BizTech BizTech Podcasts

73. Direct Routing or Operator Connect with Microsoft Teams? With Joe Mauk

June 14, 2023

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Don’t miss this episode where we talk to Joe Mauk of C3 Technology Advisors about UC, Contact Center, MS Teams, and more on this episode titled: Direct Routing or Operator Connect with MS Teams – Which is better? Joe dives in about his history from a customer perspective along with his transition as the initial UC/CC Expert with C3 and crushing a huge deal only two weeks into his start!

Josh Lupresto (00:00):
Welcome to the podcast that is designed to fuel your success in selling technology solutions. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of sales engineering at Telarus. And this is Next Level BizTech, everybody. Welcome back. We’ve got another, uh, exciting wrap up on a chapter today. We’re talking more Microsoft Teams direct routing operator connect, and, uh, whatever else Microsoft wants to come out with here by the time this podcast drops. So, uh, today we’ve got on the amazing Joe Mauk of C3 Technology Advisors to talk to us. Joe, thanks for coming on, man.

Joe Mauk (02:10):
Yeah, thanks for having me, Josh.

Josh Lupresto (02:12):
Joe, first step in this is, uh, we gotta hear your journey, man. Uh, we, we wanna know where did you start out? Have you always been in tech? Have you been in something crazy and got sucked into this space? Uh, tell us about your journey.

Joe Mauk (02:25):
Sure. Yeah, I mean, I probably took a little bit different over a route than most people do. Um, I actually went to college for, um, criminal justice. I was gonna be a state trooper, and as I was going to class, people started saying, Hey, you know, 40% of Michigan State troopers are ex-Marines. So I started thinking, I’m like, you know, I probably need that experience, but I am not a marine . So I took the Navy route. Uh, so I spent four years on the USS George Washington, which is an aircraft carrier, and, uh, worked in the weapons department. So I was in charge of, uh, keeping, uh, the ship secure and then also moving bombs and missiles from the magazines down below up to the, the hangar bay up, up, up top to, uh, give out to the squadron. So, uh, yeah, it was, it was actually, um, once I got out of the Navy, um, by my wife’s stepdad, had all of these old, uh, 3-86X computers, , and I was messing around and, you know, upgrading from 4K of RAM to eight K of Ram and, and my mom of all people, she said, you know, why don’t, why don’t you do something with computers?

Joe Mauk (03:34):
Um, might be a little bit more safe than being a trooper. And, and I said, you know, you, you might be right. Uh, so that’s how I got into it. Um, but the funny, you know, funny story that I’ll share with you as far as when I was in the Navy, um, you know, we, we went everywhere in the Mediterranean area and, um, we stopped in Palma, Spain, which is an absolutely gorgeous island on the south side of, of Spain. And, you know, Navy guys, you spend 30 days on the ship, you finally hit land, what do you do? You go out and have some drinks. Yeah, around town. We’re on the boardwalk and this beautiful beach, and we see this entourage walking towards us. I’m like, who, who is that? It was, it was actually Muhammad Ali.

Josh Lupresto (04:15):
Oh, get out.

Joe Mauk (04:17):
I got a picture with Muhammad Ali. Now going back to what I said, what a, what a Navy guys do when you hit, when you hit land, we can proceeded to go out and continue to party a little bit. And, uh, somewhere that evening, I lost the camera. So I did meet Muhammad Ali, I got a picture with Muhammad Ali. Um, but unfortunately I have no proof that I met Muhammad Ali in Palm of Spain. So

Josh Lupresto (04:45):
I don’t know that anybody’s gonna be able to dispute that. I love it.

Joe Mauk (04:48):
. No, no, probably not.

Josh Lupresto (04:50):
That’s awesome. So, so tell us then about, uh, how, how does that transition and, and, and kind of how did you come into C3 and then really give us a little bit of background on C3 and your role at C3.

