The story behind Ezypay's cloud communications migration

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This article appeared in the November 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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The story behind Ezypay's cloud communications migration
Andrew Sjoquist and Andrew So
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What benefits have you seen?

Andrew So: We are no longer subject to local power failures in our Chatswood office. We have the ability to be a little bit more mobile as well. We have a lady that works out of Wollongong remotely and all she needs to do there is connect into our network. She has the same telephone services, chat, instant messaging, and video conferencing facilities that she would if she was in the office.

We have two New Zealand teleworkers who work from home, servicing our New Zealand market. Again, the same situation. They just need to connect to our network via VPN. They have the full UC experience that our users in our Sydney and our Malaysian office have – that’s the teleconferencing, video conferencing, chat and the like on the ASE platform. 

Andrew Sjoquist: One other interesting thing is the connectivity of the Malaysian office. Malaysia itself as a location is notoriously expensive from a telco point of view. So, as a result we utilised the internet connectivity with some VPN tunnels that run back a wholly optimised connectivity path. Because that path is so direct and so fast into Malaysia, Ezypay is able to use that to carry voice and other latency-sensitive communications across it, which I guess would reduce the cost of the international cold calling in and out of Malaysia.

Andrew So: We have our service and support centre in Malaysia, so they would often have to make calls into an Australian business. They make the calls directly off their PCs and it appears as a local number. Our CEO was astounded at how simple and easy it was for him to make a local call from the Malaysian office. We don’t have any complaints around the quality of the voice and the clarity of the calls themselves – the quality of the connections and the service has been fantastic.

Andrew Sjoquist: VoIP has had a bad rap since entering into enterprise, but it’s a good demonstration that if designed and implemented correctly it can actually be a benefit to any business and be just as good as any traditional digital or other TDM carriage service.

Andrew So: We’re able to make local phone calls from our Sydney office into Malaysia as well.

What credentials does ASE have for projects of this type?

Andrew Sjoquist: ASE is a Cisco Premier Partner in advanced unified communications, so that gives us the certification to be able to design, deploy and maintain, and operate these types of infrastructure.

We’ve got a range of customers in the same space – which Andrew has very generously conducted demos for us in the past – so people are really following that lead and seeing the same benefits. The only other thing that might differ in those scenarios is that the core platform itself for some of our other customers runs on the ASE CPU Cloud, and that’s not practical in this space because of the PCI compliance requirements.

As of this calendar year, we have our Cloud Call product – which is able to replace the Optus and Telstra type services – that may possibly be something that they may like to evolve to in the future. We remain agnostic from a carriage point of view. Our service for Ezypay is to provide the core telephony applications, and their choice of carrier is Optus, so we respect that, but we do have the capability to do it with other customers where we terminate our own calls now and
bill the minutes.

ASE Cloud Call is a new product we brought to market at Christmas time last year, and it’s a direct replacement for Telstra, Optus and any other carrier fixed-line services.

Do you have any comments about working with ASE?

Andrew So: One of the things we liked about dealing with ASE is that they are agnostic to vendor solutions. One of our criteria for the solution and in selecting our vendors is flexibility and growth, and expansion I suppose. We’ve always had a growth mindset, so we need to always plan for future expansion. The solution that’s in place now will allow us to have extra lines using Cloud Call or Telstra or TPG or whatever it is that may be, so that we can handle the capacity.

It’s the same with the WAN solution. To say we’re going to put in a fibre connection for our office was a very different sort of approach to any other traditional telco from both a costing and a solution perspective. So when we saw the solution, we were sceptical. We had some questions around performance and how realistic was this performance gain we were going to get. 

I think one of the things that sold us to a certain extent was that they were using it themselves. They had the same solution in their office, and I know they recently moved at around the same time as we did and they had the same sort of approach. I thought if it‘s good enough for the vendor, I think it’s good enough for the customer. 

We’re not a large organisation by any means, and we’ve dealt with the large integrators and vendors in the past and found that it was hard work dealing with them. 

Were there any challenges in this project?

Andrew So: I think the main challenge was probably Ezypay. We set some tight timeframes, and we decided to change them as well. We’re small, dynamic and like to move fast, and that often means that we change our minds a lot. During that time, there was never an issue with ‘no, sorry we can’t do it’ – it was ‘no worries, let’s work together on this and get through it’.

What’s next?

Andrew So: We’re expanding into Asia, as we’ve mentioned. That does mean then that we will eventually require a presence in the South-East Asian marketplace. So for us, it’s either finding a location that’s closer to Malaysia in terms of a data centre –  something a bit closer than Sydney –  or an Asian data centre to be able to replicate our equipment and our services in that region.

Andrew Sjoquist: Certainly, the ground is set now for some relatively simple expansions. Being in a facility like an Equinix really allows that to happen quite quickly, and we’ve seen that with our own business. We hope that we can continue to work with Ezypay as they grow into the South-East Asian market.  

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