Anite in OSS Tie-Up With Nokia
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/4/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.