Joe Mauk (05:02):
Sure. Yeah. So again, when I got out of the Navy, I, I got a temp role as a, as a receptionist for the company that runs the state lottery here in Michigan. That moved on to a system administrator role working at night, um, got my M C S E Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and it just kind of progressed from there. Um, so I started getting into networking, getting into system administration, and I actually fell in love with the hardware. Uh, so we, we actually, at that time, we were migrating from the Siemens Rome PBX to Cisco call manager. And the, the engineer that was in charge of that left the company. They needed somebody to take over that migration. I, and I raised my hand as fast as they could. I’m like, I’ll do it. And so that was my first step into, uh, unified communications on-prem, was managing that migration.

Joe Mauk (05:53):
Um, and, you know, never looked back from that point. It wasn’t until a little bit later I started dabbling in the network side and actually put in an SD WAN solution. Um, and while I was at that company, Matthew Toth, who is the founder of C3, was my advisor. Uh, back in that day, there was one person working at C3, and that was Matthew Toth . And so I’ve known C3, uh, since its inception and, uh, you know, fast forward to 2017, and Matthew says, Hey, Joe, um, you know, you know Estee Wan, you know what it’s like to run an on-premise pbx, I want you to come work here. And, uh, you know, I kept, I kept turning him down. I said, no, no, I like it here, I’m good. Um, but my company sold to another larger company, so we went from 1200 employees to 18,000. Ooh. And it was about a year, then I called Matthew and said, I’m ready. Um, so I haven’t looked back since.

Josh Lupresto (06:49):
Love it, love the journey. Uh, it does. Yeah. You don’t think this path is happening, but in hindsight, you look back and go this path makes a lot of sense. Uh, and and moms, moms always seem to know, uh, they always seem to point us in somewhat of a right direction.

Joe Mauk (07:03):
Yeah. That mother’s intuition is not wrong.

Josh Lupresto (07:06):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I had a, I had a similar experience. I mean, growing up in the Midwest, I went for, you know, uh, I, I, I loved cars. I was always a car guy. I was gonna be a car mechanic, and mom said, maybe you should look at something that might maybe make you a little more money, or you go in a different direction. So I, I, I tried the aviation stuff for a little while and I was like, ah. And then, you know, landed out here and ended up in the tech world. Right. Eventually sucked me in. So yeah, love the, uh, love hearing everybody’s path. That’s awesome.

Joe Mauk (07:34):

Josh Lupresto (07:35):
All right. So, so let’s talk about then, obviously you got a lot of familiarity from the Siemens side, the call manager. Uh, how did you first learn about the, the, you know, this, this kind of uc and cloud-based side, and maybe walk us into one of the first deals you got exposure to it, if that was at C3 or as you were leaving, or maybe just help me understand that a little bit.

Joe Mauk (07:56):
Yeah, so going back, you know, Matthew said, Hey, come work at C3. I want you to, to run our uc, uh, unit, you know, uc as a service contact center, SD-WAN from an engineering perspective. And I said, Matthew, I don’t know what contact center as a service is. I honestly did not know, right? So I never heard of RingCentral, GoTo, or Vonage or any of those guys, but he said, that’s okay. He’s like, you understand what it’s like to sit in that person’s chair that you’re gonna be talking to? And so for me, that’s, that’s what I need is, is to help them understand what it’s like to move to the cloud. And so it really was, it was eye-opening for me to go from, you know, the on-prem experience to now start to understand what the, the environment is in a cloud-based solution. Um, and, and honestly, I couldn’t have picked a better time to come in because it was like my second week and he’s like, Hey, I need you to go to Chicago. We’ve got the largest opportunity we’ve ever worked on. It’s a brand new land, land uc solution for a 450 restaurant lo, uh, location restaurant, a sandwich shop. Mm-hmm. .

Joe Mauk (08:59):
I’m like, okay, so, you know, we’re doing this like 15 vendor bake off, and obviously it’s a fully managed network, but then on the uc side, right, had to really understand the differences between, you know, a RingCentral and what Comcast offers and, and what, you know, I think at the time maybe there was a, a MetTel and some other solutions in there as well. So I, I drank from a fire hose for that first six months to really understand the differences between all of the different platforms. Um, and I think that’s the best way, right? Just get in and get your feet wet and, um, start, start figuring it out. Yeah.

