Swimming in the Whale’s Wake with Geoff Bloss of BCM One

Author: Scott Kinka

On this week’s episode of The Bridge, I sit down with Geoff Bloss, CEO at BCM One, to discuss investing in voice technology, acquisitions, and more.

BCM One is a leading provider of NextGen Communications and Managed Services to IT leaders and channel resellers nationwide. Serving over 18,000 customers and 5,000+ channel resellers, BCM One offers UCaaS, SIP Trunking, Managed SIP, Microsoft Teams, Managed SD-WAN, SASE, Global Managed Connectivity, Microsoft Professional Services, Technology Expense Management, and Network Monitoring and Management.

During this conversation, we talk about the COVID era, collaboration, investments, revolutions versus evolutions and why voice technology is considered the most mission-critical application within businesses, especially during the transition to remote or hybrid workforces.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • The role of voice technology within organizations.
  • How BCM One excels in providing complex voice solutions and partnering with clients to architect full solutions that adapt to changing environments.
  • The challenges of hybrid work.
  • How the role of the office and office workers is being redefined, and why the burden of managing hybrid work is not necessarily reduced
  • How BCM One evaluates potential acquisitions based on geographic expansion, service enhancement, and unique capabilities.
  • Why businesses are rationalizing their investments in voice and collaboration services.
  • How budgetary constraints and the desire for rational thought and planned deployment are driving the need to harmonize voice investments.
  • Why providers like BCM must focus on crafting their unique value propositions while coexisting with larger providers like Microsoft and Cisco.
  • Why Operator Connect is an easier way for end customers to bring their own provider into the Microsoft Teams environment.
  • The importance of being prepared to adapt and alter strategies and businesses to meet a changing and dynamic environment.

The Bridge Podcast with Scott Kinka - Geoff Bloss of BCM OneABOUT GEOFF BLOSS

Geoff Bloss is Chief Executive Officer for BCM One and it’s family of brands including SIP.US, SIPTRUNK and SkySwitch. BCM One provides NextGen Communications and Managed Services to over 17,000 clients/IT leaders of mid- to enterprise-level businesses nationwide, and serves over 2,000 channel partners, VARs, and MSPs.

Bloss joined BCM One in 2012 and served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer before being appointed to the role of CEO early in 2019 to lead the company to the next level of growth. He is also a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Bloss previously served as Chief Information Leader at FlightSafety International, a $1B Berkshire Hathaway company. Earlier in his career, Bloss built deep expertise in the telecommunications industry, providing strategic and program management consulting and deploying operational support systems.

Bloss received an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a B.S. in Mathematical Science with Honors from the University of North Carolina. He was selected as one of QuantumShift’s Top Entrepreneurs in America for 2019 by KPMG LLP’s Private Markets Group and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

CONTACT GEOFF

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Scott Kinka (00:00):

Welcome to the Bridge. My guest today is Geoff Bloss. He’s the CEO of BCM One, a native New Yorker, I believe, but currently in London right now.

Geoff Bloss (00:13):

God saved the King

Scott Kinka (00:15):

<laugh>. I love that. Geoff, why are you in London today?

Geoff Bloss (00:20):

You know, I think it’s been published out in the community. We’re just in the process of completing our ninth acquisition at BCM ONE, a UK-based business, Pure IP so myself and members of our management team are spending the week taking the opportunity to meet the folks on the management side and really the broad employ employee base of, of pure ip, start to build some teamwork and collaboration. , and then, you know, really the plans for, for integrating our businesses together when the transaction finally closes.

Scott Kinka (00:51):

I guess teamwork and collaboration, pun intended here. Right? That’s probably what’s behind

Geoff Bloss (00:56):

You. A hundred

Scott Kinka (00:56):

Percent

Geoff Bloss (00:57):

In

Scott Kinka (00:57):

A pure ip, right?

Geoff Bloss (00:58):

Yeah. Hundred percent. A hundred percent. You got, you. Nailed it.

