For decades, telecommunications services have proven to be very stagnant. There were very few changes to technology. In fact, the greatest benefit to customers was to change carriers with the primary objective to gain an inconsequential increase in capacity and marginally reduce monthly costs. But, with these insignificant changes came the potential for service outages, duplicate billing during the transition and a considerable dedication of vital resources to implement the change. For many, these slight benefits did not warrant the negative aspects of conversion so they remained with the status quo.
Over the last five years, technological advancements have arisen, vaulting productivity, reliability, security and network capacity into a new paradigm. And, while providing the backbone to drive your business to the next level to increase overall profitability and efficiencies, this next wave of technology has also proven to decrease total cost of ownership. If this is not enough, organizations have also found themselves more flexible to adapt to the ever changing marketplace both short and long term.
What are these technological transformations?
- XaaS – Rather than dedicating CAPEX resources to develop these technologies and applications in house, the industry can now provide almost any application as a service. Email, Business Continuity, ERP, CRM, voice, etc. can be provided by industry leaders.
- SIP Trunking – Moving from traditional PRI and analog services to SIP trunking has driven monthly telecom costs by 5 to 60%, but has also proven to increase efficiencies enterprise wide while enhancing voice business continuity plans. Rather than distributing costly telecom and telephone system equipment across multiple locations, organizations have turned to call centralization combined with a host telephone system with multiple slave gateways at remote sites.
- Fiber Access Facilities – In the past, only the largest organizations have been able to benefit from these enhanced entrance facilities. As telecommunications providers continue to move from these older copper based facilities, these costs have dropped exponentially. Beyond cost, these fiber facilities also can integrate voice, data and Internet over a single connection which can further reduce costs. And, fiber facilities have proven to be more resilient and flexible than traditional access methods.
- Virtualization – For those applications and services which are still supported in house, server virtualization allows organizations to spin up servers in an hour vs. days. And, larger physical servers can support multiple drives and applications. Should a server or even a physical location become unavailable for any reason, resources can be redirected to another location in real time to decrease enterprise downtime until primary services can be re-established.
- Hosted Data Centers – Rather than designing and supporting internal data centers, organizations of all sizes are moving to hardened centers offering power, HVAC and fire suppression to a host of customers. As an increasing number of organizations continue to deliver these services, the monthly costs are also decreasing. And, local hands also reduce manpower requirements.
- Carrier Based Services – As an extension to XaaS, carriers are now getting into the business of providing services previously provided by customers on site. These carrier solutions can include full integration under a single resource and billing statement with only one telephone number to call when support is required.
- Bandwidth on Demand – Traditionally, organizations looked to either fixed or burstable bandwidth options. Fixed services deliver a consistent amount of bandwidth, but little flexibility. Burstable bandwidth provided more flexibility, but unexpected monthly cost deviations. Instead, Bandwidth on Demand (BoD) allows customers to increase and decrease bandwidth when it is needed most while understanding the impact on monthly cost. Maybe you have a nightly replication needing more bandwidth. Or, at the start of every month, you need greater bandwidth to close the books. BoD allows you to control throughput while keeping an eye on your monthly budget.
- Mobility – No longer is it acceptable to use excuses such as I was out of the office OR I have limited access to resources. Customers demand responsiveness from their vendors even when you are away from your desk. A reliable, secure connection to the office is required and solutions are available to improve the customer experience.
- IoT – The Internet of Things allows organizations the ability to track and manage resources that are out in the field. You can track delivery vehicles and report real time status to your customers. Maintenance of expensive resources can be proactively identified to minimize downtime. Orders can be placed from the field to improve delivery times and minimize tedious paperwork. The ability for you to track vital assets can be completed with marginal human intervention.
The list can really go on and on. But, it is clear that these new technologies have lifted telecom services into the next generation, not just utilizing the same old technologies with slight adaptations. Now, of course, jumping into these technology enhancements all at once is never recommended. By introducing too many variables or changes at any given time complicates implementations AND can impact the ability to trouble shoot challenges.
The Driving Factors
Knowing there are many piles on your desk all with urgent priorities, it is valuable to provide the driving factors why organizations are turning to these technology options.
- Reduced CAPEX Funds – By extending CAPEX costs to an OPEX formula, organizations are finding that they can enhance technologies, but spread the costs out over years.
- Reduced OPEX Costs – Many of these solutions will drive down monthly costs when you include all the factors. These reduced operating expenses can help fund some of the other technology enhancements and provide expedited ROI’s to overall projects.
- Reduced Maintenance Costs – Because organizations are purchasing less hardware, the maintenance costs for hardware and software can be decreased.
- Redistributed Manpower – People once dedicated to supporting hardware and software can be reassigned to driving business services.
- Improved Customer Experience – By redefining network topologies, many organizations are able to provide enhanced customer service through more reliable, secure and flexible services.
- Best of the Best – As organizations look to utilize experts in the field, they also gain expertise that can be very expensive to maintain in house. Experts can be brought in to support individual initiatives and manage change and then released once the transformation is released.
It is obvious not every organization will benefit from all of these transformations, but even small implementations can have a significant impact on your bottom line and overall productivity. The challenge is often finding the best area to start and which of the transformations will have the greatest impact. But, the industry trends are obvious. Organizations are expanding their traditional thought patterns and looking to these technological advantages to launch their business to the next level. Ignoring these trends can leave you stagnant with your competition leap frogging your capabilities and gaining market share.