HITT Series Videos

HITT- Anatomy of a Comcast Advanced Networking Deal, April 23, 2024

April 23, 2024


We kick things off as we always do with today’s high intensity tech training, and your comments and questions are welcome for our presenters in the chat window.

Live q and a will follow our presentation.

Today, we look at one of those great deals which we all wish had come our own way. We’ll break down this deal. We’ll learn how to find and close similar opportunities.

Telarus VP of Advanced Networking and Mobility Solutions, Graham Scott, is here with a star studded cast of experts and info on something new that’s being created, and I am not allowed to give any hints yet. Graham, welcome to you and today’s panel. How are you doing?

Doing great, Doug. Good morning, and good morning to everybody on the call. Thank you so much for joining us. So we’re gonna do something a little different here today as as Doug alluded to as part of the high intensity tech training series.

One of the things we hear from you guys a lot is, hey. You know, tell us stories. Tell us how some of these deals happen. Tell us how some of these deals are closing.

So as part of this series, we’re gonna call this the anatomy of the deal. And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna work with our good friends here at Comcast and break down a couple of, deals that they’ve closed in the last little bit, walk through the process from engagement through engaging Telarus resources, Comcast resources, and all the tools and trades and tricks that were brought brought to bear to close the opportunity. So it’s our hope that through this discussion, you can help build framework for yourself within your own companies to find similar types of opportunities and potentially apply them to your own customer base.

So looking forward to that discussion. But before we do that, I wanted to kinda talk a little bit about the role of advanced networking in general.

So as some of you may have noticed, I took on the role of VP of mobility and IoT in October. And then, several months later in February, this advanced networking title was added to my, long name plate. So, why did we do that? Right?

What is that all about? So I think as we were talking to tech advisers and partners, we started to realize that the network game has changed. A lot of things have, come into bear here, new technologies, new services, and a new way of thinking and approaching networking. And as a result of that, we felt, hey.

We needed to put some focus on this and adjust.

So before we bring in our panel here and, Chandler, if you could, bring it to full screen on the panelists, I wanna turn things over here to Chad Muchenfoss who not only has the best name in telecom, but also, is a great sales engineer for our partners up there in the Northeast region. And, Chad, you know, I talked a little bit about how networking has changed. Can you tell us a little bit about from from your perspective what you guys are seeing on the engineering team and some of those changes?

Yeah. Thanks, Graham. Appreciate being on the call today. And, we see a lot of changes happening. There is more and more demand, and requirements for uptime than ever have been in the past for for networks.

We all probably remember the days of MPLS when that was the latest and greatest and being able to tag traffic across the an MPLS network to make voice work and an interoffice data, all that type of thing. Now, you know, that transition has happened fully to the SD WAN model. And we lay out, SD WAN, the software defined wide area network, and that allows us to, again, begin to even shape traffic more, than we were doing on an MPLS network. And it also allowed us to take advantage, from a network redundancy standpoint. So we could have dedicated fiber. We can have a broadband circuit. We can even layer in to your point and your expanded title, the four g and five g, and now even satellite with Starlink, through several of our suppliers.

That redundancy, that ability to keep that uptime, and just the the overall demands on networks now for companies that are multisite, in a lot of in a lot of places throughout the country and even the globe, really, really is important to to all of these organizations. And it’s a great talking point as soft as SD WAN, the software defined wide area network, begins to transition even to the SASE model. And we’re deploying more and more of that SASE with the security layered onto an SD WAN core, that is really, really changing how we go to market, especially with our partners at Comcast and what they bring to the table with Comcast Masergy.

Yeah. And I think, you know, one of the thing that is universal businesses is this, you know, stretching of resources. Right? This scarcity. I mean, all these companies are dealing with not enough people, not enough expertise to meet the demands of the network today. And so we’re leaning on technology to do that, and and that’s one of the things that we’re seeing from SD WAN and SaaS. Right, Chad?

Yeah. Exactly.

