Melbourne’s Peak Insight was top of the pile in the CRN Fast50 2020. In its first year entering the competition, the Cisco specialist rode the collaboration wave to success in a year where the way we work changed, perhaps forever.
The “integrator with a difference”, as founder Sam Deckert describes the company, specialises in collaboration, contact centre and connectivity. In 2020 the company achieved $5.3 million in revenue and an astounding growth rate of 363 percent.
As a Cisco and Telstra partner, the company was a finalist in the Cisco enterprise partner of the year category in Telstra's partner awards 2020 and also a finalist in the enterprise emerging partner of the year category.
“Our differentiator is we take a consulting approach, and we have an in house software development capability, which enables us to innovate to get those business outcomes for clients,” Deckert told CRN.
“We like to take a consulting led approach, so we really enjoy engaging with line of business stakeholders, understanding the business outcomes that they're after, and letting that drive a roadmap and the technology implementations that we perform.”
Being a specialised Cisco partner allows Peak Insight to focus its systems and processes to perfect its offering, according to Deckert.
“That business conversation that we have from the consultancy side, that enables us to identify requirements from customers where perhaps vendor products aren't meeting the requirement out of the box,” he said.
“That's where our innovation team comes into it. So we have an in house software development capability that enables us to build API integrations and software add-ons for customers to enable them to get stronger value from their Cisco investments.”
“Our offerings are based around Cisco collaboration, contact centre, and connectivity. So from a collaboration perspective, our offerings around the WebEx product suite. So that's WebEx meetings, WebEx calling, and WebEx teams.
“We also support on premise collaboration environments such as Communications Manager, unity, connection, etc. And currently, a lot of work is coming from helping customers migrate from on premise environments to the cloud for their collaboration platforms.
"In the contact centre space, we work with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express on premise, but we also work with WebEx contact centre in the cloud."
Moving on premise collaboration environments to the cloud has been a major source of revenue for Peak Insight in 2020, according to Deckert.
From a connectivity perspective, Peak Insight works with Cisco Meraki for switching, wireless and SD-WAN. For security solutions, Peak Insight uses Cisco’s ISE (Identity Services Engine) product.
Like many partners Deckert and his team started the business with a broad focus, trying to get deals where they could. However, Deckert said that since its early days, the company had become more focused with the customers it pursues.
“Number one would be education,” he said. “We've got some great customers and had some really good wins in FY20 in the education space, both in K-12, but also in the university space. Separate to that, and coming a pretty close second, is our local and state government work. We do quite a lot with state government and law enforcement. We also do quite a bit of work from a financial services perspective, so we're privileged to work with a number of Australia's banks.”
Peak Insight’s main distribution partner in 2020 was Dicker Data and Deckert praised the Sydney-based distie for its support.
"They've really been there since the beginning,” he said. ”I have to call out Darren Jones, Kelvin Tse and Alexandra Mcilveen from the Telstra perspective.
“We like to become an extension of our client teams and Dicker has become an extension of our team. They've really enabled us to scale over the last year and we've looked to take advantage of their services as much as we can, certainly more than a typical distributor in my view.”
“In the last couple of years, from what we've seen with Dicker, we have a lot more support available from them and we really only just started taking advantage of that.
A large cost as a business owner is your senior pre-sales staff and architecture type staff who are working on perhaps, some low value activities, like getting deal ID approvals, or discount approvals or putting together a bill of materials.
“We've really been able to work with Dicker Data to get that support where they can run with some of those activities, which enables our sales team, and also our architects to focus on higher value activities.
“That's what it's all about, we really want to drive efficiency and profitability in the business and Dicker has enabled us to do that.”
Deckert said that the company had a number of customer wins in Peak Insight’s managed services and project services portfolio, one of which was a network transformation project with a large Victorian private school.
Using Cisco Meraki, the company deployed switching, wireless and Cisco ISE which Deckert said enabled Peak Insight to provide an improved student and faculty experience for more than 4000 students.
“It was very, very cool and we were able to bring more than 700 devices into our managed services with that customer,” he said. “So that was a really large and exciting opportunity.”
In addition, Peak Insight worked with an aged care provider in a project Deckert described as a privilege.
“We did some consulting for them prior to COVID and fortunately, when COVID hit, they were really well positioned to simplify some of their environment to enable cloud technologies with Cisco Webex Calling, Meetings, Messaging and Contact Centre during COVID.”
“Of course, they have a lot of challenges from a business perspective, but being able to support them was really, really fantastic and, and satisfying during the challenging periods that we've been through recently.”
Summing up the company’s success in 2020, Deckert said that it came down to three factors.
“Number one, we really invested and strengthened our partnerships,” he said. “We also deepened our customer intimacy, we revised our approach to the way that we're engaging with customers, especially existing customers with ongoing support agreements.
“We looked to perform more consultancy, build out roadmaps, gain agreement with the customer, and then execute. That drove a significant amount of work, but also made a huge difference in customer environments and enabled them to really move forward with their plans and their technology implementations.
“Finally, we've really been focusing on systemising the business which we've been doing for a number of years now, and it is a frustratingly slow process. But being focused and specialised in Cisco really enables us to do that we can have offerings that are repeatable, and it really enables the business to run efficiently and start to scale, which is really what we're starting to see now.”
Looking forward Deckert and his team have a laser focus on innovation and developing more value added solutions within the Cisco product stable. The company has now spun-off its in house development capability into a separate business, Peak Amplify.
This month, the company launched the first offering which it developed in conjunction with Cisco, a wallboard and reporting platform for WebEx Calling, Cisco’s cloud-based telephony platform.
“The second component that we're focused on at the moment is our experience centre,” Deckert explained.
“At 501 LaTrobe Street in Melbourne, we've invested a significant amount of money to build an experience centre to really help our customers understand, and experience for themselves, how they can improve the distributed employee experience, and also right now, a safe return to work experience as we come out of COVID here in Melbourne and across Australia.”
For Deckert, winning the CRN Fast50 2020 was about recognising the work his team have put in throughout the year and validates the decisions Peak Insight has made throughout a tough year.
“It's validation that we've got a great team on board and that we have got the systems around the team to support it, and to support growth, which is really what it's all about” he said.
“It's also a really good reflection of what we've been able to achieve, internally as employees, but also in conjunction with our partners, and with our customers, because we have really done this together. It's absolutely exciting times, you know, who would have thought?”