East Coast Solution Provider Sharpens Focus On Telecom Sales, Next-Gen Networking

Dave Roy

Herndon, Va.-based Global-i Group is a provider of consulting, professional services, and IT outsourcing and solutions. But, now, the five-year-old company is focusing on telecommunications sales with a newly established partnership with telco giant Verizon, as well as enhancing its focus on emerging technologies with a new software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) consulting practice for telecommunications service provider, cloud provider, and large enterprise and midmarket customers.

Dave Roy, founder and president for Global-i Group, shared his thoughts on the network transformation that service providers and enterprises are up against, and Global-i's plans to step up its telecom services strategy. The following is an excerpt from the conversation.

What prompted Global-i to start working with carriers?

Roy: It’s a combination of telcos starting to bring IT and [connectivity services] and solutions to the market, and business customers in the midmarket wanting to talk to and work with leading vendors like Verizon.

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We have been working to certain degrees with a host of carriers out there in the past. We obviously worked with some of the tier-one and tier-two [carriers]. Now we are starting to really make the full move with our IT services side to bring in Verizon as a total solution package to our customers, so really this is the first big partnership. We also work with several large OEMs, like IBM and Juniper.

[Related: How One Solution Provider Hit $1M In Monthly Recurring Telecom, Cloud Revenue]

Does Global-i bundle solutions from other vendors and providers, or does the company primarily focus on the consulting piece?

Roy: What we do is we merge those two pieces. We take the vendor solutions -- let's say from Cisco and Juniper -- and our consulting practice and bundle them together. We are trying to do the same thing with the new partnership that's in the works with Verizon.

What does the new partnership between Global-i and Verizon entail?

Roy: It entails everything they offer, so their big [offering] this time around is their Rapid Response Retainer service and everything that falls under their security umbrella, as well as all its other services. We are going to have a formal Verizon launch later this month, and we are working with Verizon folks to make sure we have a good handle on their entire portfolio.

We are going to take [Verizon's] portfolio and our consulting services and bundle those to take it to the midmarket. We will provide Verizon services either as a bundled solution or a la cart; we are flexible, but the idea is to bring that thought leadership along with top-notch vendor solutions to the CTO or CIO office.

Can you provide some details around Global-i's new NFV and SDN consulting practice?

Roy: We just did a practice launch of our new service, and it's tied to cloud and how to make the cloud more agile. We are bringing [together] IT and management services, and we want to start to bundle those with vendor [SDN and NFV] solutions as they come out -- that part is still in the works.

It's obviously a huge push on the telecom customer side, like Verizon and Level 3, and the cable and wireless service providers. A second segment would be cloud providers that have a cloud platform and services they provide. And a third piece is enterprise customers that are building their SDN- and NFV-based networks in terms of private or hybrid clouds.

What kinds of questions and issues are your customers coming to you with today that Global-i is helping to solve?

Roy: There is a transition happening, and the larger systems integrators are starting to build [solutions] based on vendors like Cisco and Juniper's SDN portfolio. The SDN and NFV transition is what they would like to see for their networks over the course of the next three to five years, and there are a lot of customers on the telco side who are wanting to build this network.

There are also a lot of customers on the enterprise side that are wanting big savings and a lot of agility in terms of offering their current services in a much more improved fashion, as well as being able to quickly add new services on the transformed network.

Related to SDN and NFV, customers basically are wanting to start the engagement from a total network and business transformation standpoint because they will see gains on the network side and the business side.

When moving toward an NFV/and SDN-enabled network, does this require the customer to do a costly rip and replace of their existing infrastructure?

Roy: We start the transformation process by understanding the vision of the customer and tie it to the network architecture that they want to make part of that transformation. Part of that is bringing the right vendors in to be able to understand whose technology is superior, and then start the transformation with deployment, doing proof of concepts, and slowly transitioning their existing services on the SDN and NFV networks.

So, basically, it’s more of a gradual transformation -- it's not a rip-and-replace scenario. It’s a matter of taking the most high-end and critical services, and putting them on a network that would allow them to have much faster agility and availability. It’s a matter of understanding what they have in place and how to [connect] all the pieces of that current network architecture to the SDN and NFV architecture. It's done piece by piece starting with the most critical parts of their business.

What kinds of sales expectations does Global-i have for the new SDN/NFV consulting practice?

Roy: We hope it's going to be pretty sizable. It’s a pretty big investment to transition and transform your network to the next-gen network, so we are hoping for as much we can. The market forecast for this transformation is in the billions and projected to be one of the primary drivers for the next five years to come. We are trying to get as much of that, both in the consulting services side and also from the vendor solutions we provide.

How important are carrier partnerships -- like the Verizon partnership -- going to be for Global-i's growth down the road?

Roy: It's certainly a big piece of what we can expect [revenue-wise] within the rest of the current year and in the years beyond. I can say that it's really where we are focused. If you look at the Verizon portfolio, they have a lot of solutions tied to SDN and NFV, especially as they talk about security and [the Internet of Things] IoT. Verizon's network is able to offer these things because they are also transitioning to an SDN and NFV-enabled network, as well as offering that to their end customers. So once again, we are hoping to have the resources to push us into that market, reach more midmarket customers, and that we are ready to scale up when we need to.