Why Did Your Copier Company Buy a Telephony Company?


Why Advanced Systems bought a telephony companySince we purchased Schmitt Telecom Partners, we’ve been asked by existing and potential customers many variations of “why’d you do that?” To answer those questions, we’ve put together the following post in the form of a FAQ. I’ll begin with a quick overview.

We are now a full-service provider of telecommunications equipment and services in the Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and surrounding areas. Eventually, we’ll expand these services to the entire territory ASI now covers with our traditional product lines.

The seven employees that joined ASI with this merger have over 100 years of combined telecommunications experience. The team is comprised of:

  • The previous owner who will be our product sales specialist. Like with our other specialty areas where we currently use product sales specialists, he will work with our existing sales representatives. They will discover potential leads and then bring him in to help facilitate the sales process. This has proven to be a successful model for us as we address our customer’s business needs.
  • An implementation specialist who will assist the telephony sales specialist with the design and build of a system. She will also be involved with the pricing of the system and creation of the proposal. She may also be involved with user training at or after installations.
  • Three service technicians, responsible for customer support, both on site and phone support, for all telephony customers.
  • A controller who will take on accounting responsibilities within the administrative team at ASI.
  • One administrative team member who also has joined the administrative team of ASI.

First off, what’s telephony (you might be asking)?

Here’s a definition from TechTarget: “Telephony is the technology associated with the electronic transmission of voice, fax, or other information between distant parties using systems historically associated with the telephone, a handheld device containing both a speaker or transmitter and a receiver. With the arrival of computers and the transmittal of digital information over telephone systems and the use of radio to transmit telephone signals, the distinction between telephony and telecommunication has become difficult to make." 

Essentially, whether you have a traditional, landline phone service or want to use your IT network for voice over IP; ASI can set up and service your telephones. We’ll go into detail about telephony, options, and the differences in various options in future blog posts.

How was the decision to add telephony made?

Many copier dealers have already made this transition. As dealers offer a wider variety of services and solutions, telephony is a natural step in that progression. When the opportunity to acquire Schmitt Telecom Partners came up, we determined it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. The culture within the company and their customer service focus was quite similar to ours. Plus the additional customer base and ongoing revenue this acquisition brought to us made it a logical choice.

ASI has a strong history as a copier dealership, how does telephony fit into the future of the company?

Our history is providing great products supported by best-in-class customer service. This is true for any of the products we provide. ASI has a history of evolving along with technology – before copiers, we offered microfilm products. We’ve grown to include fax machines, scanners, production printers, and document management software in our product offering. Telephony is simply the latest addition to our product arsenal. We have had one constant though – our superior customer service, which will continue with this latest addition.

What services will ASI now offer?

As an Authorized Avaya Partner we provide both traditional and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) equipment. VoIP is using your IT network as your phone network.

We provide customized solutions designed for each client’s telecommunications needs and serve as a one-call source for both installation and ongoing service and maintenance of their systems. Our technicians and customer service trainers are certified on the latest product offerings. We also offer a wide array of peripheral products like voice and data cabling, paging systems, and wireless headsets.

In addition to providing telecommunication equipment, ASI is also an agent for CenturyLink, Mediacom, and all other providers of voice and data services.

ASI prides itself on service. How will Schmitt Telecom fit into that strong tradition?

As mentioned above, Schmitt’s views on providinghigh-quality customer service is very similar to ASI’s. This was a big factor in our decision. Schmitt Telecom provided our phone system almost 20 years ago. Since then, we’ve experienced their customer service first hand – and have obviously liked what we’ve experienced! I have also known the owner for over 20 years on a personal level. His children were very close in age to my own children, attending the same small school and church. So not only did I know that Schmitt Telecom was a quality company, I knew it was owned and operated by an individual with strong morals, high ethics, and integrity.

As our industry continues to evolve, I believe this will be a great growth opportunity for our dealership. Customers continue to look for one provider to provide multiple services. This addition allows us to cover one more of their office needs.

As I mentioned, Advanced Systems has evolved to incorporate new technologies to meet the business needs of our customers. We started with taking care of their printed document and information needs. We’ve evolved to also take care of their electronic document and information needs. With this move, we’re now able to take care of their voice and data needs.

I believe bringing our two strong companies together makes for a single, better, and stronger provider. Their telecom expertise backed by our infrastructure and support mechanisms will make us both better – and that’s good for all of you. In the end, we all win.

Questions? Please ask in the comments below.

About The Author

Dave Quint, president and CEO of Advanced Systems Inc. and past president of BTA Mid-America. Dave has worked with copiers, MFPs, scanners, and document workflow software since joining Advanced Systems as a sales associate in 1989. His favorite part of the job -- “there is no greater joy than to see the positive impact these solutions have in our client’s businesses.’ You press print, we take care of the rest. Contact us for more information >>