Estech Systems, Inc.


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September 8, 2014 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Cloud and Premises-Based Unified Communications Solutions



About Estech Systems, Inc.

Estech Systems, Inc. (ESI) delivers high-performance phone systems and cloud services designed for businesses and organizations. A premier provider of cloud- and premises-based unified communications solutions, ESI offers uniquely innovative and integrated systems that enable its channel partners to deliver differentiated, intuitive, and affordable VoIP communications. Founded in 1987, ESI has sold more than 300,000 business communications systems through hundreds of certified Resellers. ESI is a privately held corporation with headquarters in Plano, Texas. For more information about ESI and its products, visit


George Platt
President & CEO


Platt has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. During his 14-year career at Intervoice, Platt gained extensive experience in reseller channel distribution and VAR development. Platt also led a team to transform the Intervoice Enterprise Strategic Business Unit from a proprietary IVR company to a company specializing in open systems and promoting a more effective customer experience. In his last position at Intervoice, Platt was Senior Vice President of Global Channels and Sales Operations. Platt has a strong background in sales management, national and international channel management, and enterprise sales and sales operations. Immediately before joining ESI, Platt served as Executive Vice President of WS iNet, a call center hosting company.


Platt joined ESI in 2011 as President/Chief Operating Officer, and was promoted in 2014 to his current position.


Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – September 8, 2014

CEOCFO: Mr. Platt, what attracted you to Estech Systems?

Mr. Platt: I was approached by a headhunter in sort of the usual process. Upon hearing about the job description, it fit my background extremely well. It was a chance to run a small to medium-sized business communications company. My first job out of college was actually selling small business phone systems to small to medium businesses, and I’ve been in the communications space ever since, so ESI fit really well with my background. From the very start, it felt like home. Eric Suder, the founder of the company, and I hit it off from the first interview. He was looking for someone to replace him and really take care of the company that he built from scratch 27 years ago.


CEOCFO: Your site indicates, “We make it easy to communicate.” How so? What is ESI?

Mr. Platt: We first approach business communication from a philosophical perspective, then apply it to real-world experience. When ESI first started selling PBX systems, our focus was just phone communication and making that a great end-user experience. The industry has since engaged in an arms race of features and functions, so now you’ll see voice, chat, email, and everything else in between. Our overall philosophy has always been to make products that are easy and intuitive to use for the end customer and our partner. We make it easy for our resellers to maintain, install and demonstrate the solution to the customer. We take unique features and make them easy to use, therefore making it easy to communicate. What we find, like many technology companies, is that many of our competitors are just layering features upon features into the products themselves. Our philosophy is about making the right features and functions that are easy and intuitive to use.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your offering today?

Mr. Platt: ESI provides high-performance phone systems designed for growing businesses. We’re a premier provider of cloud- and premise-based unified communications solutions that are integrated, affordable and easy to use. We started out as an on-premise equipment company, but have evolved into a fully cloud-based communications services company. We continue to offer on-premises solutions for customers plus SIP services that help save them money without going all the way to a cloud solution, though some companies do want to run their entire organization’s Voice over IP (VoIP) via a cloud-based communications platform. We really have the opportunity to offer the right choice to customers. It does not always mean that the cloud is a better fit than an on-premise solution. Instead, we tailor solutions through our channel partners that fit the overall needs and requirements of the end customer.


CEOCFO: Who is your typical end customer?

Mr. Platt: Our end customer is a small to medium-sized business. It could be a ten person law firm with twelve phones or an employment agency with forty offices with thirty people in each office. Our customers are typically white collar and often located in doctor’s offices, the lawyer’s offices or real estate offices. However, realistically you can find one of our systems anywhere. Interestingly enough, one time I was helping my oldest son who had parked in the wrong spot and had his car towed. I walked into the towing company and there was an ESI phone system in the towing company’s office. On another occasion, my youngest son was with his friend meeting his mom at her office. She worked in an assisted living facility, and there was an ESI phone system and access control system within that assisted living facility. These are just a few examples.


CEOCFO: What is your geographic reach?

Mr. Platt: We’re primarily in the US, but are also present in Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.


CEOCFO: Is this primarily through resellers?

Mr. Platt: We sell 100 percent through resellers. We have a great channel that we’ve built throughout our 27 years history and currently have around six hundred resellers. We have about 30 in an elite program, another 200 in our premium program and then the rest are in smaller markets that fall into our standard reseller program.


CEOCFO: Considering the competition, why an ESI system?

Mr. Platt: That’s a great question. ESI is the best kept secret in the communications industry. Over the years, we have sold over 300,000 systems and we have millions of handsets deployed. Customers purchase ESI solutions because they are simple and intuitive to use and manage. That has been our approach to communications since we started: Keep it simple. This includes enabling our reseller channel to easily demonstrate the solution to the customer to ensure they can see exactly how the phone solutions work. We have hundreds of features and functions within our communications platforms and some of them are best suited for certain industries. We find that customers gravitate towards a handful of those features and functions that will help run their business. We show them how they work in an ESI system versus how they might or might not work in another system. It becomes pretty clear that an ESI solution is far more integrated and easy to use versus our competition. Our Cloud PBX solution is sold as an all-inclusive monthly fee, including the ESI desk phone.


We also offer access control products: you’re familiar with the card key or fobbing in and out of your office. The fob or card key is used to unlock doors. We also have a presence management product in our portfolio that works with a customer premises system allowing people to see, just by glancing at their phone, who is in the office and who is out of the office based on that access control mechanism. We also offer security cameras and voice logging within our platforms. We will find a customer who has an RFP out for a phone system and their next purchase was going to be for an access control system followed by a video logging system. When they find out we can do all of those, sometimes for the same price as just buying a phone system from another vendor, then they are very excited.