Scott Kinka (01:02):

Got it. Well, let’s start from the top. , you know, we’ve had BCM one on the show before had a great conversation. I think our listeners, you know, may or may not know a ton about it, but let’s start with you first. Sure. , tell us about you. How long have you been there? , you know, quite a while from your LinkedIn profile, but tell us just about you personally, where you live, what’s going on, and then we’ll get to the BCM one. Yeah,

Geoff Bloss (01:25):

I appreciate it. I always, I always start out by saying I’m a proud husband of 23 years to a wife that I don’t deserve and a proud dad to two sons, 16 and 20, that equally I am undeserving of. So I think that always starts there. With me personally, BCM story,  I joined you know, many folks, likely know the personalities of Frank Ahern, John Cunningham, Jay Monaghan. I joined them in 2012 at BCM One, coming out of a career in consulting, as well as some in-industry work for about 20 years prior, and helped them kind of build and grow the business over the course of six or seven years. And then, when our business underwent a recapitalization in 2019, and our prior founders decided to talk take a step back, it was my privilege to step into the role of CEO and help lead and shepherd this organization under our new ownership team.

Scott Kinka (02:26):

Fantastic. And you, every day you’re in New York?

Geoff Bloss (02:30):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. New York-based, born and bred, you know, if you gave me a couple beers, you’d probably hear the New York accent come out a little bit more. But, born and raised New York City, spent some, some brief periods of time for college and, and graduate school and things like that outside of it, but I’m, I’m a New Yorker through and through for, for better or worse

Scott Kinka (02:48):

Giants or Jets.

Geoff Bloss (02:50):

Giants, of course.

Scott Kinka (02:51):

Okay. All right. Well, you do know you’re talking to me from Philadelphia, so we, we’ll have some fun with that. I’ll, I’ll just leave that. It’s a little

Geoff Bloss (02:57):

Little tough, tough watching the success that Philly’s had. I mean, listen, I think you guys have made some incredible, I’m passing an Eagles fan. I will say I’m a reasonable Giants fan. I think you guys have made some great draft picks over the last couple years and, you know, hopefully we’ve making competitive. We’ve had trouble with you guys for the last 10 years or so, so,

Scott Kinka (03:18):

Yeah, a hundred percent. I love the coach up there. I think he’s great and yeah, you know, we’ll see, we’ll see what Danny Dimes actually has this year,

Geoff Bloss (03:25):

Hopefully. Yeah. I mean, you know, they’re paying a lot of money for, I’m not, I’m not, and actually, you know, funny that you say, I’m a tar heel, so it’s a little tough rooting for a quarterback, from Duke to be your primary quarterback. I, you know, my gut is we’re paying a hell of a lot of money for a guy that threw 15 touchdowns last year. , yeah. But we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.

 

Is Hybrid Work a Moving Target?

Scott Kinka (03:46):

We certainly will. I always like to ask, you know, it’s great when I get C levels and we’ve been very fortunate to ha get, you know, some pretty serious guests on, particularly in this season. I love to hear the pitch. I mean, people know BCM one, and, you know, we’ve had some of your other team members on the show and, you know, and around the inside of our community. Can you just tell me the BCM one story from your words as the CEO?

Geoff Bloss (04:11):

Yeah, I mean, the, the, the way to think of us as a business is a 30 year track record, principally focused on delivering and supporting voices and application within mid to large enterprise businesses. , I think we have always felt throughout the course of our history, and I think it’s true even today, and will continue to be so in the future, that voice is probably the most mission critical application within businesses. , I think you just have to reflect back to experiences that we’ve had over the last three years with the transition to a remote or hybrid workforce. And I think the first struggle that a lot of those mid to large enterprises had was, was how do you preserve continuity of delivering voice services, interacting with your end customers, interacting with your business partners? And that was really the first most critical and table stakes application for being able to continue to operate in your, run your business, in, in that transitionary environment that I think most businesses, if not all businesses have gone through over the last three years. And I think that’s the, the way that our clients view us is, is as a, as a business partner, as a technology provider, that, that understands how to architect and deliver complex voice solutions in the enterprise. A company with it, you know, some supportive services, whether it’s network transport services, managed network services, to ensure that there is a high quality end-to-end delivery of that, that critical application to their, their employees and their workforce.

Scott Kinka (05:38):

Yeah. I’ve always seen you guys as sort of absolutely a voice specialist and somebody the hard jobs can go to, right, <laugh>.

