Volunteerism and philanthropy are the cornerstones of what makes ESI a constant trendsetter in the telecommunications space. ESI operates like clockwork because employees and resellers learn to work together and think creatively to improve the community and raise money for those in need. These skills are then transferred to the workplace.
The goal of volunteerism is to find a solution to a community’s most pressing needs. Little did I know that the skills I gained when starting ESI in my garage would suit me well in my philanthropic endeavor. I founded ESI because I wanted to make a difference in helping small businesses grow. I was able to develop a product in response to small business needs from the ground up—in the first instance-a small PBX and voice mail system. I embarked on a grassroots effort to sell this innovative phone system, using my product marketing, development and sales experience to successfully and gradually grow ESI. After this initial taste of success, I built a small team that shared the same passion for building telephone systems. We worked late into the night in a never ending quest to build new products and become an emerging force in the telecommunications industry. Our unadulterated passion for developing telephone solutions for our market helped us overcome challenges that we encountered.
Our reputation was built on our responsiveness to the small business market. We were able to scale down voice mail systems, which at the time, were huge and only for the largest companies. We answered a need in the marketplace and built a one-box solution. Even when we introduced a product, we always kept in mind that technology is constantly changing and we extended a product’s life cycle by making compatible next-generation products. This attitude has driven us for 25 years.
ESI’s ability to constantly innovate and develop products that cater to small businesses is possible because we are completely self-funded. This is a particular point of pride for the company. Since we do not have to answer to outside investors, we can concentrate on providing unique products and retain engineers who have the freedom to innovate on a timetable for developing the best possible products we can are put on the market, rather than having to work on an outside investor’s timeline. It is impossible to overstate how proud I am of the fact that this independence has led to the development of 12 patents.
A company is more than its products. What makes a company special is its employees and culture. My proudest accomplishment at ESI is creating a culture with unparalleled employee loyalty and camaraderie. This deep sense of loyalty would not exist without the program we established 15 years ago that encouraged the company to give back to our community. I was inspired to introduce philanthropy to ESI because I believed we could use our employees’ business talents to help change the world. We recognized that we could make a greater impact in the world by working with non-profits along with developing phone systems. We embraced this new philosophy and even changed our company mission statement to include the phrase “practice success with significance.”
We have participated on dozens of projects, beginning with establishing a disaster relief fund related to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Since then, we have harnessed our company and reseller’s desire to help other by establishing the ESI Humanitarian Relief Fund in response to large scale disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Bangladesh cyclone, and the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Our world-wide philanthropic efforts beginning with tsunami relief expanded into many other local efforts as well, including the establishment of a Santa fund, donations to the local food bank, Habitat for Humanity builds and a mentorship program for middle school students. Our volunteerism helps define us internally. Instead of just working side by side, everyone at ESI is part of one big family, devoid of backbiting and politicking that all too often plagues the workplace. This mutual respect that stems from volunteering gives everyone a deeper sense of accomplishment and company loyalty that has all but vanished in today’s culture. We are also proud to include our resellers in our community initiatives, increasing the size of our ESI family. We recognize that the resellers who are interested in helping us give back to the community are also those who share the same commitment to superior customer service.
ESI is in the midst of its most challenging and exciting period. Change is much more dynamic than it was just 10 years ago when there was little internet traffic and few mobile devices. The rapid advancement in technology that we’ve been seeing will remain unabated in the future. Developing our products in response to our market would not be possible without the ESI employees and resellers who have remained loyal to us throughout the years.
Cheers to the next 25 years!
Founder and Chairman
As I’m writing this, it’s hard to believe that one year has already passed since I took the reins of ESI as President and COO. This makes it the perfect time to reflect on the past year. As I have familiarized myself with ESI’s products, services and culture, it has become clear to me that the key ingredients to our continued success are our great team of employees and resellers.
From day one, the welcoming atmosphere led by company Chairman and Founder, Eric Suder and CEO, Doug Boyd, along with ESI’s family of employees and supportive resellers, made for a smooth transition. I was able to seamlessly blend experiences gained while working at other premise and cloud technology companies with the product development and business demands of my new position. At the outset, I had the confidence and freedom to explore ESI’s existing infrastructure through the lens as the “new guy” with no pre-conceived notions. I’m happy to say that my first impression regarding the collaborative nature of the company proved correct. The great ownership group, which has led ESI for 25 years amid a tough competitive environment, reflects a culture of integrity, responsiveness and a reseller-centric approach to the development of innovative communications products. As with any technology company, we are not perfect. However one of the keys to our continued success has been the great relationship we have maintained with our reseller channel. That relationship has been formed through years of communication and mutual respect that resonates from the initial sales process to technical support.
