Your wires-only service issues
OK – so you are an ISP selling wires-only services. Or as a partner you buy wires-only connectivity from an ISP to serve your own base of business customers. Either side of this relationship, the support phone rings. There is an outage, to the business end user this is critical. Reputations are at stake, emotions are high.
The ISP didn’t know there was an issue. But they do now – because the partner is “very keen” to get support! To the partner – the connectivity service they sell to this end user is one tenth of the total invoice. There is a lot of revenue at stake here.
But the ISP doesn’t know there is an issue because their own systems are all fine. They don’t have a demarcation point at the end of the circuit. Because the partner didn’t need a router. They did need a lower cost price for the circuit though…
So the diagnostics process gets slowed down, with one critical partner joining in after the fact and needing time to get up to speed.
Is Wires only – business or technical term?
OK – so yes – of course it is a technical term. One party has supplied some connectivity and there isn’t a demarcation end point that they have visibility of. The ISP is not “managing” an end point. Certainly not an IP endpoint. This service management is the partners responsibility and in return they get a lower price point.
The service level agreement reflects this arrangement. On paper. In practice – the partner is as demanding during the diagnostics stage of an outage as if the service was fully managed.
The problem with wires-only
Problems arise here when the operational relationship between ISP and partner is not set up for success. ISP wires-only services make a lot of sense. When it works it makes a lot of sense all round and is a well proven commercial model. But it does often increase the time to diagnose a connectivity problem.
Wires only can cause delays thus longer outages. But these days- the end user demands better service levels (cloud services etc). What’s required to make a success of this partner/provider relationship going forward? We think that better information sharing would help.. An automated flow of real-time diagnostic information that gets, and keeps, both cooperating parties on the same page. Thus building an operational partnership that supports the commercial arrangements.
(Operational) partnerships are key, for the long-term.
Pricing, forecasting, provisioning, delivery, marketing, invoicing – credit limits! These are the common foundation elements of the provider/partner model. In these partnerships the commercial model is the immediate focus and often works very well.
Operationally it can be a different matter. There is an exchange of procedures – for raising issues or contacting support. There is perhaps an API that allows the provider to export status information in real-time. But not much more. Until that customer support issue. Or many such issues. These experiences create a real partnership between operational support teams.
A different approach to the ISP/partner relationship
The relationship between the operational teams completely underpins – and can undermine – even the most successful commercial partnership. When the customer requires support – these folks have to work very closely under the pressure of time and expectation..
We believe that there are big gains to be had from investing in the relationship between the operational teams in the provider/partner business model. Firstly – why does diagnostic information generally flow only one way? In a wires only situation – the delivery partner clearly has a better picture of the customer situation.
- The expected state of the network (has the customer switched off for the night?
- Customer side diagnostic information
The provider has a better understanding of the wider context.
- Current state of their network
- State of upstream supplier interconnects
- Status of other customers
What makes sense is for both parties to agree the context of each other’s part in the overall service delivery, to agree the information they have that can evidence this service delivery. Then share the output of operational systems like network management platforms, client device managers, provisioning and AAA systems etc.
Build the diagnostic context, and then automate the shared availability of information. Paint the real-time picture of the service status across the customer estate and across organisational boundaries.
Build better partnerships with functional information flows
We work to create the ability to share diagnostic information, in real time, between partners and their providers. To allow the shared context – so that diagnostic information is understood and mutually available. To increase trust between all parties.
Combine operational information, put it into context – speed up diagnostics and provide a clear, real -time information flow between provider, partner and end customer.
Get in touch with us to discuss your partner/provider operational service models for wires-only services. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org