The Ever Changing Landscape of Telecom Industry

In today’s communications climate, telecom companies face a unique set of challenges that stem from technology trends and customer demands. Dealing with copious amounts of data while trying to provide innovative products and services that will help retain customers and increase revenue. The service providers are shifting to a new business model, the managed services model.

The world of telecommunications has become very complicated, with dozens of national and regional carriers as well as dynamic and ever changing technological options. How are you choosing the right carrier for your business?

As a Managed Service provider End to End has been dealing with Carriers, ISPs and Hosting Providers for twenty years. We have seen firsthand the challenges that organizations face when dealing with these large engines.
Contracts can take months to sign and once signed the telco sales team is out and in with operations. Usually a whole new set of people you have never dealt with before. People that have little knowledge of what you really asked for, people that follow orders from a piece of paper that was created by another completely separate department. This is no different than the big box store where the name of the game is volume. Less employees handling more product and dealing with more customers to keep prices down. Nothing wrong with that, keeping prices down is how you attract more customers.

Let me shift gears.

Aggregator is a term used in the industry that describes an organization that takes in Wholesale Carrier Services from multiple Carriers or ISP’s and aggregates them into one Network. These aggregators are generally smaller than the large Carriers and ISPs and as a result can usually provide a more customized experience.

Our emphasis has always been on the Managed Service Provider (MSP) role first and everything else, like hardware, second. This focus has enabled us to keep up to date with all of the leading MSP Processes and allowed us to develop unique tools that are truly leading edge in the industry.

The large Carriers and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have always believed that they are in the “service” business, as the name suggests. Look deeper, though, and you’ll see that the infrastructure investment for the providers has typically been focused on circuits, connection and transport, on bits (Speeds and Feeds). It’s logical, but in today’s changing ecosystem the traditional notion of bits, as the network’s optimum product, is now becoming obsolete.

In the old days (not that long ago) Carriers always included Management, but their level of responsibility was to their demark* and no further.. More recently however the carriers have started to view the network as a platform for applications and not just something that pushes bits from place to place. All these changes are forcing the Carriers to rethink their business model and enter into the real MSP Market to strengthen their competitive position. Aggregators have also seen the value of providing Managed Services to their clients and have started the transition down that path. Circuits First, Managed Services Second.

The challenge that the Aggregators and major ISPs, face is the same. How do you provide managed services that go beyond the demark you have traditionally provided? What if the customer wants you to manage a large switching infrastructure behind the demark, or the Firewall connected to the Internet pipe they have provided. How about the new VoIP Phone system, the phones, wireless with Guest Access, BYOD, and so on? How do you address this ongoing demand for quality to provide full operations support of those services and meet each customer’s quality expectations? The challenge is a daunting one.

For End to End however the challenge to go in the other direction is not so daunting. We have been dealing with the Carriers and ISPs for a long time, so we understand how they operate, and we have been providing managed services since 1993. Moving into the circuit business is not something we have taken lightly. It has taken us a long time to get our Managed Services organization to a point where we are comfortable introducing the circuit component. The opportunity has always been there, it was just a matter of focus.

In fact, what is exciting, is that our Managed Service organization (the NSC – National Support Centre), will not have any additional tasks added to their responsibilities. To the NSC its business as usual. End to End, like all aggregators, is still required to interface with their upstream providers when the circuit goes down.

Aiming to increase the service value and meet the customer’s quality expectations, a Core services group has been created to manage the Provisioning and Support of the circuit business. This group’s responsibility is not only to maintain the circuits but to help integrate these new services with some of our own. This is where the flexibility of an aggregator comes in. For example, our existing Hosted SSL VPN Service offering fits nicely into the circuit business offering, requiring very little change in the way our service is delivered.

We are very excited about this new edge to our business. It falls in line with our Managed Services initiatives and can only help to make us even better at providing a superior customer service experience.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_point

In telephony, the demarcation point is the point at which the public switched telephone network ends and connects with the customer’s on-premises wiring. It is the dividing line which determines who is responsible for installation and maintenance of wiring and equipment — customer/subscriber, or telephone company/provider. The demarcation point varies between countries and has changed over time.
Demarcation point is sometimes abbreviated as demarc, DMARC, or similar. The term MPOE (minimum or main point of entry) is synonymous, with the added implication that it occurs as soon as possible upon entering the customer premises. A network interface device often serves as the demarcation point. 

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