Inatel's software targets telecommunications companies
By Marilyn Bowden
A new company based on Brickell Avenue is introducing a software and services package aimed at streamlining the way telecommunications companies conduct business, principals say.
"Even some of the most sophisticated communications companies have relatively archaic ways of dealing with sales pricing and ordering products," said President Andrew S. Taplin, founder with Evan B. Phillips of Inatel.
He said the company evolved out of experience with the telecommunications industry. The two founders were partners in two telecommunications companies developed over the past seven years -- Bluewater Communications and Debit One Communications.
"As we grew in them," Mr. Taplin said, "we started to realize that the business from an automation standpoint -- from the point of view of centralizing products and orders -- was very archaic.
"We began developing software solutions."
The company unveiled its new web-enabled "inatelligence" software product and service package at a recent Telecom Agent Conference & Expo, he said, and now holds agreements with more than 50 communications service providers, including AT&T, Qwest, Cable & Wireless, UUNET and Global Crossing.
It targets small to mid-sized telecom agents.
Inatel digitizes sales and ordering information from communications providers, Mr. Taplin said, and puts it in a central service base so that telecommunications agents can access it easily and simply.
"The nation's 30,000 telecom agents have captured more than 20% of the business telecommunications market," he said, "generating more than $27 billion in revenues annually.
"By the year 2004, agents are projected to handle $48 billion in annual business volume. Our goal is to capture 4% of the agent market within two years."
Response from users within the industry has been positive.
Joe Patton, business development manager for Global Crossing, called it "fantastic software.
"The Inatel product will revolutionize the agents' business and, in turn, the industry. They've done a great job of focusing on the agents' needs and the product will undoubtedly increase profitability."
Laurie Ross, an agent with Marquis Technology, said her sales have increased and her overhead decreased since she's used the technology.
"Their software has streamlined my business," she said, "and allowed my sales people to sell instead of spending hours in back office red tape."
Inatel now has a staff of 24, Mr. Taplin said, and plans to expand soon.
He said he thinks the product will quickly expand from its origins in telecommunications throughout the communications industry.