TBI Streamlines a Complex Value Chain in Telco Services

Posted by Emily Houghton, Industry Marketing

Operating in a complex industry, with an intricate, multi-party value chain, TBI (Telecom Brokerage Inc.), was looking to introduce simplicity and efficiency across their organization.

The 26-year-old company looked to streamline internal processes so they could continue to provide a “white glove” approach to their selling partners. To do that, TBI needed to update its own processes across that value chain.

TBI works on a model similar to how a consumer might work with an insurance agency to find the best auto, home or health insurance. They can compare premiums, deductibles and coverage from multiple insurers to select the ideal policy. As a telecommunications master agent, TBI’s customers are systems integrators, value-added resellers and other IT consultancies that need a communication technologies for an end-customer.

TBI helps those selling partners select the best voice, data, network and managed services from more than 85 vendors, including Verizon, Rackspace, Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum and CenturyLink. Its vendor-agnostic services include sourcing, advising, training, back-office support and commissioning partners paid by vendor solutions.

NetSuite plays a pivotal role in simplifying and introducing efficiencies in that process. Deployed in 2014, NetSuite has helped TBI increase sales productivity by 133 percent in less than three years. Commissionable revenue has soared 100 percent, while the workforce has grown from 80 to 180 employees.

“Our business has seen explosive growth that’s a byproduct of the hot technology sector — but also our ability to adapt with real-time business intelligence in NetSuite,” said Jeff Newton, VP of Enterprise Sales & Engineering at TBI, based in Chicago.

“NetSuite has given us a level of visibility we never envisioned,” Newton added. “We can better manage our customers’ experience based on how efficiently orders move through our system.”

Graduating to NetSuite

Initially, TBI looked to NetSuite to graduate from QuickBooks and to supply CRM functionality. In short order, the company rapidly expanded the NetSuite footprint to cover all key operational processes, including its mission-critical commissioning function.

For years, TBI had relied on an industry-standard solution called RPM Telco for commissioning. As it mapped out its strategy, TBI foresaw the benefits of running financials, CRM, project management and commissioning on a unified platform. That would streamline the full lead-to-cash workflow and heighten visibility across the organization.

“We were effectively putting our business on the line by moving commissioning into NetSuite,” Newton said. “It’s a very complex and mission-critical workflow to get commissions to agents.”

Summing up the results, Newton said: “I can say our migration from RPM Telco to NetSuite has made this the most successful technology move TBI has ever undertaken.”

TBI worked to accomplish the commissioning transition, initially. Later hiring NetSuite Solution Provider Gurus Solutions for further customizations needed in using the SuiteCloud development platform. And it utilized the NetSuite Advanced Partner Center to let more than 2,000 partner users track commissions, orders and financial data in NetSuite. These partners can now run reports, open tickets and troubleshoot issues.

That interactivity and transparency improves selling partner satisfaction and repeat business, helping drive TBI’s double-digit revenue increase.

A Big Surprise

In selecting NetSuite after evaluating Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Sage and SugarCRM, TBI’s initial idea was to streamline its ordering and operational processes.

As TBI soon experienced, NetSuite delivers flexible, on-demand reporting for real-time insights into key metrics. TBI has gained groundbreaking visibility to continuously optimize the business through its operational support department.

“One of the biggest surprises is that the analytics, business intelligence and reporting we have with NetSuite is the best we’ve ever seen,” Newton said.

With an agile, scalable foundation in NetSuite, TBI has its sights set on continued growth and diversification. Newton said one particular opportunity is to partner with NetSuite Solution Providers to complement NetSuite deployments with telco infrastructure.

“As we look to grow our business in new sectors and verticals, NetSuite is not a limiting factor whatsoever,” Newton said. “It scales with the business.”

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