A Strategic Partnership Case Study: Castel – Columbia Ultimate – 2008
by Derek Smith, Managing Director at Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | firstname.lastname@example.org
In early 2008, Castel formed an OEM relationship with Columbia Ultimate to deliver telephony hardware and software solutions to credit and collection call center customers. This is another example of two parties coming together to form a solution that satisfied their own objectives in an effective and efficient manner.
Castel, a small technology company based in Beverly, MA developed and sold telephony hardware and software solutions for outbound call centers. These call centers could launch upwards to several million calls a day to individuals with outstanding debt obligations, consumers expecting deliveries of furniture or appliances, charities or politicians seeking financial support, or patients being reminded of a doctor’s appointment the next day. Castel’s solutions were recognized as being superior to virtually all of its competitors, but the company had one major obstacle. It did not have a full suite of either CIM or CRM applications and therefore potential buyers in evaluating options had to weigh complete solutions from one vendor versus selecting solutions from numerous vendors including Castel. Buyers only wanted one vendor contact and so Castel frequently lost out.
In late 2006 Castel’s senior management identified that if they were to survive they needed new marketing channels for the products. It was no longer feasible to have direct sales to customers. A possible solution was to incorporate Castel solutions inside someone else’s CIM or CRM solution and Castel began looking for a partner(s).
Columbia Ultimate was the leading vendor of credit and collection software/hardware solutions for call centers. In a marketplace with numerous competitors, Columbia Ultimate’s software was recognized as being top notch. However, their telephony component was old and there were questions regarding the financial viability of the supplier of this part of the solution. Further their largest competitor had just announced new suite of products with the latest telephony features. Columbia Ultimate determined that they had two options – (1) develop the telephony applications themselves, or (2) engage another provider of these products. They determined that the preferred route was finding another supplier who already had a telephony solution that could allow them to maintain their market dominance. They reached out to Castel to see if there was any interest in forming an OEM relationship.
The new OEM relationship was announced in early 2008 following months of testing to determine compatibility and ease of use. Castel got access to Columbia Ultimate’s customer base to offer replacement telephony solutions while Columbia Ultimate maintained its reputation as the leading provider of credit and collection applications. Castel’s bookings grew dramatically and Columbia Ultimate acquired several new customers. A win for both parties!
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