Robert Dapkiewicz, senior vice president and general manager for MetTel, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about a range of topics surrounding the company, its prestigious history and its main initiatives moving forward in the publication’s most recent Executive Spotlight interview.
During the interview, Dapkiewicz discussed MetTel’s upcoming 25th anniversary and how the company continues to differentiate itself in today’s federal marketplace, the last decade of growth in the federal sector to establish the company’s position, MetTel’s customer centric business model for success and adapting to the data challenges ahead of us.
“The strategy and philosophy that propelled MetTel on the commercial side proved equally applicable to the federal government. Our $2 billion in recent wins have demonstrated that the managed service approach we have fine-tuned is a desirable change from what these agencies are accustomed to.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Robert Dapkiewicz below.
ExecutiveBiz: With the company’s 25th anniversary coming up, how do you feel that MetTel has continued to differentiate itself over the past two and a half decades to be able to compete for work in such a competitive sector?
“MetTel partners with all of the major telecom providers and has an extensive partner ecosystem, giving us best-of-breed solutions across the spectrum of telecom, broadband, networking equipment and software. We’ve automated our business operations with our partners, integrating with large carriers and leading solution providers, over 100 altogether. We represent the best the market has to offer through a single fully managed service.
Our agility is another key differentiator. Our ability to react to changing market dynamics and customer needs are far more flexible than that of our larger competitors. I like to say that we can turn our speedboat faster than our competition’s ocean liners.
As an example, we were among the first to adopt SD-WAN and take it to market. Same with managed mobility. SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is next.
Gartner, the top IT research firm, named MetTel a Leader in the first-ever Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services, based in part on our ability to adapt to market conditions and quickly innovate. We were the furthest along in the Vision category, which represents innovation, in recognition of our leading-edge use of artificial intelligence (AI).”
ExecutiveBiz: More specifically, how has MetTel been able to drive and maintain its success in the federal sector over the last decade? How has your growth strategy and philosophy led the company to consistent success winning government contracts and high sales numbers?
“We dipped our toe in the water by taking on the USDA account about 10 years ago. We began with the U.S. Forest service by consolidating the myriad of voice providers under the MetTel umbrella, simplifying a very complex voice environment.
We quickly expanded into a huge supplier to USDA taking on more and more of their business, from the first sub agency to nearly 30 sub agencies. They became our best reference.
Over the next few years, applying this same customer focused business philosophy enabled us to expand our customer base with awards from the Marine Corps Recruiting Command as well as the Navy Recruiting. At this point we knew we could provide significant value to other federal agencies.
In the federal sector, your success is directly proportional to the contracts you are added to. MetTel targeted the $50 billion, 15-year GSA EIS contract and became one of only 9 vendors on it. We qualified to offer several types of services and were welcomed onto other contracts such as GSA Schedule 70, Navy Spiral 3, and FEMA (for Mobility).
The validation in our approach are the federal sales we’ve made in the 18 months – over $2 billion to date.”
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ExecutiveBiz: How has MetTel been able to thrive with its customer centric business model that tries to simplify the complex innovative capabilities that federal agencies and other organizations work to meet your customers needs in an ever-changing tech landscape?
“We’re truly customer-centric. While everyone says that, we can back it up. Our solutions and support are designed around established customer needs and preferences. We can adapt, evolve or morph into whatever they need.
One example is the MetTel Federal Portal, based on our Bruin platform. Bruin was designed as a user-friendly dashboard, a single pane of glass to view and control all aspects of network services and communications.
Bruin was created based on customer feedback asking for such a tool that could be managed or fully automated to run itself. We’re applying that same customer-focused/responsive mentality to building out SASE and delivering it in a fully managed service. Something no one has done yet.
MetTel is also an early adopter and fast-mover on applying artificial intelligence (AI) to telecommunications. Our Ticket Next Best Action process is driven by AI (called Intelligent Process Automation) that accelerates remediation of network issues much faster and more accurately than humans alone can.
Another key to our federal success is our agility and adaptability. We can innovate or change direction quickly. As a digital transformation (DX) leader, we’re able to walk the talk since the promise of DX is to make operations flexible, responsive and resilient regardless of the challenges and opportunities the market presents.”
ExecutiveBiz: Looking towards the future, how will the company work to maintain its level of success in providing managed solutions for your customers as well as adapting to data as a service offerings and the data challenges that lay ahead in the federal sector as a whole?
“The strategy and philosophy that propelled MetTel on the commercial side proved equally applicable to the federal government. Our $2 billion in recent wins have demonstrated that the managed service approach we have fine-tuned is a desirable change from what these agencies are accustomed to.
As a managed service provider (and carrier), we’re privileged to have access to oceans of data on how networks work across a vast, diverse customer base. We can see not only what trends emerge from that data but can apply business insights to those observations. We see that as another horizon for us.
One potential example is how we use AI to accelerate trouble remediation. Today, our AI (called Intelligent Process Automation) can rapidly identify an issue and either solve it on its own or direct it to a human to solve. This accounts for close to 80 percent of our trouble tickets.
Depending on what you think data-as-a-service is, the AI remediation is a way that we are using network data to make our offering better and that is the starting point to understanding how the data can make our customers’ business work better. We know there is a correlation and we are working on it to enhance our customer-centric service offering.”