Josh Lupresto (09:34):
Yeah. Did you say two weeks in? Is that when, when you got into that first deal, the largest deal effort,

Joe Mauk (09:39):
? Yeah. And, and it, it was, it was the largest deal for quite some time, so I

Josh Lupresto (09:43):
Love it.

Joe Mauk (09:43):
Yeah. That was an awesome opportunity.

Josh Lupresto (09:45):
No better way to learn. You’ll remember all that for sure.

Joe Mauk (09:48):
Oh my God. Yeah.

Josh Lupresto (09:49):
All right. Let’s, uh, let’s talk about, uh, evolution, right? I mean, we’ve, we’ve evolved this from, you know, on-prem Ciscos and asterisks boxes and DIY and stuff managed by VARs and things like that to, to the spot of where we’re at now, right? Um, what, what, what have you seen as you kind of came into this space and saw the transition from your perspective? I think it’s interesting to hear, you know, being, being where you were making the move to C3, what do you feel has been the most valuable or the most critical thing that’s driven, uh, a lot of this evolution from traditional voice to, to where we’re at now with this broad collaboration?

Joe Mauk (10:27):
Yeah. I, you know, I think if, if I, if I look back, one of the things that we struggled with at my last company was we had people that would come in and be like, Hey, you know, why, why am I out of, uh, storage in, in email? And it was because they were used to having Gmail or insert anything else where they had unlimited storage. And so we had to fight with that. And then, you know, they would, you go to 2007, the iPhone comes out and now they’ve got all this technology in their hand that they’re using at home, but we don’t have it at work. And so I think in my perspective, it was the, the commercial offerings that we all had, and we were all using a home that really drove that functionality that people wanted at work. And so I think that’s where the evolution is, is that, um, that that feature functionality, that video that we’re doing here, right?

Joe Mauk (11:17):
You think about FaceTime, how important that was when you could now see the person you were talking to. Um, but now you start to look at it, and I think on the, on the personal side, we’re doing less of this now. It’s more texting now it’s more, you know, take a picture of yourself, send it, delete it, whatever it may be. And so we started seeing that a little bit too, where people are like, Hey, turn my voicemail off. And at first I was like, what, I, I don’t want voicemail. I’m, can you put a message message on my phone that says, call my cell phone and if you don’t have my cell phone number, you’re not getting hold of me unless I’m at my desk. So I think people started seeing something in their personal world and they wanted to apply it at work.

Joe Mauk (12:02):
Um, I think also on, on the administrative side, you know, because I did manage a Cisco call manager. You know, you had your publisher, your subscriber, and you had Unity voicemail, and you had UCCX if you had contact center. And he would, at least I would, I would come in on a Friday night, kick that thing off, work through Saturday, reboot the systems on Sunday. And I, I would swear to God, I, I hope the phones reregistered and everything worked before Monday morning. And I think as, as companies start seeing the benefits of taking that outside of their four walls and not having to worry about that, that is something that there’s significant value in, is not having to worry about that. And that’s only on the telephony side, that’s the harbor side. But what about the PST inside where now you can say, Hey, if you go to one of these vendors, they’ve got multiple carriers, we can promise that your toll-free numbers are always available. Your DDS are always available. So I think there’s that evolution too, where not only do they not wanna be in the telecom business, but they have to provide their cust their employees, which are customers to, you know, the IT department. They have to provide the same resources or level of functionality that we’re used to at home.

Josh Lupresto (13:13):
Yeah, man, you bring up some really good points in there. And, and the another one that I want to call back to that I think you brought in that, um, that, that we see a lot of is, is exactly the example of what happened to you. Hey, this guy left, uh, who can take this on? And so you, you add in all these kind of perfect storms of the, the technology getting to a spot where it was usable, the public internet getting better to where it was all usable and there’s better QoS. And then this idea of work everywhere and all these things, it just seems like the technology comes out and then everybody else in society and everything has to kind of catch up and adopt this. Cuz nobody wants to move too fast. Nobody wants to break stuff. Uh, to your point, right? I I, I can certainly relate and understand the, I’m gonna reboot this, I really hope it comes back on. So yeah, resiliency, all of that, uh, yeah, those are, those are a lot of sleepless nights for sure.

