The evolution of Callis Communications, a cloud-based service provider offering a range of voice and data solutions out of Mobile, AL, is an interesting one. TMCnet Managing Editor Stefanie Mosca got to sit down with Callis President & CEO Dean Parker, Jr. at the recent IT Expo West 2011 in Austin, TX to discuss the company's game plan.
Callis was originally founded as a messaging company in the late 1990s, according to Parker. In 2005 they transitioned to a hosted PBX service provider, and today they describe themselves as a pure cloud solution provider, offering services to Tier 2 markets throughout the Southeast U.S. The company's Voicepath suite of hosted PBX phone services offers a number of enhanced features to customers for a low monthly fee.
Parker said Callis recently launched a unified communications offering, choosing Microsoft to integrate with their existing VoIP platform. He believes the company now offers a good end-to-end suite for customers offering data, security, messaging, email, collaboration and hosted PBX services.
Callis is currently working on a beta offering that will enable customers to access a full Windows desktop through a web browser, no matter where they are or what type of device they are using.
"At the end of the day we've become device agnostic," said Parker. "We just want to be able to have a device to get our data wherever we want, whenever we want."
Parker said the highest growth area for service providers like Callis is the mid market of America. Companies are looking for ways to make their lives easier and they are seeking a number of complex solutions, to be delivered by a single provider who will be accountable for implementing and managing those services. While larger companies have initially followed this trend, Parker believes smaller companies are now looking for those types of solutions.
Adoption rates for the cloud are almost twice as fast as they were a year ago, he added, and services are being adopted by larger and smaller customers alike. Now service providers are in a race to find customers with larger needs and desires for more complexity so they may simplify those needs for them.
"It's interesting that our attack has always been geographical and now we are able to win deals because people still do business with people," said Parker. "At the end of the day, you make your decision for your communications and your IT based on a trusted relationship, and it doesn't have to be the largest company anymore, it just has to be somebody they can trust." Callis prides itself on being locally owned and operated since 1999.
Parker participated in a panel on the changing market for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) at IT Expo. He said the number one criteria businesses look for in choosing a provider, with the exception of a good price, is trust. When dealing with the growing mid market, he believes that is the chief differentiator and the one that will lead to success in growing the customer base.