Telecom in Ten | Episode 5 | Quality Connections | Northland’s Operations

Telecom in Ten | By Northland Communications Team

Scott Tyler – Vice President of Operations| John Fazio – Marketing Manager

Welcome to Telecom in Ten, where we explore the quality connections between our cutting-edge technology, unparalleled service, reliable products, and you, our customer and community, as we continue to transform Telecom here at Northland Communications.

John: Welcome everyone my name is John Fazio, the Marketing Manager for Northland Communications. We’re joined today by our Vice President Scott Tyler who is joining us for Telecom in Ten Episode 5—Scott welcome to the team, how are you?

Scott: Thank you very much I’m excited to be here filming this episode with you John.

01. Get To Know Scott | (0:40)

John: So Scott, introduce yourself—your role, the culture in operations here at Northland Communications, and how it works in conjunction with the company goals for growth.

Scott: I oversee the outside plant, field engineering, network engineering, network services, and product line management here at Northland. One of our biggest mottos here at Northland is creating quality connections with our customers and our communities. As we produce a project for you—we view that as a partnership—a two-way street. We take a lot of time gathering up front information, doing our due diligence, and digging in with you behind the scenes to really figure out what it is you need to enable your success as well as our success.

02. Custom Solutions | (01:20)

John: We offer customized solutions—so based on customer demand rather than an off-the-shelf type of approach—how does the operations team handle that?

Scott: We recognize that every business has unique needs and that most of the time a one-size-fits-all communication solution does not necessarily tailor to meet your specific needs so upon entry into a project, our teams sit with your teams and really learn and dive into what are your unique communication needs and then in turn, we program our systems to deliver on those needs for you.

03. Customer Onboarding | (01:55)

John: So with those custom solutions, it does require a lot of training and education around our products and services, and that’s really a part of the onboarding process that we have here at Northland. Can you elaborate on that?

Scott: We have an individualized customer training department here at Northland that is internal and just focused on getting you up-to-speed on our products that we deliver for you. We offer very unique customized training depending on the solution you have and they are also available on demand by simply calling us and we can do it post-delivery of your service as well. So we like to think of it as a truly unique onboarding experience here where you get to meet and really get familiar with Northland and our products and services.

04. 24/7 Support | (02:40)

John: So we have on-demand, 24/7 local support, and we also have our Network Operations Center (what we call our NOC internally) so what does that entail and what does it mean for the team here at Northland?

Scott: Our NOC is based here in CNY which is a differentiator. Our engineers who answer the phones and work on customer trouble tickets live here and know your business. When you call Northland, you do get a live agent. That’s somebody who has access very quickly to the systems and tools we use to deliver your services and that allows them to troubleshoot very quickly, diagnose and fix the problem should there be one that arises.

Our motto in our NOC is to enable first call resolution; however, sometimes there is the need for a dispatch of our front-line field agents whether it be a construction team or a service tech to come out and fix the problem very quickly.

05. Secure Solutions | (03:40)

John: So do you have a sense of what your approach and vision is for security and compliance for our customers?

Scott: What we’ve entered into is a product development and implementation cycle for an automated threat mitigation that helps businesses weed out denial of service attacks. If you have seen the news lately, denial of service attacks for a number of different reasons, are increasing around internet communities. What this system does and will do is allow you to keep your business up and running should you encounter an internet style of attack. It does it without any manual intervention from the customer, so it keeps you up and running, which really speaks to how focused on reliability we are here at Northland.

06. Reliable + Redundant | (04:25)

John: So where many providers heavily oversubscribe their networks, we have gone to great efforts to provide reliability and redundancy—can you elaborate on just how significant that is for our customers?

Scott: So first of all, we maintain connections to multiple upstream providers for internet services or far-end-reaching connections across the country so this level of design enables us to have a great disaster recovery plan in place should there be some form of internet outage, with very minimal impact to our customers. Additionally, we monitor and survey those systems, constantly watching over capacity and traffic needs, for not only Northland but their customers as well, and should there be an alarm, that alarm goes very quickly into our NOC dashboards and we very quickly respond to those things.

John: So within our SLA requirements, we’re at 99.99% reliability—that would be what is called an industry standard correct?

Scott: Correct. We pride ourselves on the availability of our networks. Our customers’ availability starts and stops with us, so in terms of watching over their services, it’s important for us to have industry-leading network reliability and uptime.

07. Expansive Network | (05:40)

John: So we’ve been building a lot of rapport with our customers to let them know that we are a major player in the telecommunications industry, not only in CNY and NYS, but across the nation. Our Jim McCarthy was the chairman of the NYSTA (New York State Telecommunications Association). We have a lot of involvement with high-profile partners and vendors across the world—can you give us a sense of who those vendors are and how they impact our customers and business?

Scott: Everything that we do here at Northland with our products and services, enables end customer mobility with our unified communications and contact center communications products. I was just talking with a business owner the other day who has endpoints with us down in Florida. It’s pretty amazing for us to be CNY communications provider who is very focused here locally in the community but also offers services all the way to Florida, New Jersey, etc. and beyond.

As far as the vendors that we do business with, in terms of technology partners—we operate with a lot of large names—one being Arista, the other being Calix—which are major vendors in both the residential and enterprise communications space. They are highly scalable—we’re working with them on additional capacity going into next year. They have a lot of neat features and functions for customers that we’re looking at enabling here as well.

08. Fiber Infrastructure | (07:00)

John: So as part of the expansive network services, what is part of the expansion plans when it comes to our network growth?

Scott: We are constantly meeting and looking at new fiber construction to reach even more businesses. Our fiber maps are constantly being updated on our website and we are constantly looking for new ways, new builds, new areas, and new businesses to bring on board.

09. On The Horizon | (07:40)

John: We have at least 1100 miles of fiber network across CNY, so as we’re looking at new services from our fiber infrastructure, what additional services are looking for your team to deliver?

Scott: We’ve recently seen an uptick in customers talking to us about very large interface types—some customers are looking at 10gigbit interface types up to 100gigbit interface types. It’s exciting to be involved at a time in technology where we’re really seeing those speeds go up market and increase. So we’re sitting down and having those conversations with customers—talking about how does Northland interconnect with a customer at 100gigbits so that’s very exciting and it truly is a partnership that you need to form between your technology partner and your end user.

John: Are there any products on the horizon that operations is looking at in partnership from a product line management perspective?

Scott: In regards to our Contact Center, we have some features and enhancements that are coming here very quickly that will allow business leaders to make conscious business decisions regarding staffing, or the amount of call flow that’s coming into their contact center.

10. Looking Ahead | (8:50)

John: Where are we going in the next five years? What brings you the most excitement about the operations and technology at Northland?

Scott: I am most excited about leading a team that has the capacity from product inceptions to implementation to deliver that connection to the customer, create a quality connection with them, enhance their mobility. It’s an exciting time to be involved in technology in general. The speeds that we’re looking to offer to our customers and communities is increasing and it’s a fun time to be in charge of operations that go out there and deliver for our customers.  

John: Scott, thank you for your time today.