Joe Mauk (14:04):
One, I think too, now you start getting, you know, legislation around E911 or you’ve got legislation on who you can or who you can’t record. And, you know, on a on-premises environment that is a bolt on, that’s a different change. That’s something you gotta license for. Um, it’s, it’s a new patch or new new, uh, release that you gotta download. So when you start to look at all of these things that are now natively included in your uc platform, your, your phone platform. Yeah. Even again, like a, like a collaboration tool like we have here, is it, is it native to your phone system or is it an another add-on? Is it multiple applications that you’re using? And so I think the simplicity of having one application that supports everything you need to do is, is it’s night and day difference.

Josh Lupresto (14:50):
A hundred percent. Just make it easy. Yep. Uh, so, so let’s then, uh, let’s, let’s flashback a few years we see teams at Microsoft come into the space pre covid. We see Microsoft start to drop this E3 thing, this E five thing, and we all say, eh, you know, it’s Microsoft. I mean, they’re not going to, they’re not gonna figure it out for a little while. Maybe they eventually do. They’re gonna iterate. We know they got money, we know they’re gonna get better. Either they’re gonna figure it out or they’re gonna buy, we, we all know what the maybes are, right? We’ve seen this game change enough. So, so now here we are, flash forward, obviously hundreds of millions of users monthly across this platform, but we’ve got with teams, right? We’ve got some of these E5’s already just come with a teams license.

Josh Lupresto (15:34):
So, so, so now we’re talking voice, we’re talking direct routing. And, and, and that was a big evolution. And then we talk in operator Connect. That’s, that’s an option. And you know, I’ve played with the, the, the, the teams gooey and the team’s admin interface, right? And there’s, there’s complexities there. There’s certainly a lot of, there’s a lot of, a lot of, uh, great things, but there’s also a lot of value in a managed service here. So, so from your perspective, right, I mean the title of this track is how does one pick, right? How do we, you know, Microsoft’s inevitable journey to own the desktop. How does, how does somebody pick an option here?

Joe Mauk (16:09):
You know, that’s, I’m, I’m glad you asked that because it’s not an easy solution, right? If if it were easy, uh, people like myself, we might not have a job. You know, you just go to Microsoft, everyone goes to Microsoft, get a license. Yeah. Get some dial tone and you’re good. Um, I think for me, when you start to look at where operator Connect has gone, I think it came out in early 2021, there was I think 12 original, uh, OC partners. I think today it’s close to 65. And so for me, that’s the evolution of, of Microsoft Teams enabling voice, is that operator connect where you can go into that admin console, you can select operator connect partner that is your preferential carrier, and it’s that easy. Um, not to say that there isn’t a reason why you’d go direct routing. Um, I do think when you’ve got some analog devices, maybe more complex requirements, uh, possibly a PBX that you want to keep on-prem for a while and you want to integrate it to, then there might be some value there.

Joe Mauk (17:09):
Uh, but for me, if the requirements aren’t too extensive, the fact that you can manage everything in that admin console versus, you know, your, your portal over here for your dds, your admin portal over here for the users, then you’ve got your Azure ad. It’s simplistic. And I, and I truly think that’s the way people are going. Very rarely do we ever run into people that buy, um, dial plans from Microsoft Direct. And, uh, we just tell our customers like, listen, do you, do you want to call Microsoft? Do you wanna call the same company for Excel support and phone support ? I, I don’t know. Like to me, I, I wanna call somebody that knows about Q O s knows about telephony and knows about that environment, really specializes in that environment. So for us, it really is truly direct routing or operator connect. But I definitely lean more towards the, the ease and functionality of, of OC over, uh, direct routing. Yeah,

Josh Lupresto (18:06):
Great point. It seems like they realized, oh, okay, yeah, direct, direct routing’s good, but it’s a little tricky. How do we make this a little better, a little easier? Right? And they, they iterate. So yeah, you’re right. Options and simplicity absolutely is driving so many things these days. Cause people are just saying, just, just gimme something that works. I don’t care. Uh, just make it work, make it easy. Cuz I don’t have time to do this. We had layoffs. I don’t have the amount of staff I used to have, I just need help. Yeah, great points. Yeah. Yeah.

