February 2003 – February 2023
It’s been 20 years since Antonis Psaras and Yiannis Lagonikas decided to promote their telecom billing application. But they didn’t just stop there. They expanded their activities in other fields as well, always based on their strong points in Telecommunications and Software Development.
Common goals and a young vision that probably worked out well for them, since Microbase managed to increase in size, to multiply experience, to bring strategic partnerships, and to create a strong brand name.
Sofia Mytta from Teamworks discussed with Yiannis Lagonikas and presented in ICT Weekly the success story of Microbase.
1.Mr. Lagonikas, in 2001 you collaborated with Antonis Psaras for the promotion and support of the TelcoBase Billing system and in 2003 you jointly founded Microbase. How did this idea come about and how did it evolve over the years that followed?
First, thank you very much for your interest. It all started when Antonis, with whom we had already known each other for some years, called me one afternoon to ask me to help promote and support the telecom billing application he had developed, for as long as he would be serving his term in the army. It didn’t take long for me to agree and propose a closer collaboration, so that we could develop the product together and collaborate in new areas that would probably arise. Indeed, during the time that Antonis served his term, we managed to promote the product to 3 telecommunication companies (out of the many that existed in the early ’00s). When he completed his term, we officially founded the company, in February 2003.
Our goal was to be able to properly harness our expertise (Antonis’s in networks and telecommunications and mine in software design and development) to offer accessible products and quality services in a telecommunications market, which at the time was booming.
Trying to find our way, we also moved into other fields, such as telecommunications and software consulting, custom software development for clients, and even the trade of Servers and High-End systems.
All this soon led us to deal with VoIP telephony (which at the time was still in its infancy, commercially and technically), and recognizing the importance of this technology, we built the first version of our contact center solution, Microbase CTI (which formed the basis of Exelysis Contact Center, Microbase’s core product today).
As market conditions changed, and telcos began to merge into larger structures, commercial interest in billing applications waned, but VoIP technology and the need for CTI continued to gain ground. Already at the beginning of the financial crisis we had significant call centers and VoIP call center installations in our portfolio. Examples are PizzaFan (which has trusted us since our start in the Contact Center field in 2007 until today), OnTelecoms, Online Sales, important clients in the insurance and investment fields. At the same time, other critical facilities allowed us to grow our company during the difficult years of the crisis, and despite the difficult times and adversities, to become today a company that supports important telecommunications projects, such as the telephone infrastructure of ELTA, the Technical University of Crete, Call Centers and telephone infrastructures of large delivery companies in Greece, as well as important Call Centers of financial organizations in the Balkans.
2. Today, and after 20 years of operation, what business moves do you think characterized the company and established it as a pioneer in the provisioning of Integrated Communication Solutions?
On a technological level, our commitment to VoIP technology, and the – ultimately justified – belief that VoIP will be the dominant form of telephony after the mid ‘10s, was what placed us early in a market where experience and deep subject knowledge gave the comparative advantage.
Looking back, our main driving force has always been confidence in our product, which has allowed us to move into larger installations, increasing our experience and adding credits to our brand. I would characterize as pivotal, our collaborations with PizzaFan (as the initial kick of the VoIP – Contact Center combination), the strategic collaboration with Vodafone for the provision of Cloud Call Center services to Vodafone OneNet customers, the design, installation and operation of ELTA in terms of the size and the decentralized operation, our collaboration with Relational, which opened important doors for us abroad and especially in the banking sector, a particularly demanding and sensitive area.
An important moment for Microbase was the development of the ePhone ecosystem, the first platform for telecommunication services in the Cloud. The ePhone then led the way for telephony services over public networks and continues to lead the way in expanding these with services such as Cloud Contact Center as a Platform and as a Service, Cloud Voice Portals with Natural Language Understanding and other advanced telecommunication services.
3. What is the most important axis of development and efficient operation of Microbase and what is its comparative advantage against the competitors in the sector?
Undoubtedly, the most important factor in the development of a service company is the quality of the work of the people and partners who work with it. Our central strategic pursuit has always been the well-being of our colleagues, so that they feel that they are working in a welcoming environment and can perform their work without psychological wear and tear. I believe that this philosophy reflects directly on the quality of the services provided, which is ultimately the main comparative advantage of the company.
In the product / technology sector, the main solutions we offer are developed by us, while the Cloud services are provided through Private Cloud infrastructures in Greece, allowing us to fully control the quality of our products and services provided. At the same time, it allows us to easily adapt our solutions to customer needs, while offering security and regulatory compliance at all levels.
Combined with a commitment to direct customer technical support, our deep knowledge and experience help us deal with problems that arise in our customers’ production environment as quickly as possible, resulting in rapid recovery and resolution.
For us, the relationship of trust with the customer is of great importance, obviously also due to the nature of the object, and I think that the result that is the long-term adherence of our customers to our solutions, justifies us.
4. Why should any customer, whether in the public or private sector, choose Microbase solutions for their telecommunications operations and needs?
I think, based on what has been said so far, the answer is clear: because Microbase provides products and services with deep knowledge, adapts them to the needs and peculiarities of customers, has the right people to be able to support the adaptation and their uninterrupted operation as well as the infrastructures in Greece for the quality provision of services in SaaS and PaaS models. We do not represent products, our product is “us”.
5. You have stated that your goal is to create the largest Cloud telecommunication ecosystem in Greece and for Microbase to lead this disruptive change in the field of telecommunications. Where is this project headed? Are there any partnerships that bring Microbase closer to this goal?
Starting in 2003 to experiment with Cloud telephony, we saw that the future of telecommunications would move there, a belief that led to our decision to invest strategically in this direction.
Microbase was the first company to offer numbering and VoIP services via Public Cloud, the first to interconnect and test the new NGN interconnection network for Telecom Providers, the first to provide Virtual and Cloud PBX services on private infrastructures, the first to provide interconnection services with Collaboration Platforms such as Microsoft Teams, the only one to date that provides Contact Center as a Service and as a Platform in Greece on Greek privately owned infrastructures, the only one to date that provides NLU Services supporting the Greek language as a service in the Cloud.
Our Cloud services have been trusted by many large organizations in Greece and abroad, while at the same time we also aim to modernize the Public Administration by transferring their telecommunication needs to our Cloud infrastructures.
Our road map for 2023 foresees new services in the Cloud with the aim of integrating more private and public sector organizations into our infrastructures. Our goal is to further expand our collaborations with domestic Telecom Providers, offering a carrier neutral environment for easy transition of organizations to the Cloud, with respect on the telecommunications market, in a spirit of cooperation and not competition with other Telecom Providers.
In my view, Microbase has always led the way in the evolution of Cloud Telecommunication Services and the necessary transformation of the traditional telecommunications and will continue to do so.