The sky is the limit when it comes to the business benefits we realize from our strategic approach to supplier diversity. Sky Communications, a black-owned systems integrator and a partner, is a testament to how building connections with small diverse suppliers makes Verizon more agile and competitive. It also helps us bring economic inclusion to diverse suppliers to share our financial success.
As we continue our month-long celebration for Black History Month, highlighting our minority suppliers illustrates how diverse cultures can make our company better. Let’s get to know one of them.
Bridging the gap, with Sky Communications.
Sky Communications is a small systems integrator that helps Verizon bridge the gap from legacy to what’s next on services such as VoIP, cloud or mobility solutions. They help us innovate solutions and solve customer issues more quickly by providing an expertise in technical areas that require special certifications and unique capabilities. But there are other benefits to our partnership. We spoke with Bill Bouie, President of Sky Communications, on why this partnership works so well.
How did you first start working with Verizon and how has that evolved over time?
“Verizon knew me previously and when I took over Sky Communications, we began working together on a Federal Government project. We have expertise working in legacy environments so Verizon looks to us when they don’t have time or the opportunity to explore other technologies, to include those solutions in the customer’s proposal. Being a small nimble company, we have flexibility and can move quickly. Typically when they bring something to us, it needs a quick turnaround, and in most cases we can complete requests in less than 48 hours.”
As a diverse supplier, how does your business bring value?
“Verizon gives us opportunities to grow our business we would never see as a small company. And we bring them unique solutions that bridge a gap. It allows Verizon to close opportunities where they don’t necessarily have a core competency but they are able to solve a customer problem. It’s a win-win for everybody.
“Another benefit that’s not as obvious is that our relationship encourages Verizon to look at other small businesses that they might not have looked to on their own. We offer insights into our network of other small businesses we work with. We can identify credible businesses we’ve partnered with that they might not have been aware of, to enter new markets and provide new solutions that aren’t necessarily core to Verizon’s business. Verizon has asked us to mentor a number of small businesses to make them aware of that. I take that role very seriously.
“As our partnership matures, in the last few years, we are now in situations where we are finding large opportunities and bringing Verizon in as a sub-contractor. It’s truly a two-way street! Customers will work with the smaller business and use their advantage and designation, backed by the large company.”
What does Black History Month mean to you?
“I am a child of the civil rights movement. We did something every year for Negro History Month as it was when it first started. I grew up in Detroit with a lot of civil rights happenings, and we would have programs at our church and school every year. I remember vividly in the sixth grade, we had Rosa Parks, a friend of my mom, and Dr. Martin Luther King as our speakers. That left an indelible mark on me about what overall social responsibility was and what we were charged with to be the very best we could be.”