Geoff Bloss (05:45):

Yeah. Yeah. In a good way. And I think that it’s a good add-on to the commentary. I think when, when you think of the, the value that, that we play in contrast to some of the other larger providers that are in the space, I think the challenging opportunities are the ones where, where we thrive where somebody’s got a hybrid environment, they’ve got some kind of significant dynamic of change that they’ve gotta manage through within their organization. And they need somebody that is not necessarily a product pusher or, or a one trick pony that’s trying to push out an individual product, but somebody that’s capable of architecting a full solution that’s got the capability to change, manage some complexity within it and, and move and work alongside and partnership with our clients. I think those are the kind of opportunities where we thrive and really excel.

Scott Kinka (06:35):

It’s interesting, that sometimes this question comes up, and one of these days I’ll compile the answers to this into one video, but you talk to your CEO peers on the customer side all the time. Do you think we have hybrid work figured out yet? I mean, just as you’re having business conversations, or are we still as Yeah. You know, in the consulting, you know, on our end and the supplier community on your end, you know, are we still sort of chasing a, a moving target?

Geoff Bloss (07:03):

I think the answer is, it depends. I think it’s been interesting to see, you know, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a little bit. I’ve now done some international travel, and I think depending on what market you’re in, you see different behavior patterns starting to, to emerge. I think, you know, in London, London looks like it’s back to business as usual, right? And so I think that there, there’s probably still some hybrid status. I think, you know, you’re not necessarily looking at a workforce that’s in the office five days a week. It may be the three and four day a week. And I think that they’ve kind of adapted and adopted new styles in the new environment successfully. From our own perspective, we’ve got offices throughout the United States, I think outside the major metro areas we’re, we’re, we’re back to what I would almost qualify as a return to, to normal.

(07:50):

I think the struggle that, that I’ve seen at least, you know, from our own business perspective and with the client organizations that we’re dealing with, particularly in the United States, is in those major metro areas. There’s the struggle that I think that there’s, it’s still a, a reluctance to return to a more normal working environment, a more regular presence in office. And I think that’s really the conundrum that we have, is that in the, the major metro areas, the New York’s, the DC metro area of San Francisco, I think that, that there is really the struggle of trying to figure out will we ever get back to normal? And if not, what is the new normal gonna be? And how do you define the role of the office and the office worker in those locations?

Scott Kinka (08:33):

Yeah. It’s funny, I talk, sometimes I talk to CEOs and the, the feeling that like, you know, people will be home, sometimes there’s an attachment to it, like that means that’s less of a burden on it for some period of the week. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Cause they’re not in a building, and it’s like, you know, and you’re like, you’ve got the, the kind of question the wrong way. Right? I mean, the reality of it is if you’re in work part-time or home part-time, time, that means you’re building two it stances Yeah. At all times,

Geoff Bloss (09:02):

Right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you, you, you look at the, the, the, how things have transformed over the last three years. You look at the information security implications of having that remote workforce. , you look at the, the influx of, of how do you provide the assurances around security for somebody that’s working out of their own home versus working out of an office where you c can physically control and have some parameters around the real estate and configuration of an office space. , you look at the continuity of collaboration and how you continue the collaboration exercises within a workforce that is transitioning from back and forth. It’s, it’s a challenge. So I don’t think it is simple. Like you said, I don’t think it’s as, as simple as saying that the, the burden, the burden drops. I think it’s a different burden. And I think that there are different challenges that we have to navigate through as a result.

Scott Kinka (09:53):

Does the office change? I mean, you’re in London right now, you said? I’m laughing about it culturally. I spent quite a bit of time in London myself and had, you know, business assets over there that I had to go to. Yeah. In the same way that you’re doing it now. And Yeah, I mean, I, in a lot of ways, I think Londoner was probably just wanted to put their suits back on <laugh>, you know what I Yeah.

Geoff Bloss (10:12):

Yeah, a hundred percent.

Scott Kinka (10:12):

And pulled the umbrella outta the closet, sort of a cultural percent thing. Right?

Geoff Bloss (10:15):

Hundred percent.

