Azzurri has launched a new unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platform – the first in a series of service launches planned this year under its new ICON cloud and managed services banner – saying that it is now getting back to business as usual following its recent restructuring.
The firm completed a long and arduous restructuring programme with a major refinancing in October 2013 – following which its CEO Vim Vithaldas stepped down – and has ploughed a chunk of money from a new £20m loan note into developing its new lines, according to CTO Rufus Grig.
Speaking to MicroScope, Grig said: “We’ve been beavering away at this for 12 months, and a big part of the refinancing deal was to give us the backing and capability to go through with this.
“We knew cloud was essential to UC going forward, and we’ve been busy building the platform, services catalogue and roadmap. We expect to launch five distinct new services by the end of the year,” he added.
The first product in this set, ICON Communicate, is a managed suite of comms services including IP telephony, UC and contact centre offerings delivered via the cloud.
Grig said the service was scaled for 250 to 5,000 seat installations in order to offer more affordable, bespoke enterprise-class hosted comms services to midmarket customers, long Azzurri’s sweet spot. It marries the usual cloud benefits around financial flexibility and availability with the security and feature set of an on-premise IP PBX, which Azzurri claims will offer customers the best of both worlds.
“It enables our customers to worry about building out their own business and lets us manage the risk of unified comms,” Grig explained.
Ian Turfrey, CIO at launch customer City & Guilds Group, said the depth and breadth of the range of services on offer potentially put Azzurri a full year ahead of its rivals.
“My strategic goal is to remove all of our communications systems and servers from our physical sites by the end of 2014. ICON Communicate has enabled me to take a major step forward in delivering on my vision of an unburdened IT team where all IT and telecoms are delivered as a service from external suppliers,” he said.
Turfrey noted that it played into the growing idea that customer IT departments should begin to serve as an in-house reseller, saying: “The IT department should no longer be the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the organisation. Instead it should be the service provider that uses technology to unburden the business to do bigger and better things.”