Windstream has been quite busy these past few years transforming their business from a rural focused local exchange carrier to an enterprise, wholesale, and broadband focused integrated communications carrier. Much of that transformation has focused on large scale endeavors like data center investment and large CLEC acquisitions. Just today, Windstream informed Paetec’s twitter followers that Paetec is a part of Windstream and they should now follow @Windstream.
In the past week, Windstream has also put some focus on its small and medium business (SMB) services portfolio. Late last week they took their IP Simple platform nationwide. As Windstream describes it, IP Simple is a “…Managed Unified Communications solution designed for small and medium-sized businesses.” It combines an Allworx IP PBX (Allworx is a Windstream subsidiary company) with a Windstream SIP connection for a total SMB voice connectivity solution. The Allworx platform includes important features like voicemail and conferencing in a single solution.
Earlier this week, Windstream kept their attention on the SMB market with the announcement of the Windstream Professional Bundle. This new bundled offering can include “…business-class Internet and unlimited phone service, 24×7 computer repair and replacement of broken components, Internet security, online backup of critical business data, as well as a custom built website for the customer and one hour of monthly design services by Windstream’s web experts.”
The two moves illustrate the importance of the SMB market segment. This market holds great promise as SMBs look to technologies like hosted IP and other cloud services to improve efficiency and help businesses focus on servicing their end customers, rather than managing IT processes.
That potential is not lost on competitors to Windstream, mainly the cable MSO sector, which sees the SMB segment as a growth engine for them. The resulting competitive battle should see more announcements like these from companies like Windstream and their competitors, who hope to invigorate a SMB product portfolio that can hold off competitors and drive growth.