I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlie Pagliazzo, VP of Channel at Granite Telecommunications about the company and its history, telecommunications product and service offerings, and future B2B information technology trends.
[Bob] Before we get started, tell me a little bit about yourself, background, and history with Granite?
Thanks, Bob. I joined Granite 17 years ago to establish the company’s channel program. I was in the industry prior to that, and over those ten years, I had responsibilities including direct sales management, international wholesale distribution, and data center operations.
Building and growing Granite Channels has been and continues to be the most enjoyable opportunity I’ve been associated with, mainly being part of a great team and providing solutions for professional agent partners to utilize with their clients. It’s that team and those partners that have made it possible for Granite Channels to be a significant part of Granite’s overall success. Today Channels accounts for over $250 million in annual revenue, and we’re looking to top $300 million within a year.
[Bob] Tell me about Granite? What does Granite do in simple terms? What are you focused on? What is your top service offering?
In simple terms – Granite and its agent partners help customers manage their voice and data requirements more efficiently, reducing costs and providing a single point of contact and one invoice across all locations. Granite provides voice, data, and other services to multi-location businesses across the US and Canada and supports US federal, state, and local governmental agencies. With over $1.5B in annual revenue, Granite services more than 1.75 million voice and data lines and supports more than two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies.
We are focused on the transformation of client legacy telecom services. Specifically, leveraging technology to meet those clients’ organizational goals while reducing costs and providing a full range of advanced communications solutions: including Internet Access, SD-WAN, Wireless WAN, Hosted PBX, SIP Trunking, Mobile Voice and Data, Mobile Device Management, Managed Security and Network Integration.
As for top service offerings, Granite has been consolidating and supporting Plain Old Fashion Telephone Service (POTS) since the company’s inception and quickly became by far the largest provider in that space. POTS support and internet access continue to be an important part of the value proposition we present to prospects. Adding to that though, over half of new orders are for our proprietary data network and IP voice platform, SD-WAN options, a rapidly growing mobility offering, and network integration solutions. The transformation is happening both for our clients and within Granite.
[Bob] Where do you see Granite in the next 5 years, 10 years? What is your long-term focus?
Long-term is really the keyword. Granite is all about growth, adding more solutions for our clients and prospects to consider. As a privately held company, with no outside investors and having zero debt, we look to continue helping end-users be more efficient and effective without us considering Wall Street or venture capital investors’ concerns. In 5 years, 10 years, and beyond, we look to ensure more end-users can access our solutions and be considered the premier provider of services to multi-location entities, private and public.
Having been selected to be one of the Federal government’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions providers, the solutions we are developing to meet the government’s needs will also create more service options for enterprise clients. Continuing to build our network, providing more network design and technical support, and then leveraging our volume will benefit our partners and the end-user for years to come.
[Bob] What are you seeing in terms of network infrastructure demand? Is it SD-WAN vs. MPLS Networks?
It’s very much going to SD-WAN. Granite made the decision to offer multiple SD-WAN solutions, to the point you can say we are provider agnostic so that the right option for a particular client is implemented. We are not going to shoehorn a solution for our own benefit. Those offerings are enhanced by the myriad of connectivity solutions Granite delivers. Also, there are still outliers that utilize MPLS, and Granite’s network provides MPLS network services across the country to serve those outliers such as large financial institutions and government agencies. It is interesting to note that even the government is starting to utilize SD-WAN now. Just this month, a sizeable and well-known federal agency chose Granite to implement its SD-WAN solution.
[Bob] Who are your typical customers? Size? Industry? Vertical?
Our typical customers are large and medium-sized enterprises, specifically multi-location companies, and government entities and agencies. Our enterprise clients span across a wide array of industries and verticals – healthcare, retail, financial, transportation, restaurant, utilities, and more. As Granite’s portfolio of solutions expands, we’re engaging and supporting a more comprehensive range of clients than ever before. For our partners, that’s making the Granite offering more productive for them than ever before.
[Bob] Where does Granite offer its services? Available markets? Regions? Domestic or International?
Granite solutions are offered nationwide throughout the US and Canada; we’re built to support that footprint.
[Bob] What is Granite known for? What are your top service offerings today?
As mentioned previously, Granite quickly became the largest POTS provider in the nation to multi-location enterprises. While we continue to process a 5-figure number of new POTS lines every month, we have expanded our solutions to offer the latest technology for voice and network needs. Hosted voice, hosted PBX, SIP, and solutions across our proprietary network provide clients with flexibility and cost savings as they leverage their network connectivity, from broadband to fiber to wireless, all delivered by Granite. The explosion of SD-WAN and mobility used by businesses today is reflected in our significant SD-WAN offerings, along with other managed service such as network monitoring,
Two additional solutions that our partners can leverage to engage prospects and generate commissions are Granite Grid and Network Integration. Granite Grid offers management companies and their tenants’ voice and data services with a certified support team. We provide data connectivity malls and buildings, allowing the management company to ensure its tenants have high-speed symmetrical bandwidth delivered over fiber. Network Integration is Granite’s response to businesses’ needs for turnkey infrastructure solutions; complimentary services such as same-day technician dispatch, smart hands deployment, equipment management and physical installation, along with design and build capabilities including green build, WiFi design and installation. Clients get, starting with site evaluation, a developed and engineered scope of work. Granite project manages the installation and solution, then provides what’s called ‘second day support’ of the service, ongoing management. Design, build, and service from one provider.
[Bob] What is something about Granite that not many people know? What do you want people to know about Granite?
If I could, I’ll share two things that say a lot about Granite, both as a provider and as an organization. First, Granite has over 2500 employees to support the clients our partners bring to us. We offer a 24/7/365 customer service group on-site at our Boston Network Operations Center that answers client calls with a live voice in less than 8 seconds. We also have dedicated account support representatives for every client, a highly trained and technology certified NOC and network engineering group, and customer-facing sales engineers. Granite is committed to client satisfaction. That’s reflected in an industry-leading retention rate that allows our partners to recommend Granite with confidence.
Second, the Granite culture is defined not only by a work-ethic that allows that level of support to be delivered but also by its commitment to our communities. Through our Granite Gives Back program, Granite’s ownership and employees donate both time and money to worthy causes. Last year, over 12,500 hours of volunteer time was worked by our employees in our communities. We have donated $220 million to organizations committed to helping others. Granite’s commitment to philanthropy defines us as individuals.