 

Making a Strategic Acquisition

Scott Kinka (10:16):

Go get your tea. They love their commute. I mean, it’s a thing right? In London. But I do agree with you in the big cities here as well. It’s just a really, really interesting kind of dynamic to think about. You mentioned collaboration, and one of the reasons why we’re doing this episode when we’re doing it is that you guys have recently made, you know, have announced an acquisition and you’re there in their office. So pure IP adds something to the portfolio. Give me the story there. Why did you pursue it? Yeah. You know, and, and how does the combined company look in your mind?

Geoff Bloss (10:53):

Yeah, so I think for, you know, folks have been track tracking us since 2019. We’ve been extraordinarily acquisitive. pure IP will be our, our ninth acquisition. , and as I think I mentioned, you know, anticipated closing sometime mid-June after we receive final regulatory approvals, I think for, for all those acquisitions you know, if you think about our business strategy, there’s, there’s really three facets that we evaluate a potential acquisition against. , one is, is geographic expansion? Does it, does it continue, to penetrate us into new markets and the capability of delivering a broader footprint of services to our client base and customer base than what we would’ve been prior to acquisition. The second is how does it improve the continuum of services that we can deliver, particularly in that next gen voice communication space. And how does it broaden the portfolio of offerings that we can send out to our customers?

(11:46):

And then the third aspect is does it have a unique platform, intellectual property, and capabilities that allow us to be able to carve out a niche for ourselves in the market? So I think when we look at any potential acquisition opportunity we try and evaluate how does, how, how is that acquisition coincidental with one or more of those three dimensions. Pretty clearly, Pure IP checked all those boxes straight out of the gate, they’re an international provider. I think they’re one of the largest footprints of delivery of PSTN replacement services and the Microsoft teams environment. They’ve got the capability to deliver pstn replacement services in nearly 50 different countries throughout the world. So pretty significant check on the geographic box, you know, clearly their relationship with Microsoft, as well as Cisco WebEx and Zoom, is the next era of evolution in the next-gen communication space of being able to provide voice services terminating into one of those collaborative tools.

(12:50):

And then, you know, we look at the IP that they have around, you know, both their, their direct routing solution, but also the operator connect capabilities that they have. And it was a key gap in our portfolio. , I think, you know, from our perspective, when we think about enterprise voice, you know, if I start flip back to that five minute pitch, you know, we’ve been a business that’s constantly focused on, on delivering and supporting voices and application within the enterprise for our customers. I think when we look at the, the next evolution of that in the US but really worldwide, I think our belief is particularly for those, the mid to large enterprise, there’s gonna be a rationalization around their, their voice investment. And I think our expectation is the vast majority of our customers and, and, and potential customers are gonna look to leverage the investment that they’ve made in one of those collaborative tools, whether it’s teams, whether it’s Cisco WebEx, or Zoom, that’s gonna be the endpoint through which they deliver their, their voice services. And I think the, the critical value that, that Pure IP brings is not only does it check kind of the three strategic boxes that we evaluate acquisitions against, but it really provides us what we think is gonna be the next generation and next evolution of delivering and supporting voice services within the enterprise.

Scott Kinka (14:08):

Yeah. There’s a lot there to unpack, so let me summarize one point that you made that I really liked. Which we see the market the same way. I mean, I agree. I think we’re in a pandemic-induced Zoom WebEx,  Teams. You know, go forward here. But you talked about voice as application, right? I think, I think sort of, you know, in legacy, let’s say over the last decade, when you think about communications and it’s moved to the cloud, it’s sort of been voice is the application, and then you’re amending chat, you’re amending video. Yep. You’re amending in those. Has that script flipped now in your mind? Yeah. Is is voice the plugin to the collab as opposed to the converse?

Geoff Bloss (14:54):

Yeah, I think so. I think so. I think you know, particularly with Teams, I think it’s been one, one of the most impressive deployments that Microsoft has had probably since the origination of Outlook and the deployment of Outlook as the cockpit for the knowledge worker within the enterprise, I think Teams is, you know, it’s been so impressive how they have mastered the collaborative aspects. And that’s video, that’s chat, that’s also the collaboration on files, teams, and groups, et cetera. And having that team’s cockpit be the interface through which the vast majority of knowledge workers start and end their day. And I think you’re right. You know, voice is now an application that’s being delivered into that platform. And I think it’s turned the paradigm on its head a little bit where, you know, you looked at the UCaaS space just, just generically and I think it was voice, and then adding video and then adding chat. And I think you’re, you’re a hundred percent right. It’s now a collaborative tool that’s adding voice as an application into that footprint.