Joe Mauk (18:31):
And, and it is, it’s mu I think to me it’s much e easier to go into the admin council, do all of the work there. Yeah. Um, and again, it’s not a feature rich, but you also don’t have to deal with, you know, the, the scripting that you might have to deal with in a, in a direct routing solution as well.

Josh Lupresto (18:46):
Yeah. The PowerShell, all that good stuff. PowerShell.

Joe Mauk (18:48):

Josh Lupresto (18:50):
Uh, so alright, let’s talk about, let’s get into a little bit on, you know, discovery calls, customer journeys, things like that. So, so with a product in, in this space, uh, you know, as you’re getting into talking to customers, figuring out what their needs are, how do you go through this process and, and help ’em realize they need help, right? What are maybe what are some of the challenges along the way and, and, and what is that journey like? And with all those challenges, how do you uncover all their needs?

Joe Mauk (19:15):
Yeah, so a lot of times when we’re talking to prospects, they, they don’t feel they need help. Um, and we do have to convince them that why they would want to use a consulting firm. Um, and then we have, we have prospects and customers that are like, yeah, I, I love the fact that you guys are willing to come in and do this and help us out. So, you know, for me, if if somebody says, Hey, I I don’t need this, I got this. Um, I just, I always ask, let me ask you one question. Have you ever had a vendor say they’re not good at something? Because they don’t, you’ll never come across a vendor. Like if you go to any UKs vendor and say, Hey, can you support my, my my company? They’re gonna say, yes, but what about this? Oh yeah, we can do that.

Joe Mauk (19:54):
No problem. What about this? Yep, I have that. And so for me it’s, it’s kind of cutting through, cutting through the, the BS that sometimes you have to cut through, right? So that’s where we come in. We don’t charge our customers to go through that consulting firm, uh, uh, uh, opportunity with them. And so it’s really just, Hey, let’s, let’s really get you from the 50 yard line to the five yard line as fast as we can. And along that journey, what we’d like to do is we’d like to bring in fo focus groups. That’s what we call ’em. Hey, let’s talk to the director over here. Let’s talk to the end user over here. Let’s ask that receptionist what’s important to him or her, because that’s the person that you’re really gonna tick off if you don’t meet the requirements that they’re used to. And, and you know, as well as I do end users find ways to do things different than what the IT guy thinks

Josh Lupresto (20:42):
Did Oh, any way you can end around it and get it done. Absolutely. Like they’re, that customers will do whatever it takes and nobody knows that that’s happening until it’s time to move off.

Joe Mauk (20:51):
Nope. And then it’s like, well, what happened to my button that I always clicked? And you’re like, what button? The button I always click to do X, Y, or Z. It’s like, well, I didn’t know about that button. So I think, you know, for us it’s really just sitting down and gathering those requirements and talking to as many people as our customers will allow us to. And that truly means getting outside of it. And I know for a lot of us, that’s, um, that’s our starting point. That’s where we get into an organization is with, uh, somebody within it. Yeah. But if we can get outside of it, we buy that, we get that buy-in from other groups within that, that organization and it makes it incredibly easy to say, here’s here’s what we’re gonna do and how we’re gonna do it.

Josh Lupresto (21:27):
Okay. So, uh, this part of the discussion I want to get into, I wanna talk a little bit about, uh, uh, an example, right? Walk us through a customer that you’ve worked with. Um, sometimes these start of, oh, the customer told me they need this or somebody said they need this, and you get in there and it’s completely different. Right? What I’m curious on, I want the other partners to hear is, what was an experience that you went like in an engagement like this in a uc or contact center engagement, and then really kinda what’d you learn? What was the end result?

