Over the last few years service providers (SPs) have been forced to reduce costs and focus on core markets and skills due to the price-sensitive nature of the market. This consolidation process has resulted in cost efficient and focused SPs delivering limited services and applications. However, customers are once again starting to recognise that technology can enhance their productivity and provide a true business advantage. As a result, SPs are under increasing pressure to deliver value-added services and solutions that will allow them to increase customer revenue through multiple services. This in turn will lead to enhanced customer experience and improved customer retention.
SPs used to operate within specific market segments delivering particular services. However, the trend is moving towards businesses adopting a single SP for all their communications and network requirements. This means SPs need to increase their service offerings to deliver complete customer solutions that step beyond traditional service boundaries. SPs that do not react to this evolving market will find their customer base under increasing pressure, with market share and revenue declining.
Integrators and resellers can play an important role in this process as they have the experience that SPs lack – offering integrated solutions to their customers. They can help SPs to differentiate their services through integration of value-added applications and services such as fixed and mobile voice services, mobile data (via GPRS, 3G and Wi-Fi) and fixed data access through DSL. Internal product and strategy development takes time and requires resource. SPs can take advantage of the fact that many integrators and resellers have already developed and sold these integrated services across various market sectors.
In a joint approach, integrators, resellers and SPs will be able to provide integrated communications and application services from multiple platforms as a single solution with a single bill to the customer. SPs will move into non-core products and services to create service packages, without the risks associated with development, which will help differentiate them from their competitors. Integrators and resellers can help them to ensure these solutions answer their target markets’ issues and are straightforward to deploy and repeat. By taking this approach, and by blending their skills and services, both SPs and resellers can create real differentiation and value for their customers.
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