No split, just business realignment as GENBAND appoints a new COO
VanillaPlus talks to Steven Bruny of GENBAND about recent changes within the company and his appointment as COO, Network Transformation.
VanillaPlus: Why has GENBAND separated itself into two divisions?
Steven Bruny: GENBAND hasn’t formally split into two, we’ve just organised our business and resources in a way that best aligns with our two major areas of focus: Network Transformation, where we continue to lead the industry with a comprehensive portfolio of advanced solutions for transforming communications networks from legacy to IP-based technology, and Cloud Services, which further empower our global carrier customer base – as well as others – to leverage today’s disruptive new technologies to their advantage.
Our CEO, David Walsh outlined this vision in 2015 when he deployed our “Protect What you Have and Invest in the Future” strategy – so this is the execution of that vision.
The business isn’t siloed, however, we look at transformation as a continuum that goes all the way up the stack, but there are some differences in the way the services are sold and provisioned.
VanillaPlus: What particular expertise will you need in your new role?
SB: Part of the COO function is the ability to execute on the strategy. Our business and the industry are complex and operationally intensive. A critical part of my new role is to ensure that we’re in lockstep and driving forward on our key initiatives.
In order to do that you need to understand the business at a deep level and the role each part plays in the whole so that everything works together. You need to be able to collaborate with and lead multiple teams and of course you must be fully aligned with your CEO and the rest of the management team. I’ve been working with David Walsh for three years now and we’ve established a strong relationship – we’re very complementary and have the same vision and drive for the company and our customers.
And finally, although the COO’s primary focus is internal, it’s critical to understand the customer and their needs. If you can’t put yourselves in their place via that basic empathy then you won’t be able to help them move forward and compete in today’s industry, and that enablement is key to our positioning. I work closely with our customers to understand their needs and more importantly ensure that we are meeting and exceeding their expectations.
VanillaPlus: How do you see your target market evolving over the next few years?
SB: The industry is at a crossroads right now. Some providers are still operating on the old PSTN (public switched telephone network) while others are launching branded OTT (over-the-top) services to leverage their assets and compete with independent challengers. Most are somewhere in between. Over the next few years I expect we’ll see a real divide between those operators who are moving quickly to make the most of today’s opportunities and those who are challenged due to an inability to manage new competitive threats.
It’s possible that this will lead to some consolidation and new alliances that weren’t previously possible. We’ll definitely be seeing a whole range of new services that will help people and businesses communicate more seamlessly and effortlessly than ever before.
Of course, GENBAND’s goal is to help our customers leverage and benefit from today’s IP-based capabilities and associated APIs (application program interfaces). Unlike some players in this field, we empower carriers rather than competing with them.
VanillaPlus: Who are the Network Transformation business’s main competitors?
SB: There are a number of participants in this space, but I like to focus on some of our major advantages:
We have a tremendous intellectual property portfolio that underscores everything we do. In fact, any time I’m in our Plano, Texas office I like to show our customers our ‘patent wall’ which lists our 350 patents, some global, in the industry. That’s an unmatched foundation that sets us apart for the depth, innovation and breadth of our expertise.
We’ve also woven the customer experience into our DNA. Our professional services organisation, which engineers and deploys solutions for our customers, has won multiple awards. It’s a company-wide focus and we make exceeding high customer satisfaction metrics a component of the annual bonus for every employee, which helps to ensure that everyone understands that this is a key differentiator and business driver for us.
VanillaPlus: What are GENBAND’s advantages?
SB: In addition to our intellectual property foundation and customer focus, we are extremely innovative. We see where the industry is going and we’re fully committed to taking our customers there, empowering them to build on their current assets and grow their business.
Over the last 10 years we’ve invested more than US$100 million annually in R&D – that’s $1 billion that has been dedicated to making our solutions and services the most advanced they can be, and our comprehensive portfolio leverages that massive investment.
We also understand our carrier customers and the environment they’re operating in. We’ve made it our mission to empower them to succeed, which is increasingly important as new, hybrid entrants come into the market. Our positioning is clear. We support our customers, we don’t compete with them.
VanillaPlus: Training is mentioned as a role in your job title. How hard is it for employers in this market to find the right staff to train?
SB: The talent war is real and one way in which GENBAND competes is via our exceptional culture. We’re focused on giving back to our communities as well as enabling our employees to leverage the benefits of Unified Communications by being able to do work that solves real problems from just about anywhere. We are a truly distributed organisation, which allows us to attract talent from around the globe.
However, the training organisation I support, and which I’m extremely proud of, is directed at our customers as well as at our employees. We don’t just want to drop new solutions into our customers’ laps, we accompany them through the entire process so that they’re cognizant of the best practices and get the most out of the solution.
Our customers consistently tell us that it’s a tremendous advantage. We also provide our customers and partners with go-to-market tools and support that help them best leverage their investment in GENBAND solutions. This is another area where we have received a great deal of positive feedback.
As COO of GENBAND’s Network Transformation business unit Steven Bruny is responsible for overseeing end-to-end solutions development and delivery, including engineering and customer support. Bruny previously served as senior vice president of Major Accounts Sales for GENBAND.
Prior to joining the company, Bruny served as CEO of Aztek Networks, which was acquired by GENBAND in 2012. Bruny holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Colorado State University, USA and an MBA from the University of Colorado.
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