We have these co managed networks and being able to leverage, the core that’s being monitored, that’s being that’s secure, that all of that traffic is routing through, from these these large providers in our portfolio here, is tremendous. And it helps, to your point, Graham, the IT teams that are stretched so thin that don’t have the ability necessarily to keep an eye twenty four seven, three sixty five on these networks. You have a a team approach to this and the ability for that co managed network. And, again, just just drives that secure and that uptime for for those networks that’s that’s really, really key to businesses today.

Yeah. Good stuff. And so as we start to break down this and talk about the new network, right, advanced networks, how it’s changed, What better way to start the conversation than with a company that revolutionized networks twenty something years ago when they brought the cable circuits to the industry, and now is doing it again. With the acquisition of Masergy, Comcast has really changed their game and what they bring to the table.

And so as a result of that, we thought, you know, be a great opportunity to bring John and Eric on here. And so allow me to introduce you guys to the panel. John Canteris, Eric Solomon from Comcast. And guys, we’re gonna bring you in here to the conversation.

Last year, John, you guys closed a massive deal. I think one of, if not the biggest deal that the channel has ever brought in, and this deal had so many different layers of products, services, tools, technologies that I thought what a great opportunity to bring it in. I was, you somebody who’s been in this industry for a number of years was very, you know, surprised at all the different things that you guys brought into the mix for this opportunity. So would love for you, John, to just kinda maybe break it down for us a little bit. Start with how you guys were engaged in this opportunity and how it evolved over time as you brought in different players to have a conversation and ultimately what we ended up with at the end.

Sure. Appreciate it. Thanks, Graham. Appreciate you having Comcast join today. You know, this this opportunity was was really unique, and really an amazing experience for our whole channel.

So this came to us from a partner, that had a little bit of background from our enterprise solutions team. For everybody on the call that doesn’t under doesn’t know, Comcast has a specialized enterprise solutions team based out of headquarters, and they’re all customized solutions. So we sell nonstandard Comcast products or nonstandard products to large enterprises really across the country and across the globe. So, when we take a look at this opportunity, it was brought to us by a partner, and our internal, enterprise team had a a relationship with, this this customer.

They built about a hundred thousand dollars a month, with them. So they had some of the business, not nearly all the business.

So when this partner came to us, this was a a teaming or a channel integration conversation.

This was the enterprise solutions direct team that has specialized resources to support these types of customers, our partner that has long term relationship and actually, looking to run an RFI for this customer. So when we first started this, Graham, this was a, teaming conversation.

So that this opportunity was brought to my team. We talked to the enterprise solutions team as well as the partner, and we figured out, hey. Everybody has a lot of value in this opportunity. And if we come together, we can bring this down and win this deal.

The reason why the partner came to us is because he had experience with us deploying thousands of locations, types of customers. And one of the key, criteria for a vendor with this solution was they had to be able to deliver six thousand locations in the first twelve months. So six thousand installed location in the first twelve months.

There’s not that many vendors that actually can do that. So that’s why how it came to us at the beginning.

So Yeah.

And before we move into the next sort of phase of this conversation, John, let’s talk about that teaming aspect. Right? Because I think a lot of people on this call are probably familiar with, channel conflict when it comes to, you know, a direct team, not just Comcast. I think this is kinda universal. And as somebody who was on the direct team with Comcast at one point, I certainly was on the other side of that as well. So how have things changed now since Masergy has been brought into the mix and just a different approach to teaming? I think a lot of, the partners on this call probably haven’t haven’t heard this story.

Yeah. It’s amazing story. I’m eight eight years in the channel. I also was on the direct sales team from the Comcast standpoint.

So when you take a look at the philosophy and how Comcast views the channel, the masonry the masonry acquisition was a a key pillar in that where you always had a sell with model. The channel was ninety five percent of all business brought in from the MacyJ, portfolio and and company. So when when Comcast looks at these large enterprise types of opportunities, they understand that partners sell these every day. Right? So they want partners involved with our strategic opportunities.

So they are pushing teaming, in channel integration so we can team up our direct team where we have thousands of reps across the country. We just hired over a hundred out of market reps. When other companies are downsizing, we are doubling down with our sales force across the country and putting teams in Dallas and Phoenix and New York and LA that are nonstandard Comcast territories to team with our partners in those regions to bring by bring down these massive deals. So, we’re full steam ahead. As these solutions get more complex, partners will have a larger role within the Comcast company, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.

