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Business leaders and CEOs know that a “business as usual” approach often brings only the usual results, especially in a difficult economy. Service providers are also quickly discovering that “business as usual” is the wrong attitude, especially regarding their business customers. Service providers need to adopt a “business as unusual” approach, because the old way of doing business won’t get the job done.
With many new services being provided to businesses over the cloud, the variety of services is growing rapidly, increasing the dependency of businesses on their service providers. Businesses in different industries require different solutions, services and support levels. Business services implementation times are lengthy and constantly changing requirements are a fact – so for service providers, flexibility and robust processes are key.
Effectively serving small, medium and enterprise-sized businesses requires innovative mass customization and service factory strategies, investments and new ways of doing business. It is vital that service providers provide fast, versatile and error-free delivery of services, reduce order completion times and decrease the risk of service failures and service level agreement violations.
Maybe “business as usual” is OK
No, it’s not – at least not for service providers and their business customers.
In many cases, business customers are not entirely satisfied with how they are currently being serviced. Key gaps continue to exist between customers’ expectations and the actual services they are receiving. For instance, a December 2011 Frost and Sullivan survey conducted for Amdocs indicated that 30% of enterprise customers believed order fallout was experienced “fairly often,” “very often” or “always.” Service providers, meanwhile, believed only 5% of orders fall out. More troubling, the survey found that only 45% of service providers have automated systems to keep track of order fallout, typically as part of overall contractual obligations.
The survey also found that many enterprise customers remain highly dissatisfied with issues regarding customer service, recurring order problems and lack of service quality – all major reasons for them to switch to a different service provider.
For service providers to be successful in the SMB and enterprise market, they must provide an excellent customer experience and deliver tailored services quickly, efficiently and more cost-effectively.
It’s none of your business
But why should service providers care about the enterprise market? Isn’t residential enough?
As detailed in Amdocs’ latest white paper, Meeting the Communication Needs of SMBs and Large Businesses, service providers are increasingly recognizing the importance of the growing business customer segments to their long term success. The business market already represents 33% of service provider revenues and is expected to grow substantially. Service providers must be able to create and deliver new services quickly and easily in order to increase their appeal to SMBs and large enterprise businesses, so they can capture a large share of the important business market. Business as usual simply won’t cut it.
An “everything, everywhere” approach to business and cloud applications used by small, medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, are driving a growing need for improved connectivity, communications functionality and robustness. Customers in health care, education, government, financial services and other verticals want secure, fast, reliable, error-free services tailored to their particular needs, combined with top-notch customer support. However, a few key differences exist between the needs of these two classes of businesses.
Make it work – SMBs
SMBs want service providers to handle all of their security, communications and IT needs – and make it work. Unlike large enterprises with internal IT capabilities, many SMBs (law firms for example) lack an IT department, so IT computing and storage solutions are also frequently needed. In addition, many SMBs want an external IT communications expert to help augment resources and talent, strengthen business continuity, improve performance and availability, and help support business initiatives. Finally, self-care capabilities for manipulating business services are increasingly important to this sector.
It’s all about customization – large enterprises
Large enterprise organizations are typically multi-site and require more multi-point network services (such as VPNs) than SMBs. As these organizations grow, the complexity of their network services grows as well. Large businesses require services tailored to their specific needs, with the ability to customize for different sites, classes of users and organizational hierarchies.
Large enterprises (like SMBs) need communications services, such as unified communication and collaboration (UC&C), hosted business VoIP, Internet connectivity and the security solutions that surround that connectivity. To remain competitive and increase revenue, service providers must be fully versed in how large enterprises do business. This will help them provide customized services.
A new enterprise solution
Service providers need to cater to different types of business customers, which means they need tailored, specific solutions. New enterprise solutions have emerged to enable service providers to grow revenue, provide an excellent customer experience, decrease time-to-market for new offerings, reduce costs and manage SLA expectations. These solutions, tailored to the unique needs of SMBs and enterprise customers, provide an agile framework for faster time-to-market for new services. They also provide a flexible, mass customization approach for real-time service fulfillment, including monitoring and management of the processes.
An ideal enterprise solution:
–Integrates ordering and fulfillment processes to reduce both time-to-market and delivery lead times for services implementation.
–Enables the business customer to mix-and-match services across multiple sites and hierarchies.
–Allows the service provider to create special service bundles with little or no additional effort.
Service providers today realize a different approach is needed to effectively win, fulfill, differentiate and support small and medium-sized businesses and enterprise customers. They increasingly recognize the business customers’ need for speed, reliability and flexibility of secure services, as well as a solution uniquely tailored to specific customer needs. “Business as usual” simply won’t be enough.
Customer service issues must also be addressed. By utilizing an approach that provides fast, efficient and transparent delivery of customized network and subscription services to a wide variety of businesses, service providers can gain a competitive advantage and succeed in this important market.