But the brothers don’t plan to change what they consider the key to Tele-Data’s longevity in a changing marketplace: providing fast, personal and local service to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Union-based Tele-Data serves about 2,500 businesses in New York and New Jersey, and nearly all were affected when Superstorm Sandy cut off power to the region. But Damon said Tele-Data’s cloud clients could still communicate with their customers, even though their electrical power was cut off for a week or more. That’s because the servers powering Tele-Data’s cloud service are in a remote location that wasn’t impacted by Sandy.
“After Sandy, anyone who had cloud-based services was still able to communicate with their customers and employees,” Damon said.
Company founder Michael Finaldi launched Tele-Data in 1982, just as the nation was moving toward the dismantling of the AT&T telephone monopoly that spawned a new era of competition.
A onetime AT&T salesman, Michael, 66, said most businesses back then leased their telephone equipment from AT&T. Tele-Data and other firms began selling equipment and also providing the ongoing service to maintain it.
“Our premise was you could rent it (from AT&T) and pay for it forever, or you could buy it from me and cut your costs,” he said.
But as the technology keeps changing, his sons see the future as less hardware-intensive and more service-oriented, since cloud solutions don’t require as much of a hardware investment by customers.
For example, for clients who use online marketing, “we route calls to the right people in their organization, so when a potential customer calls, the call doesn’t go the receptionist; it goes to the vice president of sales.”
When a client needs a new telecom or IT feature, “we provide training tools to help coach and train their staff.” And Tele-Data serves as their “help desk:” If a client has a problem with their telecom provider, Tele-Data deals with the issue.
And as mobility is transforming businesses, it is creating opportunities for Tele-Data.