The toughest business decision is how to ‘make a choice with no regrets’. From IT to financial planning, it’s a mantra that applies to every aspect of management, whether choosing technology suppliers, hiring staff or creating a fresh go-to-market strategy.
The above is particularly true when addressing the technological backbone of the enterprise, your global network. A business cannot remain competitive if its network is underperforming and if the decision is made to reverse a network choice, it becomes extremely costly. Choosing the right kind of network is undeniably a choice that cannot endure regrets.
There are many minefields to cross when choosing a network. Avoiding inadequate technology or ensuring a misalignment of provider and end user cultures does not occur are two common challenges. If a clash of management occurs between provider and enterprise, this can potentially have a negative impact on overall business performance and harm your return on investment.
Therefore, it is important to engage with the right kind of network provider. It should be one that offers:
- Global connectivity with real-time control
- High performance and scalability
- A world-class customer experience
Any forward-thinking business will demand all three of these from their network provider. Each characteristic is not optional. For instance, there is little value in having a responsive remote networking team looking after your investment if the technology itself regularly fails. Likewise, having end-to-end connectivity with a disinterested customer service team at the helm is equally damaging, especially if something were to go awry.
So, where to start? Even if operations are currently limited to a single country, overlooking the importance of global connectivity is a good example of short sightedness and poor business forecasting.
Ensuring connectivity to partners, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders is imperative, especially if we consider the upward trend of the video-enabled enterprise. If you wish to realise the benefits of unified communications (UC) and cloud services, there needs to be a path to enablement.
The network should empower the business, not complicate it. Without the ability to intelligently scale bandwidth and capacity organisation-wide, UC-related bottlenecks can occur and service to critical applications could be impacted. The subsequent knock on effect to revenue and staff productivity can be detrimental in the short term, and even further into the future.
In essence, this links to the need for a high performance network – one that can efficiently meet the demands of the modern enterprise. It needs to be secure, but easily manageable. Bring-Your-Own-Device policies and application security are two of the most pressing issues facing the enterprise at the moment, and having a network that can support them without any impact to other services, whether it be video, immersive TelePresence, Internet telephony or managed services, is a huge competitive advantage.
This flexibility may seem like a substantial investment, but the long-term productivity and cost advantages make it worthwhile. If a lack of delivery on pre-implementation promises is a concern, look for a provider that prides itself on its technological qualities through extremely strong service level agreements (SLAs).
Working As A Team For The Future
You can be sure that if a provider has SLAs with strong financial penalty clauses, it will work tirelessly to guarantee its customers are happy. Alongside accountability, look at a carrier with passionate staff, especially in the support department. A diligent support team will work to prevent complications not because they are contracted to, but because they want to.
Essentially, the network provider should go beyond expectations to ensure an exceptional customer experience. It is a quality often lacking in many providers, so it should be high on the list of priorities when an enterprise is migrating to a new network.
If the provider and enterprise work closely together to outline service expectations, it will streamline the implementation and provide business improvement faster. Any other approach will lead to confusion and have the opposite effect, leading to costly infrastructure alterations and a poor working relationship. Remember, pick correctly the first time to avoid harbouring any network regrets.