Silver Cloud goes blue

Anyone seeking confirmation of the shift to web-based telecoms should turn their eyes north where Glasgow-based Silver Cloud is now enthusiastically offering customers solutions from the ‘Blue PBX’ company Wildix.

During World War Two a simulated Glasgow – built to the North of the City - was used to draw enemy bombers away from the vital Clydeside shipbuilding yards, probably saving countless lives on the ground. It also meant the sturdy telephone exchange in Calton, to the East of the City, survived and the C-listed century old edifice is now home to Silver Cloud, one of Scotland’s fastest growing comms providers. The company recently dropped a bombshell of its own by signing up with Wildix, the Internet telephony business, which only launched in the UK a couple years ago.

Managing Director and telecoms veteran Michael McMillan was recruited by Silver Cloud founder Tony Quinn earlier this year. He told us the full story behind the decision when Comms Dealer paid a visit to The Telephone Exchange last month alongside Wildix UK Channel Managers Ian Rowan and Rob Loakes. “Silver Cloud is truly a one man and his dog story,” said McMillan. “Tony would walk around Glasgow with his dog in tow selling Samsung telephone systems. He soon began expanding into the supply of other solutions and since incorporation five years ago the company has doubled in size every year. Our turnover is now £4.5 million but we’re aiming to be a £15 million business in five years time.”

So, what was the genesis of the Wildix partnership? “It was a perfect storm really,” recalled McMillan. “A friend of mine who used to work for DeTeWe phoned me from Germany and said you need to look at Wildix, an Italian company. I had never heard of them. Coincidently, Rob Loakes contacted me out of the blue, so it all came together at the same time. I have a technical background and when I looked at it, I thought this is exactly what we are looking for.”

Conversely, for someone who has lived and breathed technology for 30-plus years, it was the simplicity of the Wildix solutions that excited McMillan. “Technology is pushed by the consumer,” he added. “We don’t want products to be baffling. Customers are unforgiving and want technology to work like it does at home. And they know how much things cost. Wildix covers all of that for them. And with recurring licenses it makes things even easier.”

Customers are unforgiving and want technology to work like it does at home

Wildix’s portfolio offers full corporate telephony system functionality with video conferencing, contact centre, reporting, plus services like transcribing from voice into text at the touch of a button, with no real training required. As McMillan confirmed, Silver Cloud will not move completely away from on-premise solutions and still has a number of Mitel installations to service in corporate customers, but rationalisation down to Wildix for cloud telephony and LG Ericsson for on-premise alongside distributor Pragma is the strategic path the management has laid down.

“With these two we really don’t need anybody else now,” he said. “This is the first time in a long time that a company has started afresh, looked at the market and built something new that has longevity. Customers want to see innovation. Wildix also offers a five year guarantee which they love because it demonstrates the confidence the company has in its products. One of our customers has a 360-seat system and he’s keen to move away to Wildix because of the simplicity and because it fully integrates with Microsoft. These are the things customers want and they are driving it. We have at least 10 people in our pipeline keen to buy it so it’s going very well after only two or three months of the partnership.”

This is all music to the ears of Wildix UK Channel Manager Ian Rowan, who says he’s keen to work with pioneering, forward thinking businesses like Silver Cloud. “It’s all about getting the partner relationship right as well as the product,” he commented. “We want to work with companies like Silver Cloud that see the future. A lot of people nowadays will only use a phone as a last resort. If you look at the devices we’ve all got, these things are speaking to satellites in space and they’re connected to the Internet constantly. The phone call is just one tiny element of what it can do.”

Loakes concedes the Wildix approach will not be everyone’s cup of tea but believes any reseller business with the passion and belief to take customers on a new path to joined up communications should at the very least explore the ‘Blue’ option. “When I came here to Silver Cloud, the office was vibrant, it was buzzing. Everybody was for everybody and there was a smile on everyone’s faces,” added Loakes. “It was clear they were on the same journey as us.”

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