Nov 14, 2022
My name is Jayme Branson and I’m the President and CEO of Granite Technology Solutions.
We offer managed services in the IT area. We do hosted VoIP solutions, structured cabling, camera systems and door access, IoT and AI technologies, and carrier services that include SD-WAN, MPLS, DIA broadband, internet push lines, long-distance, and toll-free services.
Granite and Blackfoot are business partners. We have been partners for about nine years. Granite has traditionally brought clients to Blackfoot for voice and internet broadband services. And recently we have done a few SD-WAN solutions for customers. We often work together on a project where we will do one part, often the phones, and Blackfoot does the carrier services piece. And then sometimes we just work on them as a team.
Customers ask us a lot of questions about cybersecurity, internet, and even sometimes SD-WAN—though they usually call it backup or failover. And things are moving so fast and changing so often that customers have a hard time keeping up with the latest technologies. So, we answer their questions. We talk to them about how to do an SD-WAN solution, whether with failover or a disaster recovery component. Sometimes it’s just that they need more bandwidth. Sometimes they want to make sure they have connectivity one hundred percent of the time. And often in those engagements, we will engage Blackfoot to help us.
Good question. So, a bunch of different ways. There are network assessment tools that we use to get the metrics and some of the details about their devices and their equipment—we do that with every customer engagement. But a lot of it, too, is just sitting down and talking about the business and what their pain points are. We ask a series of questions to assess where they are in their digital transformation journey. If they have initiatives in their company to become more efficient or more productive. A lot of people are dealing with supply chain and staffing issues. We are seeing some impact from the changing economy. So, we just try to engage on the front end with the right questions and the right assessment to see where they’re at and where they want to go.
And then our solutions team will build a design or a proposal, or config, which could be as simple as adding a few phones in a few remote locations, to as complex as building out a full managed services IT offering where we take over some of their IT work. And we do a lot of that—sometimes it’s fully managed, sometimes it’s co-managed, sometimes it involves multiple carrier services vendors such as a primary and a secondary. So those initial questions and assessments lead us to whatever the long-term solution is going to be.
A lot of things, starting with our people and our process. It’s really key to the approach to our customers. We’re constantly drilling for information from our customers, so we know what they want and how we can do a better job. We want to know things that we haven’t done well in the past and things they’ve experienced that they would like to see done better—maybe it was us, maybe it was another provider.
Then, our process gets tweaked throughout the year. With every engagement, it seems like we continue to tweak what we do. And it’s because our environment is changing—with cybersecurity, there are just bigger threats out there and different ways that people are getting in. COVID blew up the entire remote workforce and people using video conferencing; so all of that is now much more accessible, and people are much more willing to use technology. That has changed how we approach things. You try to secure a business the old way and you’re securing one location. Now, we’re trying to secure endpoints scattered across the planet. Users are on a home network; they’re on a Starbucks network; they’re on their business network—so it’s changed our solutions because we have to deal with different things and so are our customers.
We’ve integrated things so our company, our process, and our core offerings are all one and the same. Everything that we do is integrated. And even though it’s dynamic and changing, every single person in our company—from admin or accounting or sales or service—uses one core process that we all follow.
Oh, love this question. You know the best part is that it’s not really a job. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working the last 30 years in the technology industry, making friends, learning about people, and every type of business out there—and it’s fun to me. We find issues and solve problems. We invest heavily in the Granite team so they’re free to invest in supporting our customers, and that frees up our customers to do what they’re good at, run their business, invest in their teams and customers, and so on. I love that part of what we do.
And for me, I love Montana and my family. I love just bouncing around the state and meeting with people. And it’s been a fun 30 years.
It takes time to build a partnership and Blackfoot, Granite, and Montana Phone, the number of years we spent building our relationship has been a big deal. And it’s fun to get on the phone with you and talk about some of the things we do, but things are dynamic and there are a lot of changes going on. For Granite, every single day we get up and try to make sure we’re staying up with what’s going on in our market and industry. We try to make sure our teams have time to learn. And I know with our partners we have regular meetings to keep up with what you guys are doing and how we can serve customers the best together.
I just appreciate the partnership and appreciate the time that Blackfoot takes and our team takes to keep that going. The more time we put into the partnership, the better off we are.
Posted with permission from blackfootbusiness.com/blog/people-partners/q8-granite