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The CN Interview with InterCall's Bob Wise

7 December, 2007

As VP of Marketing and Business Development, Bob Wise's primary responsibilities include marketing communications, products, training and global business development.

CONFERENCING NEWS: Hi Bob, please give our readers a refresher on the products that InterCall offers.

BOB WISE: The unique position that InterCall has taken in the collaboration and conferencing industry is based on our customers’ needs for flexibility and quality of service. In order to be able to provide the best opportunities to choose the best, most effective solutions for collaborating in a rapidly expanding global market, we’ve put in place a two-tiered approach to service delivery.

First, we have built an incredibly strong infrastructure based on local presence and support, which is fully connected by VoIP network capabilities. This unique setup allows us to provide service that provides both a strong sense of local support around the globe, and allows the cost-savings and efficiencies available through a global VoIP-enabled network.

Second, our product portfolio is designed to offer maximum flexibility and choice. We recognize that “one size fits all” just doesn’t work in our industry, so we leverage our strategic partnerships and acquisitions, as well as our internal development, in order to provide the most varied selection of solutions. So if a customer needs to combine audio, web and video solutions in a certain way, we can customize their service delivery to those needs.

This approach of delivering both more choices and more solid service is integral to our growth. We feel it’s the right strategy, as we’ve now taken the top spot in the market and have been recognized as the largest in the world, beating out larger telcos. We think this shows the power of focusing on one particular set of solutions and putting your energy toward excellence in that area carries great benefit for the customer.

CN: What segment of the market does InterCall target?

BW: By purpose and design, InterCall’s offerings are wide-ranging so that we offer value to every segment of the enterprise market. We serve over 700,000 individual conference leaders in more than 100,000 organizations around the globe. Our base is diverse. We serve many larger enterprises, including 80% of the Fortune 500. However the small to medium sized businesses have been an area of our most aggressive growth. We put tremendous value on supporting our all our customers. Within all these markets we primarily focus on supporting sales, marketing, training, human resource, and investor relations professionals.

We've noticed the branding of InterCall has changed significantly this year. What are you trying to convey with a tagline like "Beyond Meeting Expectations" and web billboards with the proclamation of "More Than Meetings." What's now at the core of the InterCall brand message?

With acquiring various companies, being acquired ourselves, achieving the ‘largest global conferencing provider’ title and offering more and more services and features on a regular basis, we knew the time had come to embark on a brand strengthening exercise. We had grown significantly and it appeared our position and brand did not reflect the company we are today, and how we are positioning ourselves for the future.

To ensure our updated brand reflected more of what our employees, customers and industry analysts valued most we executed intensive surveys.
Two key take-aways:
1. Our people and customer service makes the difference in the eyes of our customers
2. Our breadth of product offering is unmatched in the industry

Everything we’ve changed about our brand in the past year and a half is focused on reflecting that. We want to help people create better connections to successfully drive their business, and to do this by providing ‘more’ of everything…from product selection to personal attention to reliable platform performance.

Our tagline, ‘Beyond meeting expectations’ focuses on:
- Our people will exceed your expectations in service.
- Our products provide more than meeting solutions – they allow people to connect in meetings, seminars, events, video etc… InterCall offers more than audio conferencing.

CN: What differentiates InterCall's services for end-users?

BW: I think we’ve laid out a lot of that in the previous questions…our goal with all of our new strategies is to increase our differentiation from competitors.

CN: C'mon, give more.

BW: So to back that up, I’ll give some more statistics that really show the level to which we’re committed to keeping InterCall in the lead in this industry:

• More Experience: We handle billions of minutes per year; 16 years experience; strong strategic partnerships with leaders like WebEx, Microsoft and Polycom
• More Personal Attention: We employ over 500 meeting consultants worldwide and a multi-lingual operations staff of over 1300 service professionals.
• More Reliability: We operate at 99.9% uptime, with distributed bridges in 9 countries and the implementation of a single ‘virtual bride’ giving us the ability to link bridges automatically for capacity management, global access points, and rollover in the event of business crises.
• More Capacity: We host over 200,000 ports never exceeding 70% capacity
• More Innovation: We spend millions each year in development to continue growing our platform – this is not to maintain, but to enhance our global connectivity and call quality environment. We also show our commitment to research and development by employing hundreds of engineers and development staff.

CN: More, more, more! How is InterCall able to compete with the price erosion of audio conference calling?

BW: There’s no question that the price for a reservationless audio conference call has dropped over the past few years. That’s why it’s essential to offer the best customer service in premium conference calling events and to provide value-added services. This also drives our commitment to continue in the development of collaboration services and more integration with partners that are leading development in their niche products and markets. Our customers tell us this is why they select and stay with InterCall.

CN: How is doing since West acquired it? We remember that it was quite a marketing machine on the web...

BW: The division has maintained business-as-usual over the past 4 years. The marketing focus on this division has kept it at the top of the game for online presence in our industry. As new competitors came into this venue, most notably the “free” services, many of the companies who had used online marketing for acquisitions started to fade away. But has felt little impact from this, maintaining a steady acquisition rate since 2003, and experiencing an increase in revenues. This is in part due to customers now being able to enjoy the availability of more varied services and options since they now have the ability to integrate with or “upgrade” to an expanded portfolio with InterCall.

And InterCall’s benefits have not been limited to the customer base that was acquired with The company’s former head of marketing, Carolyn Campbell, has advanced to direct all of marketing for InterCall, bringing more aggressive tactics into play. InterCall has in fact benefited similarly with all acquisitions to enrich our overall teams and strategies.

CN: Our sources tell us that InterCall is on a big Unified Communications initiative. What can you tell us about this?

BW: InterCall’s vision in this market is to provide options that allow companies to choose the method of implementing UC that is right for them. Either to help support and manage on-site systems that are provided through InterCall partners, or to allow connectivity to hosted services. Our first steps include not only sales support and integration of Microsoft® OCS, but also building integration points that make it easy for many companies to take advantage of a UC-type experience before they are able to make infrastructure investments.

Our service offering focuses on a dedicated consulting team, who will assist in the design and architecture of UC solutions (including collaboration, voice and video integration) as well as security and compliance issues. We’re also able to deliver IP/PBX or PBX phone integration to Exchange 2007 or OCS.

Today, InterCall customer’s can also take advantage of various services that allow them to integrate their conferences from different devices and platforms without an UC-infrastructure deployment, in a scenario we call “unified meetings”:
• Audio integration with all web conferencing products: Even if the web platform is not a proprietary InterCall service, our audio conferencing services integrate for one-click dial out connections and call controls from within the web screen.
• Mobile Assistant: Start, join and manage InterCall audio conferences with a single touch from various mobile devices.
• Click-to-Conference: Deliver automated reminders to your conference participants’ email inboxes to ensure meetings start on time and give them easy entry into the meeting.
• Podcasting: Listen to your recorded conference by downloading it from the Internet to a personal audio player or aggregator.
• Outlook® Integration: Easily create, edit and schedule meetings with your pre-defined conferencing information, right from your Outlook toolbar.
• Mobile Communicator Integration: Quickly escalate a group IM session to a web or mobile conference.

CN: Thanks, Bob. Continued success with InterCall.


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