Joe Mauk (21:54):
Yeah, I’ll give you a good example. I guess. You know, we, um, we just got done actually working with a large manufacturer, or I’m sorry, a large organization that, uh, rents out heavy equipment. Um, and, and this customer was, you know, they were using Unified communications as a service or no vendor to be named, but they’re using a vendor today in a small subset of their company. And they wanted to evaluate everybody out there. They weren’t tied to that one vendor. Um, and it wasn’t really until we started getting into the mix that we realized that they could actually benefit from a contact center. Uh, so this is kind of a, a nice conversation to have because as you start going down that, that rabbit hole with these guys, and you get into these focus groups and you start understanding how they’re doing business, and you have to be okay with saying, Hey, let me challenge you on something because you might be talking to somebody that’s, you know, a couple levels down from making business decisions, but when you see something, you gotta say something.

Joe Mauk (22:52):
Mm-hmm. . And, and for us it was like, Hey, you know, the way you’re doing things, let me show you something. And so we actually brought in a, uh, a teams operator connect partner, and we said, we want you to show them the how an IVA would work. A virtual agent would work. And so this, this company’s taking orders on, Hey, I need a a backhoe, I need a excavator, or whatever it may be. Yeah. This, this operator connect partner came in and showed them how they could take a call from a customer, swap out something they had already delivered, or something that was larger, pay the difference and never talk to anybody. And so I think for, for me, that was probably the one, you know, as you asked, I’m trying to think of this opportunity. I think that’s the one that really stuck out where, um, the customer said, Hey, I, I need a phone system.

Joe Mauk (23:39):
And we, and we challenged him a little bit and said, Hey, you, let’s make this a business decision. Let’s make this a business improvement. And I remember the, the, they were texting us in teams as this, this demo’s going on, and, and the guys from this company were like, oh my God, that we want that. And so that was probably one of the more satisfying, uh, moments in, in my career here at C3, was saying, Hey, can, can we show you something? And this is not technology, this is business driven. This is something that’s gonna set you apart from your competitor. Can we show you? And they’re like, okay, go ahead and show us. And just seeing, just seeing the responses and teams and, and knowing that they were, they were greatly impressed with what we were able to bring to them.

Josh Lupresto (24:21):
Yeah. I, I love that story. Uh, I, I, I think there’s, there’s so many of those that, you know, we walk in and kind of depending on who our contact is, we, we, you know, we want to be the champion of this contact, but sometimes this contact doesn’t know what they don’t know. And so it’s, how do I, how do I help this person without insulting this person? Right? And, and, and I think it’s a delicate, uh, delicate way to walk, but, uh, I think the challenger, uh, I’m a big fan of the challenger sale and that whole model. I think that’s our job. And, and because if I, if I flip myself back to, if I wasn’t in this space, and if we weren’t in this space, I would not have a clue from a customer’s perspective how to pay attention to all the differences and all the, the changes, the rapid changes in technology. And so, uh, I I, I can’t imagine that, right? I, I might think that I know, uh, but I only know what I have experience with, which is not everything. And so, yeah. I love, uh, love that example. Love, love when we get to challenge the customer cuz ultimately know we’re on, they know we’re doing it from a good place.

Joe Mauk (25:20):
That’s right. And, and I truly believe if you walk in, you say, Hey, gimme one hour, can I have one hour to show you something that you might not have seen before? And if you’d like it, I’ll, I’ll give you another hour with somebody else, another vendor. And if you don’t like it, I’ll buy you lunch. Yeah,

Josh Lupresto (25:34):
Yeah, yeah. I knew lunch was coming. I love it. I love it. Everybody’s gotta eat.

Joe Mauk (25:39):
That’s right.