Scott Kinka (15:59):

Do you think we would’ve gotten here as quickly as we have, if not for the pandemic?

Geoff Bloss (16:03):

No, not at all. Not at all. I think, at least, what we saw, and, and you know, we just had our board meeting and investment committee meetings around the investment in pure IP. And the joke that I offered at the time is, not trying to start a political dialogue, but people always say that the Covid virus was something that was created by China. And I look at it, I’m like, man, if anybody created it, it was Microsoft. because the adoption rate that you see — and listen, it starts March 18th, 2020 — the adoption rate that you see after that was just wholesale migrations of people that frankly didn’t have a choice, that they realized that, that very quickly they were gonna have an organization of 20,000 people, 30,000 people working out of their houses.

(16:50):

What do you do? And I think people, you, you, you know, very quickly move to the conclusion that, you know, we don’t have a choice, but, but to turn on teams and, but to try and figure out how we can leverage this toolset to support the challenges that we have out in the market, I think we saw it, you know, we saw a similar dynamic more locally in New York around Superstorm Sandy, where there was a lot of slow movers to sip trunking. Yeah. There were a lot of slow movers to the UCAS environment that I think had the false belief at that time that the traditional copper TDM network was, was resilient and capable of navigating through any kind of challenges. You know, Sandy hits New York City and and wipes out a significant portion of the copper infrastructure. And then it was the same thing, wholesale migrations to either sip trunking or UCAS services. And that was on a small scale. Covid, I think, did it on a massive scale. And it, it, you know, I say teams, but it’s Teams, it’s Zoom and, and, and now the movement by Cisco to make investments around WebEx to, to have a competitive offering on teams. I think all of it was, was largely influenced by a worldwide pandemic.

Scott Kinka (17:58):

Yeah, I would agree. It’s funny, I was recently on a Frost and Sullivan think tank conversation where we were having this debate about revolution versus evolution in tech, specifically around this topic. That’s where the discussion got to, they’re like, is this an evolution or a revolution? And my point basically was the difference between an evolution and a revolution. Is it a revolution that has an impending event? Yeah. It’s got some spark where evolution is this sort of micro reaction to stimuli over time. I mean, I think that UCaaS, in general, and I think sort of adoption of modernized tools was evolving, I think particularly as the workforce got younger, right? But the rest of us, right? <laugh>, all the Gen Xers came along for the ride outta necessity at the end of the day.

 

The Challenge of Rationalizing Voice

(18:49):

Yeah. Yeah. It really has changed. So Geoff, you know, you talked quite a bit about businesses rationalizing their investment. I want to hone in on that a little bit. By that rationalization, I’m assuming what you mean is when you are meeting with your client’s prospects, they’ve basically got maybe a pre-based investment, perhaps a UCaaS, a voice-centric UCaaS solution in place. Then obviously they’ve got, you know, zoom teams WebEx going as well, and they’re, they’re really seeking for you guys to help them kind of pull that together into a single solution. Am I reading that right?

Geoff Bloss (19:26):

Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. We had large-scale adoption of those collaborative tools post the advent of the pandemic and the transition, that hybrid environment, I think, you know, probably not dissimilar from the initial days of the cloud adoption for infrastructure as a service. It was kind of an explosive use of tho those platforms. Still, it wasn’t necessarily done and rationalized against the broader context of the investment that they have that clients have for their voice application within their enterprise. So it’s not uncommon for us today to interact with, with an end customer that, you know, has teams, has Zoom, has Cisco WebEx in, in conjunction with, with a cloud PBX or an on-premise PBX. I think if you think about, you know, broadly what’s going on from an economic standpoint, in the world that, that, you know, either in the midst of a recession or pointing towards a recession, many of our client or organizations are faced with the challenge of budgetary constraints and the desire to rationalize their, their spend around voice services.

(20:31):

And I think they’re trying to figure out what their roadmap needs to be for harmonizing the investment that they have and what’s the path forward for them to have more rational thought and planned deployment for voice within their enterprise while still leveraging the strong benefits that those collaborative tools play.

