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Mass Communication-TeraGo Networks-B-AIM PICK SELECTS

See what changes TeraGo Networks has made to become one of Canada’s premier IT end-to-end solutions providers.

What does it take to be the largest cloud business in Canada? The perfect combination of telecommunications and IT solutions, a network that spans across Canada, and a successfully implemented transformational plan.

TeraGo Networks has all of these components, allowing the organization to provide the capabilities needed to address its clients’ secure data flow and management requirements. The company’s fully Canadian-owned infrastructure spans 46 different markets, providing business customers with Internet and voice access, and more recently data center and cloud services.

“Your data is one of your most significant assets—and impairment of your data and its movement can significantly impact your business,” the company shared. “By providing an end-to-end solution—all the way from your IT infrastructure in the office to your IT resources in the cloud—your company can reduce the operational and capital costs of managing your own equipment, while significantly reducing the risk of data loss.”

TeraGo Networks started as an access company that sold Internet access and point-to-point connectivity primarily using fixed wireless microwave technology. Since its foundation however, the Internet access market has become highly competitive, with the Internet moving towards a commodity level of need among users. TeraGo realized it needed other products to stay competitive in the market, and has since moved into data centers, cloud computing, and voice solutions.

TeraGo only serves B2B clients with no retail customers, allowing them to focus on the various solutions an enterprise would need to stay connected to its clients, each other, and its work.

Ryan Lausman, COO of TeraGo Networks, believes that in the world of telecom, speed, innovation, and highly efficient scaling are the keys to success. He is very happy to be with a mid-market telecom company like TeraGo, as it is large enough to offer a wide range of products and solutions but flexible enough to offer highly customized solutions.

“Our speed to market sets us apart,” he said. “We’re not the big corporations in the industry, but we have the same capabilities. We also have the ability to offer support and care like the small guys. Even though I’m the COO, I talk to customers and help them deal with issues if they arise. TeraGo has a level of flexibility that the big guys just can’t match.”

This flexibility has been enhanced by TeraGo Network’s commitment to its transformational plan, which was introduced in the first quarter of 2014. Since then, many of its main strategies have been successfully implemented. This means the business has transitioned from a network services provider to an end-to-end data solutions provider; the product set has expanded to include data centers and cloud services; and that a full suite of IT solutions are available to serve enterprise customers.

Lausman shared that a few years ago, TeraGo Networks came to a point where it had no other option except to transform: its main legacy BSS and OSS systems were a decade old and had grown organically to a point of instability, other systems had a lot of custom code that complicated things, and trying to upgrade software was next to impossible.

“TeraGo Networks started as a small company, but the original systems the company started with don’t grow very well. For example, we tried to upgrade a version of our accounting software, but at the end we got a big bill with no increase in functionality or productivity. That’s why we needed to institute this transformational plan.”

TeraGo Networks has been able to institute much of this plan at a breakneck pace. Lausman, who has a history of working in the fast environment of startups, knew firsthand that the faster a company can make changes successfully, the faster it can reap the financial rewards.

He and the other leaders at the company also knew that getting into cloud computing was the key to expanding the company’s product offering. Cloud service providers are relatively new to clients, so TeraGo Networks is making every effort to help enterprises understand just what they need, and what is possible to provide.

“We’re on the cutting edge of what a cloud service provider can do. There’s a lot of complexity around billing and offering services effectively in this market. Customers consume the cloud at all hours of the day in very complex, customized use. So we’ve created a tool for customers that allows them to monitor their usage.”

The challenge with offering this tool is that custom control software doesn’t exactly exist in the form that TeraGo Networks needed it to when the company set out to offer this service to clients. This led to piecing together the bits that did exist in the industry, and then pulling the industry along to understand what service providers like TeraGo need.

The need for a client cloud tool like this, as well as the need for the infrastructure for the cloud itself, led TeraGo Networks to make strategic acquisitions within the industry.

“The fastest way for us to get into a new product category was to acquire an established organization already in the field. We’re not a software developer and didn’t have the capabilities before to offer cloud services, so through our complete company overhaul we acquired RackForce and BoxFabric.”

RackForce, a cloud services provider, and BoxFabric, an IaaS managed cloud hosting company with a Tier3 data center, brought their expert knowledge of the cloud as well as a client base with which to start TeraGo’s new product line.

A small team was responsible for integrating the new acquisitions into TeraGo, which was no easy feat. It added more complexity to an already complex system, meaning the integration of software and maintaining multiple billing systems.

“I was personally involved in a lot of the work,” Lausman shared. “When there’s a small team leading the charge, you can really control the outcome a lot better. Stewart Lyons, our CEO, was involved every step of the way. If leadership isn’t hands-on like this, it’s easy for the outcomes to be siloed off.”

With the foundation of the transformational plan in place, TeraGo Networks can move onto the more complex goals of the strategy while continuing its focus on its current customer base. Lausman wants to make sure TeraGo is caring for its current client base as the company grows and puts new plans in place.

In terms of the transformational plan, the next phase will focus on front-end office applications, including CRM, provisions, and billing.

“The new offerings in this arena are compelling,” said Lausman. “They are cheaper than the old legacy systems, and speak to the evolution of how software is sold today. We’re in final vendor selection and will move onto deployment soon.

“It’s a much better time to be doing this than six or seven years ago. Core productivity software has become a lot better. Once we have all of the pieces in place we will have the platform where we can introduce new products quickly. This way, our systems can do the hard work, and we can focus on what truly makes TeraGo great—our customers.”

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