Coming in as the “new guy” can be a daunting proposition. Given that the average tenure of an ESI employee is nine years, it’s not an exaggeration to state that I was, and still am, the new kid on the block. However, over the past year, I’ve truly been welcomed with open arms by everyone in the company. The openness associated with ESI, along with its rock-solid reputation as a leader in operations, technical support, innovations and charitable initiatives, allowed me to concentrate on evolving the cultural landscape of ESI. I am extremely thankful that ESI has embraced my management philosophy, where workers are encouraged to take an ownership role in the decision-making process and the direction of the company. I am proud that I engage with colleagues on a daily basis, who can challenge the prevailing norm of relying on routine in order to think critically and explore new ways to improve our products and solutions.
Due to the company’s positive response to my management style, we have been able to institute changes that benefit our customers and that has led to a 24% growth of systems sales from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012. By overhauling our public relations and marketing strategies, we are better able to differentiate ourselves from others in the marketplace (stay tuned for our new website). To stay nimble and responsive to our customers’ needs, we have restructured our sales force, instituted new pricing plans for resellers to compete at a higher level with increased flexibility and are relocating our manufacturing operations from off-shore to near- and on-shore facilities. Though most of our activities have focused on our traditional customer premise business, we have dedicated resources and staff to starting our cloud based solutions for which we expect great returns in 2013.
This transformation prepares us to take advantage of continued technological change and innovation. The increased presence of cloud technology, smartphone mobility and “Bring Your Own Device” initiatives illustrate the rapid technological advancements that are impacting the telecom industry. By keeping pace and developing products that incorporate these technologies, we represent our mantra-“we make it easy to communicate.” We will rise up to the challenge of consistently providing innovative and easy to use offerings to our customers who regard us as an indispensable part of their business operations.
Here’s to one successful year and many more to come!
President & COO
As the 2011-2012 academic year ends, ESI celebrates and thanks our employees for truly making a difference.
Today, ESI was honored with a luncheon by the teachers and staff at a local middle school where a team of ESI employees has been mentoring students weekly through the school year.
Each Thursday, starting in the Fall, ESI’s mentors spent one-on-one time with students who need someone in their life to help them through a tough time. The students may have organizational issues, challenges with school work, may not have an adult in their life that they can always count on, or it could be a student who just needs a friend.
Last week marked the final day this school year that ESI mentors met with students. Tears were shed. For some mentors and students, who have been matched for the all three years of middle school, it was especially emotional.
Since 1995, ESI has been mentoring students from the same local school, making a difference in the lives of over 275 middle school students.
In response to a recent article in PC World titled, “How Switching to VoIP Can Save You Money,” (see Source link below) we thought it might be informative to add our two cents.
SIP Trunking (VOIP) can be used effectively in larger installations as well. Most SIP trunks can be provisioned to offer DID’s so that calls can be routed through an on-premise platform directly to an individual extension. While there are cost benefits that can be realized without degradation of service, in most cases the company implementing these SIP trunks or VOIP services need to be sure that their internal networks and Internet access points are configured directly.
Here’s a scenario that happens almost every day — sending packets of voice over an Internet pipe that only has a certain bandwidth, and at the same time, someone or several people try to download a video or even download or upload a large software program. Those voice packets have to compete with the other packets for space in the pipe. This can cause what is known as latency or jitter which degrades voice quality. Best practices suggest that businesses should have separate access to the Internet for voice traffic or install end-to-end circuits that guarantee a quality of service (QOS). Applying such best practices can increase the cost of a SIP Trunk or VOIP deployment but ultimately provides better quality while still providing a reduction in costs.
Most SMB’s do not have large IT departments so we suggest they work with a qualified reseller to implement these services. The qualified reseller will help ensure that the networks are configured correctly to provide cost savings with limited to no sacrifices in quality. ESI works with over 600 qualified resellers in the SMB space that can offer these implementation services along with other quality voice video and access solutions.
What a great honor to represent ESI at the Healthiest Employers of Dallas luncheon sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal. It was a tremendous pat on the back — for all of ESI’s employees who have worked so hard to achieve improved wellness for themselves and their families.
After being evaluated on a number of criteria, including culture and leadership commitment, foundational components of wellness, strategic planning, communication, marketing and programming, ESI was selected in the the medium-sized business category for Dallas area employers from 100-500 employees. (http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2012/03/02/dbj-announces-healthiest-employers.html)
Here are just a few of the things we do at ESI to improve company-wide wellness:
- Employees receive discounted health insurance premiums for healthy living
- Fresh fruit is available fruit in our break rooms
- Daily e-mail reminders about wellness
Late last year, ESI kicked it up a notch by enrolling all employees in Sonic Boom Wellness, an online social networking wellness program that emphasizes being active, eating right, weight loss and overall healthy living. Sonic Boom’s model is to make healthy habits inevitable by using competition among peers, extrinsic rewards, and establishing daily healthy habits that will continue throughout our lives.