Josh Lupresto (25:40):
All right. Uh, let’s, so let’s talk here. Final steps. Uh, last part of the discussion, I want us to look out into the future a little bit here. Uh, you know, the, the thought here is we have partners that listen to this podcast and maybe come from an adjacent space. Maybe they’re not in UCaaS teams CCaaS, maybe they’re in network, maybe they’re in SD wan, maybe they’re in security. Uh, I would love to understand from Joe’s perspective here, um, kind of two thoughts. Uh, one, what would you tell partners that are not yet comfortable stepping into this space, uh, and your advice there. And then kind of two, where do you expect this to go over the next 12, 24 months?

Joe Mauk (26:19):
I would say, you know, if you’re not familiar with selling UC, your contact center, you know, I wasn’t either. You, you dip your feet in and, and honestly, if you’re in the consulting space now, you know that the best thing you can do is give, give time back to your, to your customer. And so for me, if, if they ask me a question, I don’t know the answer, I’ll go get that answer. So right there, I’m providing value. So I, I don’t have a problem with being uncomfortable. Um, and I, I think if we are honest with our customers and say, Hey, you know what, I, I’m probably not the smartest guy in the room, but I know where to find the answer. Um, they appreciate that. So for me, if you’re getting into something adjacent, like honestly, I don’t rather want to get into cybersecurity, but I, but if I had to, I’ll just have to dive in. Uh, I love the sdwan side, the network side, the telephony side, um, but we all start somewhere. And so I think you just, we say, we say, uh, internally here at C3, keep it weird.

Josh Lupresto (27:14):

Joe Mauk (27:15):
Keep it weird. You know what? Go in and say, Hey, I, you know what, you’re, you’re the expert in your business. Uh, I’m the expert in consulting. Tell me what you need. And I think, you know, between, um, and maybe whatever you have internally, um, great solution, uh, brokers, technology solution brokers that maybe you can leverage. Um, and then honestly, even in the, in the partner environment, uh, I’ve never ran across a, a competitor of C3, another partner that has, has been, uh, unwilling to, to help, right? Every time we go to an event, it’s all of us partners talking about what we’re seeing, the trends, who, who’s doing well, who’s not doing well. So I would say reach out to another partner as well. Uh, I’m, I’m sure we all have our, our favorites at some other, um, consulting firm that we could reach out to and say, Hey, what are the five things? What are the 10 things I need to know? Are the five things I need to ask?

Josh Lupresto (28:08):
Love it. Love it. And then, uh, final thoughts then on, and, and I know this is hard, but if you look out 12 months, maybe 18 months, any big changes that you see from your perspective coming into, into this space?

Joe Mauk (28:23):
I truly believe we’re gonna see more uc and Contact Center as a single platform. Uh, you know, you look at the Dial pads and Vonage and Zoom coming on board with their own platform, and, and you, you see a little bit more of that where everyone says, Hey, I want my contact center and my back office people to be able to four digit dial and transfer, be, you know, be between each other and see presence. But now you’re starting to see some of these other CX platforms, you know, the, the quality management, uh, platforms now being embedded into these uc platforms. I wanna be able to record the calls. I wanna be able to analyze the calls. I want a summary of that meeting. I want to be able to see, you know, what my people are doing, how many calls they’re making. So I think that’s what we’re gonna see next. And I, we’re already starting to see it, but I, I think you’re gonna start to see more of that automation and QA QM being brought in to, to these platforms as either an upsell or part of a license. So, you know, Zoom IQ, right? They, they’ve made that for a reason. Dialpad with their, with their AI recording every call, transcribing every call. Um, you, you’re gonna see more on that. I think that’s gonna become very standard in our, in our environment in the next 12 months.

Josh Lupresto (29:36):
Love it. Great stuff. Couldn’t agree more. Uh, all right, man, Joe, that wraps us up, man. I really appreciate you coming on today.

Joe Mauk (29:43):
Thanks for having me. This, this was fun. I like talking this stuff.

Josh Lupresto (29:46):
Love it. I know we could, we, we could go much longer on this podcast. We got a lot to cover, but, uh, we cut it off here cuz this is when people stop listening right at the 30 minute mark. So it was perfect. Uh, no, thanks so much. Uh, Joe Mauk C3 Technology Advisors, that wraps us up for today. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of Sales Engineering at Telarus. This is next level BizTech.