CEOCFO: How do you ensure that your resellers are providing the best system without the first consideration being how much they can sell the customer?

Mr. Platt: It is a great question! In fact, it is a question that has become much more complicated recently as we have introduced more products to the channel. If we looked at the 25 years prior to us becoming a cloud solutions company, it was pretty clear. All systems were customer premise. There were differences between digital phone systems at the time and IP phone systems and hybrid phone systems. Therefore, they had to pick which of those was best for the customers and sometimes that is about cost. Our resellers became very good at tailoring the solution from the end-user perspective. As we have migrated into the cloud, it does become much more challenging. They have to really sit down with the customer and decide what is important to them. If they are speaking with a business that has offices in five or six locations and they are tired of administering different PBXs in each one of those locations, the cloud might be an ideal fit for them. The great thing that all of our partners have at their disposal is that they do not have to force their customers into customer premises or cloud. They can provide the best solution for the customer. Hopefully they get that right via the training that we provide and the consultative nature of their sales process.


CEOCFO: You became CEO in 2014. What has changed under your leadership? Do you see a change in direction or approach?

Mr. Platt: I think that from our perspective, the natural progression from an entrepreneurial founder to a new leader brings a lot of change in a company’s culture, which is also something I have focused on quite a bit. It is not one person that makes all of the decisions. We need to have strong leadership and strong employees that are able to think and make decisions on their own and allow the company to be very nimble. We have really tried to both embrace and build upon the great philosophies of ESI, which include outstanding customer service to our resellers and an easy, intuitive-to-use product. The entry into the cloud communications space is a great example of what has changed. We went from an equipment manufacturer to a cloud solutions provider. Culturally, that is a big shift. Therefore, we have brought in many experts in the space to help us really engage and take what has been great about ESI and bring that into the cloud communications space.


CEOCFO: Technology changes often. What goes into evaluating what to keep on the radar screen and what is not likely to be useful? With so much, how do you keep track of all the possibilities?

Mr. Platt: I think from a CEO perspective that is really much of my job. I spend a lot of time trying to observe the markets, read between the lines and see where these opportunities for innovation exist. When we think about our entry into the cloud industry, it was not just to be one more company in the cloud space, but to take advantage of what we saw as industry challenges and provide solutions to those challenges. We often look at how other industries are using technology and see how that might apply to the cloud communications space.

For example, I just attended a conference last week that was associated with retail location services. Location-based services are very important to businesses operating in more than one location or for those that have a work from home or anywhere environment. Unified communications products that offer presence and availability are a great asset to these types of businesses. We are now a mobile workforce, so depending upon where I am, I want my communications to be presented to me in different ways. If I am in a conference room, I may not want my phone to ring unless it is the owner of the company. When outside the office, I may want to receive a text message. So when it comes to keeping track of changes in the industry, we just really observe things that we think will make communicating easier for our end customers. What are those technologies and philosophies that we can apply to, again, going back to making it easy to communicate?


CEOCFO: What surprised you as the company has grown and developed?

Mr. Platt: Moving into a new market creates not only product changes but also culture changes. Employees of all organizations have to learn to embrace change. There are things that are wonderful about the communications industry. As you mentioned earlier, technology changes all the time. That is great from a creative thinking perspective, however, it is hard for some people to gravitate and embrace change.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us a little about how you support your resellers and why do they want to work with you?

Mr. Platt: It all starts up front in the sales department. We have a great team of inside sales people that are there to answer the phone calls and assist in any way. We also have a great group of regional sales managers who have really a tough job. They are on the road all of the time, meeting with our partners discussing business challenges and working on business plans to help our partners overcome those challenges. After the sale the support gravitates to technical support. I think something our resellers would tell you is that our tech support team is always there to help. We typically answer the phone quickly and are available when needed either remotely or on site, though as we have grown, that becomes more and more of a challenge. Our philosophy has always been that we are going to take care of our resellers and provide them the best support. If they are not successful, we are not successful, so we make sure to invest in their success.


CEOCFO: Does the end customer know the ESI name? Should they? Does it matter?

Mr. Platt: They would not know us based on our typical marketing strategy over the years. We have been a very technology- and channel-focused company. Therefore, we do not expect too many end-users to know ESI. However, we have great customer advocates that spread the word. We really count on our resellers to tell the ESI story. That is why making our products and services easy to demo, easy to install, easy to maintain and easy to use. Some things, however, are now changing now as we increase our marketing spend and visibility. Mostly, however, it is about the resellers telling our story and the end customer embracing the ESI philosophy.


CEOCFO: Why does Estech Systems standout?

Mr. Platt: There are probably thousands of options in the small business communications space, especially in the cloud space. People will work with ESI because we have products that are, again, easy and intuitive to use. It is really that simple; there are competitive products with lots of features, but most end-users do not know they exist or how to use them, rendering them useless. For the cloud, ESI has built a world class network that is robust and reliable. We have also incorporated some unique functionality into our products and services to make things easy and intuitive for the user. In the cloud space, there are very disconnected types of solutions where end-users are buying phones from one vendor and a system from another, which can cause integration issues. We bring that all together--the phone and the system--to make it a very unique and easy end-user experience. We are excited about transforming the business from a product manufacturer into a solutions provider. It is a great new world for ESI and we are really excited about the opportunities!


"We’re a premier provider of cloud- and premise-based unified communications solutions that are integrated, affordable and easy to use. Our philosophy is about making the right features and functions that are easy and intuitive to use. It is a great new world for ESI and we are really excited about the opportunities!"- George Platt


Estech Systems, Inc.

3701 E. Plano Parkway, Ste. 100

Plano, TX 75074-1819








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