Scott Kinka (20:51):

Yeah. I think I saw in a Gartner paper they had estimated something to the effect of businesses having a 30% increase in spend on voice and collaboration services in 2020 and into the early stages of 2021. Makes sense that, yes, we’re that building that rationalization into budgets. Now, I think, let’s assess, we’re going team centric. What are the use cases when you’re pulling them together that are not collab centric that you still have to make part of the plan? It’d be great to say get everybody on teams, but there are still offices, and there are still, what kind of things do you guys run into that you have to do the heavy lifting on to pull into the Teams environment?

Geoff Bloss (21:37):

Great question. I think the Microsofts, the Ciscos, the Zooms would, would love to portray a story where there’s flash-cut overnight, and miraculously, your phone systems go away and, and people are showing up to the office and fully leveraging one of those collaborative tools for all their voice and, and communication and collaboration needs. I think the reality is all clients are gonna have to, particularly the larger you are, you’re gonna have to go through a hybrid environment for periods of time as you manage the transition. So I think that there are a number of use cases around, how do I manage moving 20,000, 30,000 employees off of an on-premise PBX solution into this collaborative environment?

(22:33):

It’s the joke about the elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time? And I think that’s the issue that you’re going to see in the transition. And then there are a number of analog applications that, stated this day, that you’ve got. Intercom systems, you’ve got alarm lines, you’ve got things that, that are nobody thinks about, but that are still critical parts of being able to support, you know, a multi-site or organization that has some complexity in their real estate footprint. There are a number of applications where teams alone or Zoom alone is not gonna be a solution for it. And it requires an architected solution to figure out how you support those, you know, quote-unquote marginal use cases that do have critical business process value within an organization if that makes sense.

Scott Kinka (23:28):

No, it totally does. I mean, look, there’s still the, I did a big Teams deal for an entertainment company with venues, right? I mean, sure all of their information workers want to collab, but there’s still a phone at the shipping door and a phone at the hotdog cart,

Geoff Bloss (23:41):

Hundred percent.

Scott Kinka (23:42):

And the four digits that you dial to unlock the front door and all of those things aren’t going away anytime soon. I asked the question for a specific reason, I think because the reality of it is that’s why BCM won, right? As opposed to the customer just going and buying something from Microsoft. Is that a fair way for me to express that?

Geoff Bloss (24:03):

Absolutely. If you think about Microsoft’s overall strategy and it’s not just related to voice, but I think it’s the history that they have as an organization. It’s a partner solution-driven strategy, right? And I think their focus is on what are the big moving blocks that they can enable within an enterprise, and then look to and, and leverage third-party providers like a BCM to be able to, to step into the breach and be able to architect specific solutions that satisfy that, that full need for, for the end customer, right? Microsoft is not gonna come out there necessarily with how do you support that. You know, one phone that’s sitting in a venue that somebody’s gonna have to put in the four digits to unlock the front door, they’ll look to and leverage partners. And I think that’s the value that we provide in that, in, in that service that is not only the voice pedigree and understanding voice and application within the enterprise but the capability to architect and deliver unique solutions out to our end customers.

Scott Kinka (25:06):

I think people have a tendency to think that Microsoft is competitive with providers like yourself. And the reality is, I tell them all the time, Microsoft doesn’t do hand-to-hand combat <laugh>. It’s just, it’s just not what they do. Right? Yeah.

Geoff Bloss (25:20):

I

Scott Kinka (25:21):

Go, go ahead.

Geoff Bloss (25:23):

I was gonna say, from a strategy perspective, I think it’s a good question or, are they, are they friend or foe? And I think the answer is that their intent is neither. Right?  I think that the reflection you gotta have as an organization like BCM is is you gotta think about, and whether it’s Microsoft or it’s Cisco, they are that large whale swimming through the ocean and just their movement is gonna cause some turbulence around them. , and I think a, as a, as a partner, as somebody that’s competing in that, that market space, I think you’ve gotta reflect and realize that if you’re gonna try and fight head to head against a Microsoft or a Cisco, it’s probably a losing proposition, right? And I think the challenge for people like myself for our management team, for others that are in the market, is you gotta figure out how you craft and build your own value proposition in the context of having those larger providers in the space swimming alongside them. And how do you build value on what they’re offering, and how do you define that value set for the end customer?