How are we doing? Great! Each day at 10:00 and 3:00 (and lunch hours) ESI employees don their sneakers and take a 1 1/2 mile walk to enjoy the fellowship of other employees, get that heart beating, and raise their step count in some very competitive contests. With their high tech pedometers on their shoe, their number of steps, time spent active, miles and calories burned are automatically beamed to their personal website so they can watch their progress - and compare it to other ESI employees.
As of today, in a little over five months, ESI employees have walked 58 million steps and burned 2.8 million calories. Look closely and you’ll see our CEO out walking daily with the other employees. This truly is a program with tremendous executive and employee involvement.
That is why I’m so proud ESI has received this award for the second consecutive year.
Please find the attached link (“Source” at the end of the post) to Dave Michels post on Talking Pointz “The Desk phone - Friend or Foe?” For that matter you should also follow the links to two other posts related to this one. Those two posts are: from Dave Michels Time-to-re-invent-the- Desk phone and Matt Brunk’s post on No Jitter “The New Desk phone”.
All Articles bring up a good point about an office Desk phone. Is it here to stay? Is it a useful device in its typical form? and will the bring your own device (SmartPhone or Tablet) movement make the desk phone obsolete?
The real question becomes. Are the current desk phones useful enough if end users keep uttering phrases like; “if I hang up on you, please call back” when they are attempting to make a conference or a transfer? Lets face it, we have all either said or heard that phrase so many times it does not even phase us anymore.
It is our belief at ESI that traditional phones supplied by most manufacturers do not make features like conferencing and transferring easy. Since the inception of the first ESI phone system we have sought to change that paradigm. We want to make phones and system features easy to use by making them simple and intuitive. When an end user does need help each ESI system comes with a help key that offers an audio tutorial for every feature on the phone.
ESI continuously spends development cycles with the goal of ensuring all of our phones and systems are easy to use. There is no better example of this than the ESI Smartphone 250 that was recently announced. By combining the touch screen simplicity of an android device with the powerful features of our ESI systems we continue to make strides making productivity enhancing features easy to use. To read more about the phone and features please see the press release on the ESI web site.
As for the bring your own device movement. We certainly feel that smartphones and tablets are here to stay. At this point we have not publicly communicated our strategy for the integration of those devices to our IP solutions. You can believe however that we are using the experience derived from building the Smartphone 250 android device to help drive towards a bring your own device strategy.
At the end of the day we believe there is room for and reasons for both devices in the office and that smart devices both on the desk and in your pocket will shape the future of our business.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say on the subject.
President and COO
I thought the following article from Inc. Magazine was interesting (http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/phone-skills-how-to-give-good-phone.html).
As greater amounts of our business communications move towards texting, chatting and e-mailing sometimes we need to be reminded the best way to communicate on a telephone conversation. We want to be sure that telephone conversations are productive and the most valuable form of communication for the small and medium businesses. After all, ESI has built a company by providing technically advanced, easy-to-use business communication solutions.
I know that my kids (boys 16, 14 and 11) are much more interested in communicating via text while using the telephone and they could use a lesson on how best to communicate via the voice path on their smartphones!
President and COO
Here’s a shot of the ESI 250 Smartphone, being demonstrated today at the Channel Partners Conference & EXPO in Las Vegas, NV.
We are excited to be showing the Android based ESI 250 Smartphone at the Channel Partners show in Las Vegas this week. Come by the ESI Booth #614 to get a hands on demonstration. At the Booth you can also get a demonstration the extensive ESI solutions that make it easier for SMB’s to communicate with their customers. ESI is 100% partner focused, thus we are looking for additional great partners to join the ESI reseller family. We look forward to seeing you at the show and to working with you in the future.
President and COO
Learn more about Estech Systems, Inc. (ESI), the business phone systems manufacturer, in this informative video.
ESI designs and manufactures high-performance phone systems for businesses and organizations. ESI uses advanced technology to design IP and digital communications systems that integrate built-in capabilities, advanced features and highly differentiated applications into flexible products that are easy-to-use use and keep employees productive. ESI has sold over 250,000 business communications systems through hundreds of factory-trained Certified Resellers. Founded in 1987, ESI is a privately held corporation with headquarters in Plano, Texas.