Yeah. And I think, you know, we’re talking about a massive deal in this context, but we’re gonna touch on, you know, a more typical deal here a little bit later with Eric. So for those of you on the call who are going, well, I I don’t deal with enterprise customers. We’ve got some nuggets for you here, coming up.

But okay. So, John, this started out as kind of a fairly what I would say typical conversation about some circuits. Right? We’re looking to kind of bandwidth aggregation.

We want one provider that can deliver the, you know, the circuits within a certain period of time, which obviously put Comcast in a fairly unique position. But what this opportunity actually morphed into, I think is what’s really interesting when all these other aspects of this enterprise solutions team were brought to the equation here. So can you talk a little bit about some of the other things that you guys did in this deal that we don’t typically think about Comcast for?

Yeah. No. That’s a great question. I mean, it’s it’s a really unique situation because the enterprise solution team, when we team with them, there are products that we can monetize from a partner perspective that we don’t have every day.

Right? So, obviously, it was sixteen thousand locations of aggregated broadband connectivity. We do that every single day for customers large and small. Right?

Aggregate providing circuits anywhere in the world, really, at this point.

So this was a little unique. The customer wanted to buy their own Aruba and Fortinet equipment.

So, instead of us providing it as a as a as a more of a managed service, they wanted us to ship it to our warehouse. We configure it. We rack and stack it. We ship it out to every location.

We install it. We install the APs and all the hardware. And then what we’re doing is is we’re managing it from a break fix perspective next day. We’re we’re managing the security and the software of all those devices, but it’s a customer owned devices.

Manage power, all those, really service delivery managed solutions that go along with that app, managing the APs, and we’re you know, you know, Graham, we’re even looking at an edge compute solution for this customer. Right? Nonstandard type of a solution where we’re gonna monetize it, and and that’s another, significant amount of business from these types of solutions. So, everything from, you know, the management and break fix and and service deployment, professional services that traditionally from a Comcast business perspective, we in the channel, we can’t take advantage of when we partner with these types of of of solutions.

You can monetize and almost double your MRC on on each site.

So which is Yeah.

And I think that’s the important point here, right, is the partner was compensated on all of these aspects of that. Correct?

Correct. Yep. And it’s considered managed services. Right? So it’s it’s it’s a significant amount, you know, we pay even higher, than, network for for those types of services.

Yeah. So, I mean, I thought to me that really stood out because, again, not something you typically think of Comcast for, but I think, you know, with the acquisition of Masergy and the capabilities, your portfolio has just changed tremendously over the last couple of years. I mean, I was even hearing you guys have an IoT solution in there that that can be used for large, you know, restaurant chains and stuff with temperature sensors and whatever. Lot of things I just would never have thought of Comcast for.

Yeah. We, you know, we we do business with eleven of the the largest thirteen restaurant chains in the country, and we are doing things as, you know, IoT, self serve vending, time machines for these fast food restaurants.

So when we take a look at Comcast. We’re not just a connectivity or or Internet company. We’re a a really a a large media company. So we take, we take some of our resources from Universal and NBC, and we kind of put that from a customer standpoint as how do they do business and where can we affect them actually, you know, increasing what they do from a customer perspective and and how they do business and and go to market. So we’re bringing in all of our resource from Comcast corporate to help customers understand how they do business and what are the best practices with other other companies that we deal with day to day.

So Yeah. I mean, just awesome. Taking the breadth and experience of what you guys do and and bringing it to, all these applications. So I I love that. And and, again, as I mentioned, this was a large deal. I mean, how many sites did you say it was, John?

Sixteen thousand.

Sixteen thousand. Okay. So those don’t come across your desk every day. Chad, gonna throw things over to you now. What is the typical size deal you see come in from partners? Like, what what’s the average range?