 

The Power of Adaptation in a Changing Environment

Scott Kinka (26:32):

Fantastic. I, I wanted one quick one just before we sort of jump into the fun. I have a couple of fun questions, but there is a lot of noise around Microsoft right now in Operator Connect. We’re hearing that a lot. And in particular, you’re hearing it from the Microsoft people, right? Yeah. Cause that’s the endorsed way, but people have been tying into and building solutions around teams on the direct connect solution for some time. So you don’t need to give us the technical white paper, but for the listeners who are this far with us can you explain Operator Connect, you know, how you guys engage with that? And then, are you still doing Direct Connect? Does that still have a life in your business as well?

Geoff Bloss (27:16):

Yeah, a hundred percent. The way to think of it is operator connect. I think it’s a drastically easier means for end customers to bring their own provider into the Microsoft Teams environment. So I think from Microsoft’s standpoint, I think their projections are the vast majority of growth that they anticipate seeing, delivering PSTN services into Teams will be through Operator Connect. The challenge there is with that simplification, you lose some capabilities, right? So, the more complex the need might be, the more complex some of the routing schemes might be, you lose some of the finite capabilities to do that configuration through Operator Connect. And so, there is still a use case out there today for direct routing into the Microsoft infrastructure.

(28:12):

And I think it’s largely based on the complexity of the need that the customer organization has for grooming and managing the voice traffic within their organization. I think broadly, what we’re seeing is, is the use cases are starting to slant more and more towards operator connect. I think our expectation is that there will continue to be investment from Microsoft standpoint to expose more and more capability through operator connect. Because it is, you know, truthfully, it’s a far easier way for them to turn that voice workload on within the organization rather than the starting point that they had with that, that direct routing direct connect infrastructure.

Scott Kinka (28:51):

So, think about it like direct routing is like having an API. I can make it happen, but it’s a lot more work. And then think of operator connect more like an integration, right?

Geoff Bloss (29:05):

It’s the old days of, of plug and plays versus, you know, writing your own driver and doing your own driver configuration when you’re adding a hardware peripheral onto your computer versus you just plug it in, and it plays. Operator Connect is much more the mindset of that plug-and-play environment.

Scott Kinka (29:22):

Yeah. And that some of those use cases where BCMs important we were talking about a couple minutes ago are the ones that likely have to go direct connect, just be, you know, are direct routing just because of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Geoff Bloss (29:33):

Yep, yep, yep. And I also think to some extent, there’s also the complexity of the footprint, where you’re delivering calls, is there gonna be a session border controller that’s involved? I think as that complexity starts to peak up is when you start to tilt back still towards the direct routing piece.

Scott Kinka (xx:xx):

So Geoff, BCM one acquires Pure IP. The way I’m seeing this now is expanded international reach, and your belief that businesses will focus on a collab-centric experience in teams. You guys really have both the reach and the integration with them to get after all of the tough use cases that businesses are gonna run into, you know, when they try to make teams the center of their experience from a communication perspective.

Geoff Bloss (31:49):

You nailed it. You’re hired.

Scott Kinka (31:51):

All right. Fantastic. I’m glad I’m gonna have a job. It’s awesome. <laugh>. So this was great, Geoff. I appreciate it. Let’s get into a little bit of fun and then we can wrap and, you know, hopefully, get you outta here. I know you’re very busy there in London trying to get this done.

Geoff Bloss (32:10):

Three questions.

Scott Kinka (32:11):

Give me a shameless prediction. 18 to 24 months, it could be about the New York Giants or it could be about technology. Your call.

Geoff Bloss (32:20):

Man, I got a pass on this one. The joke I have, I’m still really close with the guys that founded BCM One. And the joke I have with them is when I took over as CEO in 2019, if, if you told me that I was gonna have to navigate, you know, my first job as a CEO, I was gonna have to navigate through a worldwide pandemic recession, record inflation, interest rates, and social and political unrest in the United States. In my first three years, I would’ve told them, you’re crazy. Find somebody else to do the job. <laugh>. I think the shameless prediction is you’re not gonna be able to predict that in 18 months who knows what’s gonna happen? And I think the message to business leaders always is, you know, be prepared. Be prepared to be able to adapt and alter your strategy and your business to be able, to meet a dramatically changing and dynamic environment around you.

