The phrase 'quality of service' (QoS) is often used but very often misunderstood. It is a hopelessly generic term and is used only because nobody has come up with a better term to group certain areas of technology together.
Performance, visibility and control, availability, redundancy, content control and its effective distribution have all been known to fit loosely under the QoS banner.
It is therefore no wonder that it is not always immediately apparent to customers that they need QoS if you are using the term as your conversation piece.
It is the responsibility of value-added resellers to point out how the jigsaw fits together to address more than one requirement. For example, high availability is as essential as security on a company website.
From a client's point of view, there is no point in having a very secure site if the back-end servers are down. It may take too long to load or crash each time a customer visits or tries to buy online.
Effective questioning is the key to succeeding in introducing these products to enterprise customers.
Resellers should first highlight the customer's requirements by ascertaining what problems they have with regard to application performance, slow networks and down-time, for example.
Then they should find out what controls the customer has in place to ensure that systems are highly available and point out the repercussions in terms of customer retention and loss of corporate reputation if they are not.
Return on investment (ROI) figures are often quite easy to provide in these areas, which can help the purchasing process enormously. For example, what if you have spent £1m on your SAP deployment but it is only getting two per cent of your wide area network bandwidth?
How much would it cost you if your e-commerce website was offline for a day? How do you protect your network from attack if your single firewall goes down?
Questions such as these should show the customer how easily they can get quantifiable ROI from QoS.
A company's online presence can make or break the business. QoS is a vital consideration when launching an online offering, and resellers should strive to demonstrate how it complements the components needed to create a secure website.
Kay Eggleston is senior business development manager at Allasso.
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