Helm Partners Invests in Contact Center Advisory Services, Team

Contact center as a service has been a goldmine for the channel. But it could be so much more.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 25, 2022

4 Min Read
Business payout

Technology advisory firm Helm Partners has expanded its contact center practice to provide customers with more strategic consulting.

Pennsylvania-based Helm expanded its services for contact center advisory sand hired a new team to lead the charge.

The firm has tapped Derek Oberholtzer as vice president of contact center and advisory. It has also appointed Aaron Portz as director of contact center and advisory, and Franklin Paula as senior software developer.


Helm’s Derek Oberholtzer

Moreover, Helm will provide more to customers in the areas of inspection, design and implementation.

“We believe in a process that is feedback-based, relationship-driven, and one in which decisions are being made on facts, evidence and data,” said Paul Weiss, chief knowledge officer and managing partner. “Our job is to facilitate the discovery of all of that.”


Helm’s roots stem from both the consulting and sourcing sides of the channel. The firm formerly operated as Apella Group and focused on advisory services in the enterprise space. Apella provided expense reduction strategies as well as strategic sourcing. Seeing that the telecom and IT markets were shifting to as-a-service models, Apella turned to Expert Technology Associates for help with certain tech evaluation engagements. The partnership grew into Apella acquiring Expert Technology Associates in 2017 and rebranding as Helm Partners.

Weiss said the name “Helm” reflects the idea of a technology adviser guiding a business customer into the future. He said this consultative model differs from partners that function as mere sourcing experts.


Helm’s Paul Weiss

“Too many buying decisions are made by gathering quotes and comparing price points — surface-deep value capture. We really assess our clients’ business operations in meaningful ways, because technology doesn’t by itself solve problems, and cost is only a single measure of strategic intent and successful outcomes,” Weiss told Channel Futures. “Maximizing value capture requires solving problems, and that requires recognizing the problem and then the appropriate application of the technology to solve for it.”

Helm has expanded its “advisory towers” in recent years, moving on from traditional telephony and network services. These new towers include cybersecurity and, of course, contact center.

Contact Center Advisory

CCaaS is exploding as a source of revenue for channel partners, Weiss said Helm wanted to take its practice a step further. Namely, he said partners need to do more than simply source contact center offerings to their customers. He said they need to identify customer pain points and articulate how the technology itself connects to business outcomes.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top CCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.


Helm’s Aaron Portz

Consider a customer that operates a premises-based phone system and is struggling to hire. Their efforts to advertise open positions might be falling short because the company isn’t effectively answering calls from applicants and confirming appointments. This “leaky bucket,” which stems from technology, puts the company at a disadvantage.


Helm’s Franklin Paula

Migrating to a cloud-based contact center could help the customer conduct a more effective hiring campaign, Weiss said.

“Businesses have so many ways that they can increase engagement, personalization and efficiency in both their internal to employee and external to customer communications. They should be leveraging communication and contact center technologies in effective and creative ways to make that happen. There is so much innovation, so much possibility in the marketplace, that it just takes the right approach and support in a decision making process to realize these benefits,” Weiss said.

A good adviser – and a wise customer – understands how technology builds a company’s culture, minimizes churn and makes mangers more effective. The partner must make comprehensive analysis, Weiss said.

“Our clients can expect our analysis to be thorough and comprehensive, leaving no stone unturned to solve problems and improve outcomes in the impact areas of finance, process and technology as they relate to the contact center operation,” he said. “Helm Partners will inspect, identify and address people/culture/performance challenges, TCO and ROI improvement opportunities, and technology stack enhancements and innovations. Any process that focuses on just parts of that is leaving value on the table.”

In addition, Helm’s services expansion includes application evaluation and custom app development for contact center. It also includes customer experience stress testing and modeling.

Helm made the news in 2021 for its acquisitions of Convergent Technologies and Cory Communications. Helm’s customers include Condé Nast, Nutrisystem and Rothman Institute.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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