Aug 8, 2012 Food for thought
It should be music to the channel’s ears that connectivity is becoming more critical to all businesses now and that the people running those businesses realise this. Rather than getting tied into something that limits their options for two years or more, they are looking for services that can genuinely meet their needs. Every customer, every set of requirements is unique. By their definition, CUSTOMers have CUSTOMised requirements – if you can offer a service that is tailored to those exact needs, you’ll likely win their business.
In today’s market we’re finding that resellers are recognising ever-greater opportunity in providing combined connectivity solutions that solve sometimes complex problems, often related to making information systems accessible to employees across disparate locations, guaranteeing business continuity, driving efficiency and many other reasons. To enable this to happen, virtually the same products are widely available to resell from many suppliers – copper and fibre broadband, EFM, leased lines, VoIP, SIP trunks; the list is extensive.
That doesn’t mean though it’s a level playing field when it comes to identifying, working with and relying on the right supplier. There are some interesting differentiating factors between the main ones and what people often perceive to be the first choice in suppliers isn’t necessarily the right one.
As a solutions provider there are several significant criteria you should consider if you’re going to be in a position to deliver what your customers want and expect. It’s important to work with a supplier that has a clear strategy around using an infrastructure that affords it the ability to be flexible to meet specific needs. From Entanet’s perspective this meant a strategy that allowed us to provide true wholesale services as well as ‘ready-made’ connectivity packages and being able to respond rapidly to partners’ need to serve solutions to customers. There’s also the significance of geographic coverage. When we built out Entanet’s MPLS network to every one of the key aggregation points that form BT’s 21st Century Network, we did so because it also meant our close proximity to partners’ customers meant they could provide very competitive solutions. Network capacity, scalability and resilience are also critical factors as customers’ bandwidth requirements expand and foreseen and unforeseen events potentially put pressure on bandwidth availability. Our own strategy reflects this. There are additional attributes that differentiate suppliers to a greater or lesser degree too, such as the platforms they’ve adopted to provide broadband; their network’s state of compatibility with IPv6 as the availability of IPv4 addresses diminishes; the scope of Ethernet services they can provide; their attitude to supporting the channel with marketing materials; and their approach to providing Quality of Service so that critical voice and data packets can take priority.
Making good business out of connectivity then can be straightforward, IF you ask customers the right questions, equip yourself with the right products and work with the right supplier. If you’ve not already done so, make sure you get a thorough understanding of the products available and raise important questions with potential suppliers.
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