Welcome to Edition #4 of our Solarix digital digest. We’ve been working hard expanding our core network, continuously developing our reseller and customer relationships, further streamlining our customer portal improving workflow, processes, and automation, and attracting some of the top IT talent in our industry.
Our Industry Perspective – with Flemming Rasmussen
Almost half of CY2015 has passed at the time of publication of this newsletter. Both UFB II and RBI II remain hot topics, but more talk than action. However, inside UFB I good progress has been made, with NorthPower having completed their build, and the other LFCs [Local Fibre Companies] are making good progress.
Within Solarix we have accepted the challenge of assisting the owners of the Taitokerau fibre to lite up their fibre asset, and make it more commercially relevant and viable by starting to generate some meaningful business on such a unique asset. Spearheaded by our Todd Sutton, we have from a wholesale perspective managed to engage with most of the leading telco providers, who are all looking for more capacity and resilience between Auckland and Whangarei, and beyond. It is a STEP CHANGE for Northland, and will enable all of us to supply better added services to customers in Northland, increase connectivity exponentially, and drive cost efficiencies to the benefit of everyone in our industry [with the exception of the incumbent DUOPOLY backhaul operators].
For more information on Taitokerau please contact email@example.com
In our recent mail out we discussed some of the ways we at Solarix, in conjunction with key suppliers of national fibre connectivity, continue to add further capacity and resiliency to our core network.
At Solarix we are is unceasingly working at delivering bigger and better capacity to our resellers and customers – speed and robust design are paramount to us. Resilient and innovative infrastructure facilitates cost-effective services, minimal network downtime, scalability, and scope.
The deployment of the Solarix Next Generation Network utilising best-of-breed Cisco and Juniper MPLS routers continues to gain momentum.
Some of our recent expansion covers our Christchurch metro network. The latest site to be added is Boxed Quarter at the corner of St. Asaph and Madras Streets.
Tenants in buildings on the Solarix metro network in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington have access to high-speed connectivity across the city and beyond through the expanding Solarix NGN footprint. Additional sites are planned for these centres over the next 3 – 6 months as well as a deployment into selected data centres in Australia.
“Our MPLS-to-the-port philosophy allows us to provide advanced resilient operations to all points in our network, reserving bandwidth point-to-point and performing fast re-routing in the event of fibre faults”, says Ricard Kelly, Chief Technologist at Solarix.
Reseller Spotlight – Ricoh ITS
Ricoh is known by most Kiwis as a producer of digital office equipment and document management systems and services. As a response to customers wanting to receive a full suite of services from their preferred supplier, the most obvious way forward was to customise their business and offer full services and solutions. This has proven successful and has made a business relationship between Ricoh and Solarix Networks all the more pertinent.
With a 5 Star Green Rating achieved for their new offices in Auckland, Ricoh are well placed to offer value added services with innovation at the core.
“A couple of years ago you would buy a specific box from Ricoh, you now buy a basket of services, and of those services relevant to Solarix is the WAN and Internet piece. It’s a natural progression. It’s a business service you need. Just like your business can’t operate without a printer MFD device, your business can’t operate without connectivity to the wider world to do whatever you do. Ricoh has made that transition and wrapped all the service we have in the world of print into the world of IT services and business solutions”, explains Roly Smoldon, General Manager IT Services, Ricoh.
Ricoh / Solarix Customer – Why a Solarix Networks Solution?
Flexibility… Innovation… Understanding Complex Environments…
The Solarix Networks perspective = have the initiative to create and maintain associations with customer-centric, sustainable, innovative, and forward thinking reseller organisations.
“We looked at multiple providers/partners before we chose Solarix. The reason why is that we have got a specific approach we want to take, which is not necessarily a traditional approach. You need to be flexible, you need to be innovative, you need to be nimble, understand the long-term, and that relationship is important”, says Roly.
Also noted, the ability to sit down and have an open and honest conversation about what each others’ business requirements are in the first place, is the important piece when speaking in terms of “relationship”.
The first example of a Ricoh / Solarix customer is a New Zealand business (ME), the classic Kiwi business profile of approximately a 20 head count, 1 to 3 offices, likely to have bought an out of the box solution whereby there are no services attached, or they’ve not received the type of customer service they require from their current provider.
The second type of engagement is typically a PoA (Price on Availability) Managed WAN – more complex, multi-site, and flexible. An example would look like a 10+ site organization spread from the North to Invercargill with on the road contractors that may receive a week’s jobs only via their respective PDA devices. Clearly a WAN-dependent set up.
