TL; DR: Intermedia provides more than 100,000 organizations and 6,000 partners around the world the essential tools they need to run and grow their business. The company’s unified communication and collaboration platform, Intermedia Unite™, combines a client’s phone, video conferencing, screen sharing, and file management systems into a seamless, cloud-powered experience. Mark Sher, Vice President of UC Product and Marketing, shared with us how Intermedia Unite’s dedication to superior reliability and support empowers businesses to work more efficiently and effectively.
We’ve all heard tech buzzwords, like AI and machine learning, that seem to make headlines every day. But, when you’re talking about what really leads to success in the modern marketplace, Mark Sher knows that many businesses and technologies wouldn’t exist without his company’s services.
“Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) is at the epicenter of the future of business communications,” he said. “It’s what makes it all work.”
For more than two decades, Intermedia has delivered reliable and well-supported communication and collaboration systems to small and midsize businesses, and to the managed service providers and value-added resellers that serve them. Through Intermedia Unite’s cloud-powered phone, video conferencing, and file sharing systems, businesses can seamlessly and securely share information and connect with coworkers and customers.
Instead of communicating and collaborating through several unrelated apps, Mark said Intermedia Unite simplifies a company’s systems into a consolidated package that resonates with a wide variety of customers and internal processes.
“What we find is that every business has their own unique workflows and their own unique way of doing things,” said Mark, Vice President of UC Product and Marketing. “Our goal is to give them not only a suite of services they can consume as they need, but also make everything work together. We try to bring it all together into one easy-to-use piece.”
The Intermedia Story: From Web Hosting to Cloud Exchange and Beyond
Originally launched as a web hosting company in the 1990s, Intermedia soon pivoted to become the first provider for hosted Microsoft Exchange — and quickly amassed more than 1 million customers.
“Intermedia was really good at taking Exchange, moving it into the cloud, and building a wrapper around it so administrators could easily do the things they needed to do,” Mark said.
Realizing that 70% or more of business IT purchases go through channel partners, such as managed service partners and value-added resellers, Intermedia identified the strong go-to-market strategy and built specific features and tools that would help partners be successful with Intermedia products, Mark said. For instance, partners can sell and support white-label Intermedia services under their own brand.
Once Intermedia’s customer base of small- and medium-sized businesses moved their email services to the cloud, the company recognized the natural progression that more communications and collaboration tools would likely follow.
“It seemed very logical that they’d want to move their communications and collaborations to the cloud, and we should be the provider that does both,” Mark said.
Intermedia already offered a cloud business telephone or private branch exchange (PBX) system. And the company spent years developing and launching Intermedia Unite, which hit the market in February 2018.
“It’s been a really fun journey,” Mark said. “People are more mobile, and millennials are becoming a big part of the workforce. The needs they have to collaborate are becoming some of the biggest drivers in how businesses are going to communicate.”
How Intermedia Unite™ Delivers Worry-Free Communications
Rather than installing and managing several software programs to carry out day-to-day business operations, Intermedia enables customers to oversee all users and functionalities from a single control panel. Intermedia Unite covers a wide range of communication and collaboration tools:
- PBX phone system
- Desktop and mobile apps
- Remote office
- Screen sharing
- Presence and availability status
- Video conferencing
- File backups and collaboration
The seamless integration between mobile devices and enterprise-grade phone systems enables businesses to be more productive without needing to invest in additional infrastructure. Although Mark said competitors in the communications and collaborations industry will all help customers save money and boost productivity and collaboration, Intermedia’s investments in onboarding, reliability, and support continue to attract customers.
“We really believe in this space,” he said. “We believe that we can help companies, and we know the market. Although people have been in unified communications for a long time, the market is still just starting to evolve. We’re excited to be part of that.”
High-Touch Onboarding Ensures Seamless and Trustworthy Deployments
One of the most important steps in getting new customers started on Intermedia Unite, according to Mark, is first testing and verifying that the organization’s network is ready for high-quality voice and video traffic.
“For email, web searches, and things like that, you may not notice if your network is struggling,” he said. “But when you’re doing video conferencing, screen sharing, or phone calls over your network, those issues can become extremely noticeable and disruptive.”
Intermedia and its reseller partners will deploy a proprietary application called VoIP Scout to test the network and simulate a hosted phone system.
“We’re running simulated phone calls to and from our network and yours for three business days,” Mark said. “We’ll give you a final report that looks at latency, jitter, packet loss, and other things that could lead to poor quality. It’s an invaluable tool that our partners use to make sure they’re going to be able to help the customers. When they deploy the service, it’s going to work and be of high quality.”
Once a network passes the test, customers can visit the online portal to enter user information and select which phone models they want.
“We configure and ship those phones right to you,” Mark said. “You’ll plug in the phones, set up your automated attendant that greets and routes your calls, and you’re done. The phones are completely plug-and-play; it’s easier to turn up one of our phones than a router or network.”
Keeping Customers Satisfied Through Top-Notch Reliability and Support
As Mark told us, Intermedia’s business philosophy boils down to assisting customers and providing services they can trust.
“We’ve always believed if we can’t do those right, we’re not going to have a lot of customers — regardless of how many cool features we have,” he said. “If you can’t get your reliability and your support right, it’s just not going to matter.”
With its high-availability cloud infrastructure, Intermedia promises 99.999% uptime. That amounts to only 26 seconds of downtime per month.
“And we legitimately hit it,” Mark said. “I see the reports every month, and oftentimes we do even better than that. We’ve got to be there for every phone call, every day, every week, every month.”
On the customer support side of the business, Mark proudly points to two consecutive years of J.D. Power certifying Intermedia’s high-quality and responsive technical assistance.
“That kind of validity really speaks volumes to how hard we work to be good,” he said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find another cloud company with that level of distinction.”
Excellence in support and reliability are especially critical for Intermedia because the company and its customers operate on a month-to-month basis — there are no multi-year contracts or guarantees a customer will stick around for a given period of time.
“We believe that we have to earn your business on every phone call,” Mark said. “If we haven’t done our job, then we don’t deserve your business. Let us prove it to you. Let us convince you, every day, that we can give you the value, features, services, and support you need.”