Valicom is a leader in telecom, technology and wireless management services for mid-marketand enterprise organizations. Founded in 1991, the company offers a full suite of technology expense and inventory management services, delivering visibility and control over voice, wireless and data environments. This month, CEO Today speaks with the company’s President and COO Jeff Poirior, who discusses Valicom’s business strategy, ethics and priorities towards their clients.
Can you tell us more about the services that Valicom offers?
Valicom supports a full life cycle of telecom and technology expense management services. We optimise services, build and maintain inventories, negotiate with vendors to achieve better pricing, audit invoices to discover errors and recover credits. We also offer additional professional services including inventory management, auditing, contract negotiations, and cost allocation. At Valicom, we assist our clients with bill payment by helping them consolidate their accounts payable processes through telecom bill payment services, making sure the payments occur on time, and are applied correctly each month, including our unique Invoice Approval tool.
Our cutting-edge telecom expense management software, Clearview, is a powerful, web-based application for managing voice, wireless and data environments. Used by our client’s internal staff alone, or paired with professional services provided by our expert team, it delivers a robust proactive tool to increase visibility, validate expenses, reduce risk, and control costs.
You joined Valicom exactly 11 years ago – can you tell us about your career prior to that?
Before Valicom, I had worked within the IT and telecommunications world for over 25 years. My most recent previous roles include running the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, as well as overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services as the Vice President of Operations for CC&N.
What attracted you to the sector?
Early on in my career, I was exposed to a company’s data centre and I was very intrigued by it. I was fascinated by the fact that everything runs through – it is the heartbeat of company. This is probably what first drew me to this field and the rest is history.
How has your role impacted Valicom’s performance?
When I first spoke with our Founder, Nancy Peckham, she told me a lot about what her goals for the company were. We talked extensively about her plans to grow Valicom, despite some of the difficulties Valicom was experiencing when the recession hit. One thing that has stood out throughout my career is my approach of ‘fixing and building’. I believe that this is what I did with Valicom too. I came in and assessed the situation from sales, operations and technology perspective and together, we started working on improving all of our processes.
7 years ago, we launched our channel for the first time and in order to achieve this, we had to be able to deliver our third generation of our Clearview software. This was the foundation of the growth we’ve been enjoying.
Of course, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without our incredible team of experts. I believe that at Valicom, we have a very unique balance between our technology and the people that deliver our services, which seems to be the right recipe for our success.
What have been some of challenges that you and Valicom have experienced in the past 11 years?
In the past, we have encountered challenges related to technology and a number of other external pressures affecting a small company like ours. I am very proud that we were able to weather a lot of storms put on us by these external factors and I’m thrilled with Valicom’ success these past five years. With the recession behind us, I expect Valicom to continue this growth as our market presence expandsrapidly.
In light of August marking 10 years since the financial crash, how did that particular storm impact Valicom?
A specific example that can illustrate our work during the financial crisis from 2008 is helping a big broadcasting company out. They reached out to us as they needed to immediately cut out expenses. We prepared a tailored proposal swiftly and they were thrilled with it. Our creative solutions lasted for 5 years and ended up saving the company a lot of money.
This particular case was probably the biggest one that we worked on during the financial crisis, but certainly not the only one. It was a difficult time, because we had to be very flexible. Many people were getting laid off and companies were working with minimal resources, but at Valicom, we’ve always managed to adapt to our clients’ requirements. I think that this is one of the main things that differentiates us from other companies – we listen to our clients carefully and understand their needs in terms of work flows, technology, etc., and present them with a solution that’s perfectly tailored to their company.
What is Valicom’s current business strategy?
With accelerated growth on the partner side, we will always continue our growth with direct clients as well. We’ve made significant inroads in the healthcare sector recently and we plan to continue focusing on healthcare while we proudly serve all business verticals.
Our clients are key to us. In order to make sure that we’re offering the best possible services, we survey our clients on a quarterly basis and based on those results, we provide incentives to our operations teams.
Additionally, we also want to concentrate on the partner channel. The mid-market is still underserved, which is why we believe that we can reach out more clients and grow faster through our partner channel. We currently have partners across the country who resell our software and educate potential clients about the company and the services that we offer. Our partners have already built a close relationship with these clients – they trust their guidance and direction. This is why we believe that we will expand more rapidly and reach out to more clients through our partners, rather than through the traditional approach.
What does a typical day look like for you as President and COO of Valicom? What daily challenges do you encounter and how do you overcome them?
My typical day is very active and I like it that way. I think that my management style is very participative and I continually balance between day-to-day tactical functionality and strategy. When I’m engaged with a discussion, whether it’s related to marketing and sales, operations or the future functionality of our software tool, I always find a balance between the tactical functionality aspects and our overall business strategy.
We’re very agile organization that regard and as we identify areas that clients and partners are looking for, we are flexible and well-positioned to be able to address them and make them a priority. Because of our adapability, we are also able to be nimble in terms of direction, as a benefit to our clients.
In addition to my numerous responsibilities, I also take an active part in the sales processes, , making sure that each future client has a memorable experience with us.
What is your vision for the future of the company? Where do you see Valicom in 2-3 years?
My vision for Valicom is continued accelerated growth, which we’ll achieve by a significant focus on extending our channel partners. We currently support them by providing exclusive branded email campaigns for them while providing them with branded collateral, sales and marketing tools.
What’s your piece of advice for CEO Today’s readers?
My recommedationce would be related to expense awareness. I’d like to ask CEO Today’s readers one basic and fundamental question – do you know what your annual expenses are right now? Most people would say they don’t, some people might try to answer and at least 50% of them will be wrong. So my key advice is to be aware and know what that number is. Knowing your expenses will help you manage them better. Most of the time, expense management is overshadowed by the sheer pace of the business and a lot of times, executives will look at this and say that this is not their core competency. Does your company have the Time, Resources, or Expertise to properly manage Telecom/Technology Expenses? If you answer No, to any, my answer is to reach out to an external resource, like Valicom, who will craft a tailored solution that will enable them to manage, control and visualise and validate their expenses to reduce expenses, optiomise technology and resources that will definitely have a positive impact on their organization.
Offering our Clearview SaaS software platform, plus a full suite of telecom expense and inventory management services, we deliver visibility and control over voice, wireless and data environments.
Valicom is a values driven company with a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Our telecom management services are delivered by some of the best professionals in the business, offering benefits that only come from experience: stability, proven processes, highly refined methods and higher savings. Let our team become your team as we optimize services, build and maintain inventories, negotiate with vendors to achieve better pricing, audit invoices to discover errors and recover credits.
Valicom has a robust channel partner program and is a 100% woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) certified by WBENC and NWBOC.
About Jeff Poirior
Jeff brings 30 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was Section chief of infrastructure for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the Vice President of Operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, infrastructure design, technology and Operations services. Jeff holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.