So, most of what we see is obviously not the behemoth that that we’re we’re talking about here. Most of them are typically between five and twenty locations is is most of what we on the sales engineering team get involved with. There are the smaller ones, the two and three sites, and even single site where we deploy, SD WAN or a SaaS solution to. But a majority of them are five sites to twenty, twenty plus sites. And again, it’s it’s just trying to leverage, an existing overtax single point of failure network, and and bringing in that redundancy, bringing in that security, and working alongside of of the Comcast Masergy team to to make sure that it’s, it’s properly sized, properly designed, and most importantly, properly implemented for the customer.

Yeah. And so, Eric, throw things over to you now. You know, given what Chad just talked about, you you have sort of an example of a more typical deal that you’d see from, on a regular basis that had a lot of similar criteria, though, from a Comcast standpoint. Right?

Yeah. Absolutely. So, yeah, this is nice following a sixteen thousand site deal with a fifteen site deal.

We have a superstar here.

So but but, you know, this is on purpose because, you know, we we wanna talk about what what does the day to day look like, and it’s a nice deal. So, basically, we had a customer in the back northwest who, they had fifteen sites, and, they they they they weren’t happy with their visibility into their network. They knew they needed to increase their security posture, that they were they were quickly getting themselves into trouble, and they they they weren’t they didn’t like where they were going. They had a good relationship with our with our direct team. So they, they partnered with, the former MasterCheese side of the house and started with security with, endpoint detection response, manage detection response, came up with a solution, that went through in thirty, sixty days for about thirteen thousand dollars.

That was a trial run, and what they did is they they they really loved our our SOC capabilities, and they they loved what we were talking about from a security perspective.

They they knew that they needed to get off of Barracuda, which is what they were using at the time, and get into more of a acceptable business solution. They they love the fact that we’re a Fortinet house, and they took a look at our SD WAN platform, which is powered by Fortinet.

They wanted to have, less points of failure rather than have the Barracuda firewalls and then a router and all these different things. They wanted to have a single point of failure at each site, so less opportunity to break down. They wanted to have increased visibility, which we gave them through our through our portal, and additional bandwidth as well, who’s not looking for more bandwidth, and then a fully managed solution. So, as they they they they started to love us with our with our EDR and MDR solution, they went into a fully managed WAN, added about seven thousand dollars for, to the whole solution.

And that’s been installed for about six months, six, seven months at this point, and they are about to close another four thousand dollars in unified communications. So it’s kind of a, I guess, I’ll call it deal creep because they really, you know, fell in love with what we were doing. And, you know, that that’s a nice deal. That’s, you know, to me, that’s something that that can keep building, and and and I think that a a lot of us will see from day to day.

Yeah. That land and expand aspect, I think, is something you hear a lot of my colleagues talk about. Right? Kobe talks about that in the cloud space.

Jason talks about that in the cyberspace. And, of course, Sam talks about that with CX. But I love that idea that when you come in with a couple of, you know, very targeted things like MDR, XDR, and then expand that out. And, Chad, that conversation happens quite a bit.

Right? Where you you’re engaged with something fairly minor, like, hey. We’d like to just look at some bandwidth upgrades, maybe throw a little security in there, you know, just sprinkle it in, and then it turns into something a little a little more exciting often. Right?

Yeah. Very often. And and that’s a great the the network and advanced network is a great lead into the cybersecurity discussion and and what, again, Comcast brings to the table from that. You know, the MDR, the XDR, all of that is important now to businesses of any size because most of them are renewing their business owner’s policies on a yearly basis, and there’s a cyber component to that now.

There’s a cyber insurance component to all of that. And they need to check those boxes. Otherwise, they don’t get the coverage or their rates are so high that they’re unable to really afford that cyber insurance coverage. We step in, we have that conversation, and it all begins from a simple introduction of, hey, I really need increased bandwidth with or I need you know what?

I need dedicated bandwidth. I need it synchronous, at this site or that site. And I I really wanna figure out how we can build in redundancies to the network, and it easily expands into a cybersecurity discussion and then multiple other layers like Eric outlined with UCaaS and CCaaS and all of that becoming a part of that discussion ultimate.