“A complex job example was going into literally a depot with a porta-cabin in the middle of it with a shed full of chainsaws. You’ve got to go in, set that up, make it work, coordinate with people, and get the line into the site”, explains Roly.
According to Shal Bali, Ricoh ITS National Sales Manager, “The relationship with Solarix is going well. Ricoh and Solarix have already identified growth areas and we hope to see the results of this within the next couple of quarters”.
Read through our “Customer Spotlight” piece below to see how CB Norwood Distributors Ltd make the most of this three-way management set up.
Customer Spotlight – CB Norwood Distributors Ltd
Frustrated with previous WAN providers when an attempt at centralisation provided poor performance to everyone involved, meant switching to a Ricoh / Solarix solution became very attractive to CB Norwood.
Established in 1948, CB Norwood Distributors Ltd is a leading importer, distributor, and retailer of tractors and farm machinery with a rich history in New Zealand agriculture. Representing a large portfolio of international clients puts pressure on communications, thus the requirement for an effective WAN environment and high-speed internet access is vital for business continuity.
In the first instance, to support a wholesale operation servicing CB Norwood’s suppliers mainly based out of Europe, the US, and Japan meant across the board communication requirements servicing multiple time zones.
In addition to that there are 17 independently owned CB Norwood retail branches.
Peter Riddell, CB Norwood’s Information Services Manager, had this to say, “Our next major requirement for our WAN connections was that we were trying to build an environment that has a centralised focus to get the efficiency gains. Our previous WAN environment was a nightmare, so the first step of this process was to put communications infrastructure in that supports our growth as a corporation.”
Ricoh… Solarix… How it works from a customer perspective?
“I went with Ricoh in the first instance because I’ve worked with them before and they have an open mind to innovation. What I’ve found works over the years is to partner with people that are like-minded. As a provider to us they give us a conduit to this innovation for flexible and agile services so that we can grow”, says Peter.
“What’s good is that Ricoh have absolutely no concern with us talking to Solarix directly, so when I’m trying to design specific solutions (and this is the other advantage of using Solarix) we can turn things on for a period of time that we need it.”
Solutions like for the Mystery Creek Field Days, which are a major event for CB Norwood, Solarix can turn on whatever they require to provide support at these venues.
“It’s great to be able to have conversations directly with Solarix and as long as Ricoh can manage it, they are happy to sit of the side of these when it’s a Solarix-relevant discussion”, says Peter.
Solarix Follow Up Service
According to Peter Solarix’s follow up service has been of a high standard and also reliable which encourages confidence in the solution.
“We’ve had a few outages on the network – they’ve responded well, they’ve communicated well, which is really all you need.”
Solarix Customer Portal – Superior Visibility
“It’s all about transparency and visibility for the resellers and end users. We wanted to create a real end-to-end customer portal where our partners and customers can feel supported”, explains Theresa Morgan, Service Delivery and Customer Manager at Solarix.
An amalgamation of listening to what “you” have asked for, and as Solarix has grown, a requirement for even better processes, streamlined workflow, and future-proofed customer management tools, we took the opportunity to create something collaborative and intelligent.
Benefits of the new portal:-
- Automation & Visibility – being able to generate estimates and quotes, manage quotes, etc.
- View and manage orders online – see orders in flight, and enter site contacts and technical details into one repository (no manual process)
- Service Case Management – view MACs and faults and look up historical records accordingly
- For Resellers – visibility for services sold, in a structured, hierarchical manner
Expect to see some changes beyond the next quarter for the first phase of implementation.
Who’s Who @ Solarix
Anton Starovoytov joins the team as a highly proficient Network Engineer specialising more recently in design and implementation of varying large-scale projects. His experience extends from the pre-sales arena right through to final implementation. He is tertiary qualified in Telco and engineering.
His technical knowledge and vendor experience is varied and extensive including but not limited to; Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks, and VMWare.
“I am very keen on virtualization as I strongly believe that the future lies with virtual technologies.”
Anton is a keen outdoor enthusiast. Having not been in New Zealand for long, he would like to make the most of the Kiwi culture, make new friends, and have new experiences and adventures. He loves the snow, and dreams about kite surfing.
In closing, we thank you for choosing Solarix Networks to be your IP Network Partner. We would love to hear from you!