Improve your Technology Management with Bluewave

Listen to Bluewave CEO, Seth Penland, talk about how clients can improve their technology lifecycle management to ensure you get the right technology solutions for your needs. From assessments to sourcing to expense management, Bluewave ensures you get exactly what you need.

Transcript

eChannelNews:
Hey, everybody. Welcome to this edition of eChannelNews. Today we’ve got Seth. He is the founder and CEO of a company called Bluewave. And we gotta talk to him about what’s going on there, and how they work in the channel. First of all, Seth, how are you doing?

Seth Penland:
I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on the show.

eChannelNews:
All right. Let’s just give us a bit of a background. Tell me a bit about first, what Bluewave does.

Seth Penland:
Bluewave, we’re a premium technology advisory firm. We focus on helping clients with the entire life cycle management of their technology, and we’re really focused on delivering a superior experience to those clients and helping them have great outcomes.

eChannelNews:
And give me a little bit of background. How did you get into this?

Seth Penland:
My entree into the channel is a bit unique. My background is primarily financial services. I was an investment banker for a number of years, working for JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and a smaller firm in LA, but my roots are in technology. I started in the early 2000s with Webex Communications back when web conferencing was brand new to the scene, so it was an exciting time to get into the industry at that time. And then fast forward a number of years, I was a banker, like I said, and a friend of mine from Webex had launched a technology brokerage agency in Texas and had been running it for a number of years. That’s how I got introduced to the channel, was learning about his business, learning about how he was helping his clients. And I was super intrigued about the business model about most importantly, the value proposition of the customer. Being able to sit in this position where we advise clients on really important decisions related to their technology purchasing and procurement. And that’s how I got introduced to the channel before starting Bluewave in early 2017.

eChannelNews:
That’s interesting. It’s almost like you’re an MSP in a way, you recommend solutions. Tell me, how does it work at Bluewave? What do you do? You go to end customers and recommend technology solutions, and then you work with a series of an ecosystem of different vendors or MSPs. How does that all work together?

Seth Penland:
Think of it as really, we’re acting as an advisor to those folks. It starts with first, really understanding their needs and requirements. Especially today. Technology is getting much more interconnected, it’s getting more complex, and IT teams and senior executives at organizations just need help making those decisions. Our team will come in, we’ll do a full assessment or understanding of the requirements. What are they looking for? What are they trying to accomplish? What are their business objectives? What are their technology constraints? What’s their budget? And help them kind of work through understanding what are the requirements? How do we build out a return on investment or the cost analysis required? And then we help make those recommendations.

Seth Penland:
It could be bringing in one or two or three parties that make the most sense for their needs, really running an RFP-like process for them to ensure that they get the right decision made the first time, and that they are able to make that decision with the best pricing in terms of the marketplace. We help guide them through that whole process. And then after the decision is made, we help them from a project management perspective, make sure that they implement the services in the best way possible to create a better outcome. And then we can help manage that life cycle of that technology decision ongoing as well. Because we provide telecom expense management or life cycle management solutions as well as helping on the procurement side. And then again, fast forward several years, we’ll help them when they need to move, add, make changes to those technology decisions. But it’s a continual relationship that we have with those clients.

eChannelNews:
Do you also handle the transaction component? Let’s say they have to buy this bunch of technology. Do you actually procure the technology, and deliver, and transact?

Seth Penland:
It’s typically the contract is with the underlying technology providers, whether that’s with AT&T, or RingCentral, or it’s with Lumen, et cetera. The contract is technically with the end supplier and the customer. We’re really overseeing that overall process.

eChannelNews:
Do you work with MSPs? Or you work directly with end customers only?

Seth Penland:
We work directly with the end customers. At times, we’ll work with an MSP or another technology provider where they might refer or bring us into a client situation to help them, but our relationship is directly with the end client.

eChannelNews:
Okay. And when you say technology, are you limited to the telecommunications, UCaaS, VoIP, that type of thing? Or is it goes beyond to data centers? How far do you go down the rabbit hole?

Seth Penland:
Yeah, it’s pretty all encompassing. Think of all the core infrastructure, the businesses need to operate their business. It kind of starts with oftentimes networking and SDWAN and NPLS and all the infrastructure around that, but it’s also UCaas, CCaaS. It’s managed security, it’s data center, cloud infrastructure. It’s really all the core infrastructure that a client needs to run their business.

eChannelNews:
Interesting stuff. Seth, that’s interesting. As a consultant, are you looking at best of breed, and giving the customer the right solution? Not just what you sell type thing, you can go outside of the sandbox and say, “Hey, for you in security, here’s what we recommend. For you in this, we recommend these vendors.” And even if you don’t have a relationship with those vendors, you will still bring them in? Is it best-of-breed consulting type thing?

Seth Penland:
It is really best-in-breed consulting, and you’re using the right word, is the consulting. That’s really how we’re approaching it is we want to be the best advisory business in the space as opposed to just matching parties that we may have a preexisting relationship with. In some cases on the front end, we might charge a consulting fee or assessment to do the advice without even being involved in the actual procurement decision if it makes sense.

Seth Penland:
With that said, we tend to participate in the spaces where we have good breadth of services. If we don’t have relationships with those underlying suppliers or technology providers, it’s probably not an area we’re going to provide a lot of advice, because we’re not really well positioned to provide great advice. To be able to give a recommendation you need to understand those technologies intimately. We tend to work in areas where we know all of the key players, the best-in-breed players, and we’re able to help vet that out with a client to figure out which recommendation makes the most sense for them in their business.

eChannelNews:
In the world of digital transformation, all these companies need to move to where they want to go, and I think technology is the vehicle that gets them there. When you look at the big picture, at a company, here’s a company and they’re doing certain things right now, and they want to go fully digital or migrate because their customers are moving there, are you able to map them out, and say, “Hey, here’s where you are right now. Here’s where you want to be, and how to get there from there.” Is that the kind of a thing you do?

Seth Penland:
That’s exactly what we do, and that fits in our bucket where we call it a technology assessment. We’ll come in with our Director of Technology Transformation and other members of the team to first assess what do they have today from a technology stack perspective. And then ultimately, where do they want to go? Or where are they trying to get to? And what’s the roadmap to get there? And we help design that for them. Not only are we assessing what they have, where they’re going, but then also what’s the cost to make that transition. And either, is that going to save them money? Or maybe more importantly, is that going to give them a great return on investment? How do they improve productivity in-house or productivity inside the company? How do they do more with less? And we help really map out that roadmap for them. Or we design that roadmap for them and help them basically project management. Make the decisions, project management, help them get there as quickly as possible.

eChannelNews:
Good stuff. It’s an important task because a lot of companies don’t really know really what they don’t know, first of all. They don’t even know what they need, they just know they got to do something because their customers are moving there, and they’ve got to go along that way. Seth, what do you want everybody to know about Bluewave?

Seth Penland:
We’re really approaching the market from a client-first perspective. When I think about the things that we want to be known for at Bluewave, it’s really that we provide exceptional, timely advice to our clients, that we have a great robust project management approach, and that we are providing relevant, accurate insights that are based on data and experience.

eChannelNews:
Well, there you have it. And the website for anybody who want to learn more is what?

Seth Penland:
Bluewave.net.

eChannelNews:
Excellent. Check it out folks. At the end of the day, you’ve got to help consult your customers to make the best decisions. And if you approach from a consultant-first basis, kind of makes a lot of sense. Hey, thanks Seth, for bringing this information to our attention, and all the best.

Seth Penland:
Thanks Julian. Again, appreciate the time.

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