By Dave Bettinger, Chief Technology Officer, iDirect
Many service providers are making plans to capitalize on growth opportunities – adding new hubs, upgrading to faster remotes and deploying larger networks.
Yet, there’s another type of planning that service providers need to focus on as well. As the satellite market expands, the threat of commoditization looms. And it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate based on speed or price.
Instead, service providers will need to differentiate by delivering unique, meaningful, even unexpected value to their customers.
So, if you’re a service provider, what does it take to create customer value? There are three requisites.
- Highly efficient business operations. You need to move quickly and respond strategically to opportunities and challenges and operate from a position of profitability.
- Fully optimized network. Satellite capacity is a critical asset. You need to understand exactly how it’s being utilized by each individual remote across your entire deployment. Any inefficiency represents bandwidth that can be reclaimed and marketed.
- Comprehensive understanding of your customers. Nobody knows your customers better than you. With that level of intelligence, you can create a superior, very personalized customer experience.
The key in achieving this is focusing on your network management system (NMS). That’s because the NMS touches every aspect of your business. It’s where key events are managed and important decisions are made that impact profitability, growth and differentiation. It’s also the place where you get to know your customers and respond to their needs.
As our industry matures, we need the NMS to function at a higher level.
The NMS should drive productivity inside the Network Operations Center (NOC). It must be designed with tremendous flexibility so that each person who uses the NMS can customize it to their individual tasks. And it should also automate core NOC operations, such as troubleshooting. Outside the NOC, the NMS should be constantly available on any mobile device.
Workflow customization, automation and mobile access enable superior customer service and lower costs and risks.
The NMS is the window into your networks. It should provide a deep and broad view, detecting and resolving inefficiencies at the individual remote level and providing insight to how you are allocating bandwidth across every remote. With this view, you can move capacity to where it’s needed, turning every bit of bandwidth into revenue.
The NMS should also be a window into the network for your customers. They need to view real-time data and bandwidth utilization reports. And they need the ability to interact with the network through self-service features, such as ordering additional bandwidth or changing their service level.
By leveraging an open API feature, service providers can leverage the NMS to create tailored apps for their customers. Turning knowledge into service in this way delivers unique value to customers, while strengthening your competitive advantage.
And open API technology enables the NMS to connect with other business systems, such as billing and inventory, integrate with terrestrial networks and even provide inter-network roaming with other service providers.
The NMS is key to gaining greater insight across your customer base, your network and your business. With the right NMS, you can quickly adapt to change, respond to opportunity and find new ways to grow.
In our industry over the next few years, the winners are going to be those who are smart about how they distinguish their services, are hand-in-glove with their customers and operate at peak performance. More than ever, the NMS will be a difference maker.