EventSpan  Webinar Wire  Conferencing News  Key People Directory  Enterprise Video Advertise | Contact

CN Headlines

CN Blog

The CN Interview: Marty Hollander, Senior VP of Marketing at Vidyo Read more


Join Interactive Media Strategies for an inside look at the world of corporate video adoption. Watch now

For Conferencing Players

News Alerts!

Receive daily CN Alert emails with breaking headlines in the conferencing industry. Click here for this free service.


THE CN INTERVIEW: Tim Reedy, ConferencePlus

The CN Interview with Tim Reedy

14 May, 2007

As president and chief executive officer of ConferencePlus, Tim Reedy is responsible for ConferencePlus' strategic direction and for the execution of its business plan. Tim joined ConferencePlus from MCI Conferencing, where he helped the firm grow from under $100M in 1995 to more than half a billion dollarsin 2002 – the most profitable division of MCI and the largest conferencing interest in the industry at that time. Before joining MCI, Tim had executive roles at Darome Teleconferencing and Ameritech Mobile Communications.

Conferencing News: Let’s get right into it…with the cost of conferencing solutions falling precipitously year after year, how can companies like ConferencePlus meet their revenue goals?

Tim Reedy: It’s pretty apparent that there is an abundance of conferencing options available to companies today and that price per minute continues to decline. Given this, success absolutely boils down to the scope and nature of applications offered combined with reliability and quality of service.

Reliability and quality speak for themselves and we’ll never abandon those cornerstones of our success. Look, our reservations ASA [Average Speed of Answer] is under 10 seconds. Could we get away with 15 or 20? Probably, but that’s not what our customers expect. Our customers trust our quality and customer service so these values will continue to be the driving force behind every service we bring to the marketplace.
Now, what will those services be? We believe that a significant portion of the value added by a CSP will be those applications that reside in the space of content management. We believe customers should be able to gain extra value from their collaborations by storing, distributing, and repurposing the content they create while using our services. Customers want to manage the information surrounding their event, whether it’s audio, web, video, or streaming. The new Web mantra is “content is king” and we’re looking at ways for our customers to supplement, manage, and integrate their collaboration content with their websites and intranets via streaming, podcasts, archives, etcetera.

Another area we believe offers new opportunities for providers is managed services. We currently have an extremely large client that brought all their audio bridging in-house. This made financial sense until they tried to do cost allocation and they couldn’t integrate the processing of their CDRs [Call Detail Records] with their accounting system. We now process all their CDRs and do their cost allocation using their Amex Corporate Cards. There are other services that we also see potential for - such as reservations, operator assistance, and maintenance. These are the service gaps that companies experience when they move to an in-house bridging solution and we want to fill that void.

CN: What is the background of ConferencePlus and how has ConferencePlus succeeded or failed?

TR: ConferencePlus entered the market primarily as a private label provider of audio conferencing services in 1988 and added web and multipoint videoconferencing in 1996. In 2002, I joined the company as CEO with a new management team. It was a tough time so we really focused on cost containment and increasing revenue and profitably, which I’m proud to say we’ve sustained into 2007. In fact, in our last fiscal year we grew top line revenues by 8% and saw our average price per minute increase as well.

While we’ve always had a retail channel, we really didn’t focus on the ConferencePlus brand until 2003. Prior to that, our brand was CPI and it used to be that people didn’t always know who ConferencePlus was, but they recognized our re-sellers. Prior to 2002, we didn’t even have a marketing department. One of the first things we did was create a marketing department and completely re-branded our retail offering in 2003. Since then we’ve steadily grown our marketing and we’ve really seen the ConferencePlus brand take-off.

As far as successes go, I think the re-branding and re-launch have been huge as well as ConferencePlus being profitable with no debt - which isn’t the norm for this industry. We see some of our competitors are struggling to meet debt payments, reducing headcount and closing facilities, while we’re able to invest in our people, our processes and our systems to meet the significant challenges facing service providers.
In terms of failures, I don’t see anything significant. I don’t think we’ve missed any market trends or were caught unprepared for market shifts. Have we been late on some things? Sure, but nothing that makes me say we blew it.

CN: What sets ConferencePlus apart in a competitive marketplace?

It sounds cliché, but I think our people make a huge difference in how we position ourselves in the marketplace. I’ll put our people up against anyone in the industry - for service, professionalism, average speed of answer, you name it. To maintain this, we’ve established an award winning training program to not only onboard new hires, but to keep all of our people on a growth path.