Scott Kinka (33:13):

I like that. And I do think that was an answer. I don’t think you took a pass on it, <laugh>,

Geoff Bloss (33:18):

But I do. Did I phone a friend?

Scott Kinka (33:20):

Yeah, right, exactly. Is Danny Dimes gonna get 10 wins this year?

Geoff Bloss (33:25):

There’s no way. Okay. I think they’re gonna take a step back.

Scott Kinka (33:30):

Wow. Okay. And as a Giants fan, all right, well, we’ll see. We’ll have to read that one back. We always have a couple of episodes towards the end of the football season where we’re reading back on football results, so we’ll see where that is. Alright, so the next pandemic happens and it’s much more dramatic. Maybe this one is robots taking over the world. I don’t know, given what people are saying in the media, maybe that’s what’s next. , yeah, but you’ve got only one app that continues to function on your phone. What’s the one app you gotta have?

Geoff Bloss (33:56):

Probably a compass, right? I was talking with my wife actually last week that this cohort is probably the first in history that is unable to go back in time, right? Our reliance on technology is so integral as part of our day that some of the fundamental things that, that our grandparents or our great-grandparents were capable of doing on a daily basis we’re incapable of doing on our own because of this overreliance on technology and supplement technology in our day. And I think just the basics of navigation. I look at my kids, they don’t know how to get anywhere. They need to have ways telling ’em how, how to go someplace. And I think yeah, you know, compass. So start with something simple. I know where North is, and I can find my way home from there.

 

Scott Kinka (34:47):

So what, what you just said, and I’ll romanticize it as if nothing works on my phone, I just want to be able to find my true north.

Geoff Bloss (34:55):

Hundred percent. I like that. Hundred percent.

Scott Kinka (34:58):

Last question, and then we’re gonna let you get out of here after what was supposed to be about 35 minutes and we had an hour of technical problems.

 

Scott Kinka (35:11):

Last one. What’s on your end table right now? What are you reading? Anything that’s interesting that you can share with our listeners?

Geoff Bloss (35:17):

Yeah, so, I’m a big podcast listener. I focus mostly on outdoors and recreation-related stuff. On a podcast I heard about author Ian Frazier who I think has written a number of non-fiction novels. So I picked up, a great book, I think it’s The Fish’s Eye, and it’s about outdoor and angling-related stories, a collection of short non-fiction stories about his experiences fishing in, the United States and throughout the world. So, working my way through that.

Scott Kinka (35:48):

I’m gonna look that up because my wife keeps torturing me and telling me I have to read something that’s not like, like business management.

Geoff Bloss (35:57):

Yeah. Technology, I can’t do it. I mean, there are a couple of business books I love that I will reread on occasion just to remember myself or remind myself. But I think, from my perspective, there is a beneficial aspect to unplugging and focusing on something very different and very out of the domain that I’m involved with on a daily basis.

Scott Kinka (36:19):

Love it, and great advice. Geoff, before we roll, if our listeners wanna find out a little bit more about BCM One or Pure IP, what’s their best bet website?

Geoff Bloss (36:29):

The website’s always a good start. And I think the value prop that we have for our customers is longstanding relationships that we’ve built over the course of 30 years. People are always welcome to reach out to me. Mike Noack is the lead of our sales organization, in really a key customer-facing role. Mike is, is a great person to connect to. Paul who leads our marketing organization. So I think amongst the three of us we’re all great people to start the dialogue with. If BCM One is a new name to you we’re always happy to take a call and meet a new person.

Scott Kinka (37:11):

Yeah, we’ve had Noack on the show. He’s great.

Geoff Bloss (37:14):

Outstanding. Enjoyed

Scott Kinka (37:15):

Enjoyed talking with him. It was a great episode. Well, Geoff, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it. It was a little bit longer, took more of your calendar today than I was hoping to, but my pleasure. I’m glad we got this conversation in and we’re really looking forward to having you again on a future episode of The Bridge.

Geoff Bloss (37:29):

Always happy to, and best of luck to you and the Bridgepointe team. You guys are great partners of ours and we’re always happy join you and have this opportunity.

Scott Kinka (37:41):

Fantastic. Thank you.

Geoff Bloss (37:42):

Thank you.

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