Taking the complexity out of business communications
By Cheryl Long
Whether it’s a company-wide town hall session or an everyday team meeting with participants around the world, Arkadin is having a revolutionary impact on the way people work and communicate in a universe that’s growing smaller every day.
There’s no question that when it comes to communication and collaboration, geographical boundaries are rapidly disappearing. A corporate head office can have employees in multiple countries and rarely, if ever, meet in person thanks to the evolving world of Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies that enable real-time sharing of information. Arkadin’s technology is bringing people together in ways that ensure success while redefining where and how communication happens.
With a global network of 53 offices in more than 30 countries, Arkadin is one of today’s largest and fastest growing collaboration service providers. For those who have ever been part of a web-based conference call or video conference, or tried to share a presentation and experienced any of the technical issues that can derail an online meeting, Arkadin is the company that makes those challenges a thing of the past. And they make it easy. Users can access their communications applications from their desktops or mobile devices using just one interface — whether it’s video conferencing, regular phone calling or sending an instant message to a co-worker. Arkadin’s Unified Communications (UC) services simplify the process so clients can easily collaborate on projects with colleagues, customers, vendors and investors, unhampered by distance.
It all began in 2001 when Arkadin was launched in Paris, France as an audio conferencing provider. Over the following years, the company’s range of services evolved to include a full suite of cloud-based web collaboration and video conferencing services that allow instant access to hundreds of people all at once for real-time and on-demand communications.
“Now we’re moving aggressively into Unified Communications which is the convergence of all of those technologies with voice telephony, email messaging and other types of services,” said Mark Alexander, President of Arkadin’s North American operations. “The convergence provides us with many business opportunities, which at the same time are creating both challenges and opportunities for our clients. They view us as a major partner for breaking down the technology barriers and delivering easy-to-use applications in a way that is easier to procure than if they tried to do it themselves.”
Arkadin and NTT join forces
In 2014, Arkadin was acquired by Japan’s NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), allowing the telecommunications giant to offer its customers the global conferencing and collaboration solutions provided by Arkadin. A partnership between NTT America and Arkadin strengthened the companies’ offering even further by combining NTT’s networking, data and IP expertise with Arkadin’s suite of collaboration solutions. For clients, it meant that cloud-based solutions would be easier to use, available globally and on demand, and backed up by world-class support.
“Everything we do is cloud based,” Alexander explained. “The customer doesn’t have to procure anything up front. We typically enter into a two- or three-year contract with our clients. We provide all of the technology, the expertise, including training … so the client knows how to deploy the services to best fit their business environment.”
A strong focus on customer service is at the heart of Arkadin’s success. The company has a “high ” relationship with its clients, Alexander said, which can include virtual training or onsite instruction with a team of Arkadin employees. Their aim is to take a long-term approach to each client experience “because today’s customer might start with one technology and transition to multiple services with us over a few years.” In fact, Arkadin has many customers who have been using their services for more than 10 years; more than 95 per cent of their clients are passing the two-year mark.
Finding success in the Canadian market
Arkadin has been operating in Canada out of its Toronto-based operations for 10 years. It’s a market dominated by large telecommunications companies, and Arkadin has found its niche selling its suite of services to companies both large and small. “We’re really successful in Canada when we do a great job of educating our customers on the various services that are available. The uptake on selling the entire suite of services to our customers has been very strong … the solutions in their totality have been very well-received,” said Geoff Newman, VP Sales, Canada.
Arkadin also has offices in Montreal and Vancouver to facilitate sales to some of the most recognizable names in the Canadian business landscape. But they also have solutions customized for small business owners, and recently moved their small enterprise group into its own division dedicated to managing the unique needs of those customers. Whether it’s the financial, manufacturing or retail sector, there are options for every industry.
Helping their clients navigate the vast choices in communications tools is where Arkadin shines. From audio, web and video conferencing services, to virtual events and Unified Communications solutions, it’s crucial to find the right fit for each client from an implementation, cost and company-culture perspective, Newman explained. Additional benefits such as offering single invoicing, single points of contact for service and multiple ways to contact the company’s support group are key to customer satisfaction.
“The way we work with our customers is extremely important for building lasting relationships. We provide them with best practices from the industry, and implement the services in ways that make sense for their company,” Newman said. “I think that really resonates and it’s allowed us to do a terrific job of being that one-stop shop for a lot of companies.”
Part of MS Cloud Solution provider program
This year Arkadin was selected by Microsoft as one of their elite Cloud Solution Providers, enabling it to provide services and technical support for products like MS Office 365 and Skype for Business directly to customers. They’re also staying on top of video conferencing technology and web platforms, two areas experiencing growth in response to the increasing number of millennials entering the workforce and the expanding use of remote offices.
Ultimately, it’s all about making communications painless for the client, said Alexander. Rather than clients trying to research and purchase multiple services or invest heavily in technology, Arkadin provides, manages and supports all of the tools a company needs to communicate successfully. Whether it’s a three-person office in small town North America or a corporate giant with global offices operating in multiple languages, Arkadin provides solutions that bring people together.
“I think the number one challenge for customers is technical complexity and cost. There’s not only capital investment required to buy the technology but also the cost to deploy it, including people to staff it and the operational expenses to support it,” Alexander explained. “We try to stay ahead of that for them as well as changes in the marketplace. It’s easier for us to do it for 37,000 customers than it is for one customer to deploy a collaboration technology for themselves.”
Technology evolves quickly, and Arkadin is prepared to match its pace. Future expansion plans will see the company offer more services throughout North America and stretch further into Latin and South America, Alexander said. “We’re very active in the market and we’re very excited about our potential. We love our business and have a strong go-to-market strategy. We don’t have a shortage of things to do.”
Learn more about Arkadin and the company’s suite of services:
Contact Arkadin Canada at connect.arkadin.com/Canada or call 866-551-1432.