Yeah. I think, you know, the one thing that you realize when you’ve been around a little bit is none of these technologies exist in a vacuum. Right? Everything enables something else that moves into something else, and that could go from, you know, network to IoT to whatever. So, guys, I think, you know, great story that you told us here, John and Eric, and and I really appreciate it because I think if there’s a takeaway I’d love for the folks on this call to get is the way we think about Comcast or have thought about Comcast in the past.

It’s just different now. Right? With with the Masergy acquisition and the services you guys are bringing, I saw a question in there about, and we’ll get to questions in a minute, but I saw a question about international. You guys are a global player now. So, Eric, John, I don’t know if one of you guys just wanna touch on a couple of other maybe changes that we’ve seen with Comcast over the last couple years and and why tech advisers and partners need to be thinking about you guys differently.

Yeah. I’m happy to jump in on that one, start Eric.

So I think a couple things, you know, Graham that come to mind when we take a look at it, obviously, is is teaming and channel integration. Right? Working together with multiple resources for complex solutions, bringing partners in. So if you’re not talking about if you don’t understand the teaming conversation or talk to your local partner sales channel managers, teams, let’s have that conversation.

Let’s get you grouped up with some of the direct selling reps, to get you introduced to some of those types of solutions. And then where we where we sell. Right? To your point, Graham, we sell anywhere in the world.

So our managed integration for aggregation, managed Internet product is a is a great product for just connectivity. Right? So Comcast, corporate brought down the pricing from the MasterCheap product set. Right?

So so, traditionally, it was a bit higher priced. We brought that down, so we’re very competitively priced. If you’re looking for a straight aggregation play that may have security or SD WAN in the future or international, we are very competitive in that space right now. We’re bringing a lot of deals in there.

And then, you know, we’re doubling down on security just like, you know, security, SD WAN globally. Right? So, when we you you think of security and SD WAN, we want you to think of Comcast business and Metro g going forward. So, we’re doubling down, putting a lot of resources into it, support to make sure it’s a good experience for our selling partners.

Yeah. Eric, anything you wanna add there before we open it up to questions?

I’ll I’ll I’ll just add one quick thing. So, an experience that I had since the the Comcast acquisition. So I I was a sales leader on the major g side of the house. When Comcast acquired us, we were in the middle of working on a deal that was about a hundred thousand dollars, but we were just a little bit too high. We finally got our systems together so that we could take advantage of the Comcast pricing. We were able to save fifteen percent on network cost based on on, again, scale and actual Comcast network.

It was the difference between getting the deal and not getting the deal you know, a little bit smaller than a hundred thousand dollars, but it was still a very significant deal. So I’ve seen this in action. I’ve seen us become, be able to do more regional plays on that side of the house, and, it’s been pretty exciting since then. So, but, yeah, just my own experience and execution on that.

Yeah. I love it. Bringing that sort of boutique solution aspect of Masergy and combining with the scale and performance of the Comcast network has really created something that I think partners need to start thinking of and seeing a little differently. So, Doug, I’m gonna bring you in here. If you, you’ve been manning the questions there, I know. So, as you always do so well, what what are we hearing from the crowd out there? What kind of questions we got?

Great presentation to all of you. Thank you very much, Graham. Yeah. We do have a couple of other questions that have come in. We talked briefly about how product lines change and expand over time. Certainly, Comcast has evolved in terms of what it offers.

Graham, I wanted to throw this out to you, then we’ll get comments from the others as well. But, we were asked, how can Telarus, help partners stay abreast of these changes in product availability with the various suppliers that we deal with?

I love that. It’s a great softball. So, obviously, we have a number of ways that, that our partners and tech advisers can stay engaged. Number one, calls like this.

Right? We do these calls every week where we talk about something new, something fresh, something that’s changed. The reason these calls happen is because we wanna be able to adapt quickly to what’s going on. I mean, you saw Kobe come on a couple weeks ago and talk about the changes with v VMware.

I mean, very timely, very appropriate information. So that’s why we do these calls when we do. We’ve also got our Ascend events that we hold, Ascend Anchor In, Gear Up, that we hold throughout the country, and Comcast has been a sponsor of a number of those. Great opportunity to get in front of our, supplier partners and hear what’s going on.

