Monday, April 13, 2009

Does The Current Economic Concerns Affect Your Decisions For Upgrades, Expansions, Or New Installs Of Voice/Data Networks?

Common sense would assume that current economic challenges will have an impact on the decision process businesses go through for upgrades, expansions, or new installation of voice/data networks (e.g. MPLS, PT-PT T1, DS3 bandwidth, OCx circuit, metro-ethernet).

Given obvious financial impact/cost concerns (e.g. ROI) .... how have you adjusted your process for arriving at an approved network solution (LAN or WAN)? If you haven't made any adjustment or accomodtion for economic concerns ... why?

Are you sacrifing quality, reliability, etc. for cost?

Is SLA and QoS still important?

Do you gamble on cheaper local providers or still prefer strong high quality/reliability Tier 1/2 sources?

I'm seeing a couple of very interesting effects with regards to these questions.

Example .... for every corporate organization that is putting a current project on hold, there are at least two others that are urgently reviewing their spending and kicking off projects to reduce cost. In some cases they're even expanding their networks to accomodate current and/or projected growth. So the economy isn't affecting them as negatively as might be expected (or experienced by others). Also, there are still many companies that want the quality SLA and QOS, but just do not want to pay the premium charged by "the usual suspects".

In the current climate increasing CAPEX or OPEX will be very difficult to justify unless of course there is an increase in revenue associated with the product or service.

With respect to expanding some network elements many are implementing low-cost solutions which are either cannibilization of spares .... or fundamental rethinks on some self imposed constraints such as quality & reliability. Infrastructure sharing suddenly becomes viable, and other companies have been very interested. This is something some are very keen to promote & have gained alot of value from.

Some are looking seriously in to the challenges of rolling out additional voice coverage but using low cost solutions which they would not previously have considered due to quality issues. Because the difference in cost is so significant, some providers need to seriously look at revising their self imposed KPI's to provide acceptible levels of services to their end customers .... and ensure that the bottom line is happy.

SLA's & QoS are STILL very key. QoS is inherent to the SLA's. Also, fundamentally speaking, in a down economy when investing in new bandwidth could be an issue, it's QoS which ensures the guaranteed delivery of mission critical applications. No reliable network and services can survive without QoS, more so in a constricted budget.

Certain sectors and industries have flatlined their budget, however that being said .... Data connectivity, Managed MPLS services, etc. are on contract and those contracts do expire. A competitive quote/proposal will either prompt a change or roll-over an existing scenario.

SLA's and QoS take on even more importantance and influence. Don't sell and close deals by price .... but rather quality of service, product and reliability and of course people are buying you.. Stick to cost effective and risk-free solutions that offer a realistic ROI .... and truly migrate a client/prospect to a technology they need, not one they want or can't afford.

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