“The M&A culture is behind the business. It’s about being the customer first at the end of the day.”
GTT Communications has cut its implementation times for customers in half as part of its streamlined operations initiative, according to Jim Delis.
Delis officially began working as president of the service provider for the Americas on January 3. He said GTT had improved its organizational structures and processes to improve its operations. The company will also eventually refine its systems, but he said the process started by getting people on the same page.
“It was about getting people into the right jobs with the right job descriptions and the right teams,” Delis said. “And then everyone follows the same process built globally. Sounds pretty basic, but it didn’t look like that at all.
He highlighted the plethora of mergers and acquisitions that GTT has completed over the past 15 years. The company has acquired more than 40 companies, including Transbeam, Hibernia Networks and Interoute. These agreements, combined with organic growth, have helped GTT build one of the largest Internet backbones in the world. However, mergers and acquisitions have also left a lot to integrate into GTT’s management. Delis said GTT previously ran 11 different network operations centers that ran their own schedules with their own phone numbers.
“We’re a global company that used a whole bunch of disparate types of operational methods. And [chief operating officer] Don McNeil brought it all together in one global organization,” Delis said.
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Delis said CEO Ernie Ortega approached him last year to join the team. Delis said he joined GTT because GTT’s identity as a “mergers and acquisitions company” was over and its focus was on operational excellence. In addition, GTT needed his help with partners.
Delis’ job places him in charge of all distribution, which includes carrier, corporate and channel practices. And the channel is the smallest of these three, he says.
“[Ortega] said, “I need you to help me grow the channel.” Channel is a strong team, but they’re third out of three right now. It is built for growth,” he said.
Delis said he made a recommendation to GTT’s distribution team before he even signed: Ken Bisnoff, a former colleague at TPx Communications, who co-led consulting firm EagleTEQ Advisors in 2021. Bisnoff said that Delis had contacted him to join GTT.
“There aren’t a lot of people I have that conversation with because I’ve built a brand like Jim over 25 years. But Jim signed up and was there, and I know he wasn’t going to. than picking places where he might be able to succeed and make a difference,” Bisnoff told Channel Futures.
Bisnoff said he finally came to the same positive conclusion that Delis came to about the channel’s vision after C. He also got the clarity he needed that the recent update procedure bankruptcy of GTT had no impact on partner commissions. Convinced, he took on the role of chain manager.
“The M&A culture is behind the business,” Bisnoff said. “It’s about being the customer first at the end of the day.”
Bisnoff, who spoke to Channel Futures at last week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo, said a long list of vendors were courting distribution partners to do business with them. He said customer service will ultimately single out the best vendors.
“There are many similar products, services and technologies walking around these floors. Those who take care of the customer best are always the company that will do the best, and that is the goal of the C-suite,” he said.
The partners echoed the sentiment that customers will ultimately judge them by the service provided by the provider, rather than technological bells and whistles.
“My one and only decision to do business with your company is based on your being there when I need you. As a salesperson, you are ready to step into the ring with me – what you do when it breaks,” Bridlewood Consulting CEO Scott Levy said in a recent Q&A.
GTT brought together the 11 disparate NOCs into a unified operations network with a “sun-following mentality,” Delis said.
Delis and Bisnoff agreed that GTT had already laid a solid foundation in the chain. They said they were working on new deals with a few technology solution brokers (formerly known as master agents), but the majority of contracts had already been signed.
“We have agreements with mainly all the major [TSB] in the community and have excellent relationships with them. Jim brings relationships, and I bring relationships, but the team is very stable.
Additionally, the company offers a customer-facing portal that partners can access to manage the full lifecycle. Bisnoff said GTT is looking to streamline the portal experience for partners by doing API pushes into TSBs because partners work with too many vendors to access each vendor portal. Still, he said partners appreciate using the GTT portal to provide larger customers with a touch-based experience.
Delis said the recent improvement on the operations side stems in part from GTT’s increased focus on channel support. GTT provides dedicated channel management and marketing resources, as well as a dedicated implementation team. The company also provides a dedicated solution architect and technical support.
“In the channel, we now have dedicated resources in virtually every touchpoint of a partner’s lifecycle,” Delis said.