Technologically, in the ‘90s we developed CRBS, our proprietary Conference Reservations and Billing System, to support multiple market channels from reservations all the way through billing. We have continually upgraded and improved CRBS and it’s proved to be a key competitive advantage for us in terms of billing accuracy and the flexibility to provide customized services and reporting. Our legacy as a wholesale provider led to the development of CRBS to handle multiple tiers of customers and has made it extremely adaptable to customer needs and truly sets us apart against our competition.

CN: Tim, earlier you mentioned content management applications. Could you elaborate on that and what ConferencePlus is doing in that space?

TR: That is a really exciting area for us. We have a couple of customers that are really early adopters of technology and we are working with them to manage a lot of the content for their internal sales and marketing and external customers. We’re developing custom portals that contain not only content that has been generated and created from our services, but we’re taking their archived content, which they were having trouble distributing, and adding that to the site as well. We’re converting their videos and presentations to streaming webcasts and podcasts so their users can take it mobile. It’s a terrific way for customers to leverage content that may otherwise be gathering dust.
While these are one-off projects, our next step is to take the tools and systems we’re developing for them and productize those for all of our customers to manage their content on the scale that best fits them. We have some really cool plans that will allow our customers to manage their content through their MyAccount Dashboard and make that content available to whomever they want via permission based access.

CN: That's interesting. As you may know, Aperio Networks (publisher of Conferencing News) is launching a new site called, which will distribute and syndicate upcoming and archived web-based event listings. As it's an independent publishing site, it would be highly complementary to your efforts. ...On another note, what’s the personality of a ConferencePlus customer? Is there a market you are specifically concentrating on?

TR: There’s no real defined customer. Our customer list is extremely diverse, ranging from Fortune 10 corporations to single person home offices. I think that’s the norm for the industry unless you are extremely niche focused. And for us, our reseller and agent channels bring us an even more diverse client group depending on their targeted markets. So the reality is we service both sides of the market - thousands of small customers with one or two users and huge organizations with thousands of users.

However, within that base, we do see certain trends and we work to capitalize on those through our various marketing programs. For example, we’re not only looking at traditional vertical markets, like health care, retail and financial services, but we are also looking at more “horizontal” markets, like human resources, training, and marketing.

As far as services that are in demand, we’re seeing a bit of a trend among our more tech savvy customers who favor webcasting/streaming technologies over straight web and videoconferencing. I think part of it is just the maturing of technologies and markets. More and more the internet is fulfilling the promise that drove the bubble in the late ‘90s. Now the technologies are robust, easy-to-use, and getting cheaper every day.

CN: What do you think a company should look for in a conferencing provider?

TR: Well, obviously I’m going to be biased, but at the specific company level I think it’s a combination of quality, functionality, and price that drives decisions. We look at the combination of these three creating total value for our customers. In the past, price carried a ton of weight but there’s really not much differentiation there anymore.
We believe that reliability and quality have replaced cost as key motivators in the decision-making process. If I were a buyer of services right now, I’d look for a provider that offered the services I need at good prices with no hidden page two items or minimums. Then, I would get the provider to commit to their service levels in writing so you have a commitment to total value, not just cheap pricing. That’s what we are doing at ConferencePlus, concentrating on offering quality, functionality, and price that gives the customer more total value than our competitors. There’s a reason that everyone hasn’t moved to the free conferencing providers and it’s that total value doesn’t exist with those services.

CN: We’ve heard so much about convergence. How important is the concept of convergence to key players in conferencing?

TR: Convergence and unified communications are the industry buzz words of the moment. Convergence in the conferencing marketplace says that anything is possible: instant messaging, podcasting, collaboration, file sharing …all on a single communications platform. But what does it mean to our customers? To most – probably nothing. These services and features will catch on and one day we’ll all be wondering how we ever survived without them, but right now the wide spread demand isn’t there. Sure, there are early adopters and we’re developing services to meet their needs, but we’re still teaching customers how to use web conferencing.

CN: In closing, do you have any big plans for 2007 or anything else you’d like to add?

TR: Some in the industry are forecasting doom and gloom but we are optimistic about our future. As I said earlier, we’re doing a lot of work in the content management area so we’ll have some new services and features rolling out in that arena. We’ll continue to pursue managed services business. Also, we’re rolling out a new Master Agent Program that should re-energize that channel as we adapt to the changing market. Other than that, we’ll continue to expand our retail presence and support our Indirect Sales Channel. Let’s face it we’re in a fairly mature industry so success is going to be based on doing things better than the other guy.
CN: Thanks Tim. Continued success with ConferencePlus.

TR: Thank you.


For Conferencing Users

Our Sponsors

Wyde Voice

CN Stock Watch*


* 15 minute delay

Wyde Voice