And then, of course, Telarus University. We always keep all these calls in Telarus University. We try to keep the content fresh. And then you’ve got, folks like myself that are running these practices, and it’s it’s my job to try and stay atop of what’s going on and the trends.

And so when you wanna hear what’s happening, you can always connect with myself or my colleague, Sam, Kobe, and Jason, and just kinda hear what’s going on with these things. So great question. Love the softball. Thanks, Doug.

Now let’s throw one to the Comcast team. This is from Alberto. He’s asking a great question.

You know, many times as we’re talking with partners, I’m sorry, as we’re talking with our clients, we’re finding opportunities, and they may already be with Comcast, for example, but yet there are opportunities to expand that.

What sort of help can our advisers receive, and what are some of the rules involved in expanding existing Comcast customers reach into new products, for our advisers?

Yeah. I could take that one. It’s a great question.

You know, I would say, you know, the best way to approach that is to reach out to your local Comcast partner sales manager, and team to make sure to just have that conversation if you run across the current Comcast customer. So, selling partners are able to sell new lines of business, so new technologies into a customer as well as new locations.

If it’s a if it’s a significant customer, with Comcast, like I said, have a conversation. Let’s team me up with a direct team and figure out how do we go to market, you know, to win that business. But if somebody has network today and we wanna add security and SD WAN and and new locations, that’s all that’s all fair game. Right?

So we can go after that. That’s considered upgrades. That’s considered, you know, products that our our team wants to sell and our and our leadership wants to sell. So, just reach out to us, have that conversation, but we’re able to sell them to existing customers.


And, John Vargo just, sent in a a question expanding on that a little bit. What about nonprofit entities that our advisers may be working with or government education, some of those specialty, areas?

Where can our advisors play in that with Comcast services?

So all of our gov ed space, we’re able to play. We team with our government and education team. So if you look at E Rate and those types of services, we can sell that, at when conjunction with our government team for compliance purposes. So, again, if you have those, just just bring them to our team and and let us have that conversation. But we we sell E rate, in in government spaces all the time. Federal government, we can’t sell into at this point.

Lot of lot of red tape with with that. So federal government, we stay away from right now, but any, you know, state, local, county governments, as well as, you know, education, we’re able to sell into. Nonprofits, we don’t have a specific program for nonprofits. We used to.

But there are some specialized pricing for for government entities that we can take advantage of.

So Got it.

And I wanna add one piece of color there for the teaming. I think the key when you’re talking about teaming with with Comcast or any any of the providers that offer teaming is make sure you’re engaging them early.

If you come, you know, late to the party when they’re already engaged, they’ve been having conversations for months and you say, well, it looks like Comcast is maybe gonna win this deal, so, hey. Let me team with them. It’s not really how this works. Right? The idea is that you go in together at the beginning.

You bring Comcast to the table, and if they have a prior relationship or they have a rep that’s been reaching out, the teaming program is designed to combine your efforts. And I think that is kind of one of the things that’s changed. But coming in towards the end or after the fact, when when Comcast has already had a direct person engaged independently, you know, that’s gonna be a challenge to get that there. And I think that’s pretty consistent with most of the carriers that offer teaming. So just something to think about. Right? The key is engaging Comcast early and, getting them in the mix at the beginning of the opportunity.

Guys, we are up against the clock. I’ve gotta cut it off here for today.

But, Eric, John, thank you so much. Chad, great job today. Graham, anything else we needed to get in last minute?

No. This has just been a great conversation, and I think the takeaway here is networks are changing. The needs of networks, the demands on networks are changing. You guys need a partner to, you know, go with you in these things. Our team is here to help you, the Solaris team, and we’ve got great providers like Comcast and many others that you’re gonna hear from over the next couple weeks that can help you get there. Thanks so much, Doug. Appreciate you as always.

Thank you, Graham, and thanks everybody.

I’ll be for having us.

Shout out and a thanks to Nicole Brungard out there in the, background answering a few questions as well.

Take care, guys.