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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (2) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
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
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile Launches RCS Messaging
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/22/2015
Huawei Working Hard for Rural Success
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/22/2015
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone Test TWDM-PON
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 7/22/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Cat Sense Click Here
Can you hear me now?