Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Upgrade Time Frames For Provisioning Telecom Services

Ever wonder whether there are any carriers who can upgrade services within a matter of days and not the standard 3-6 weeks?

For example, let's say you're paying for a 5meg MetroE product currently .... and wanted to upgrade to 10megs. You want to know if there any carriers who could provision this in a couple days. Since this type of upgrade wouldn't require running another circuit - logically you would expect it's a matter of flipping a switch on the carriers network to turn up the additional 5megs .... which might be quick to do.

Now for the nitty gritty.

Typical ramp up time frames are ....

1. 1-5 Business days for Ethernet
2. 1-5 Business days for Fiber
3. 5-7 Business days for Copper
4. 14+ Business days for Wireless

However ...... there can be many limiting factors that will change from provider to provider that should always be taken into consideration by any I.T professional when forecasting capacity increases.

1. The Human Factor .... do they manage the provisioning division efficiently. What is their average turn around times with processing a capacity order or extra links? This is the first question you should ask any carrier.

2. Ticketing Systems ..... personally I believe at least 60% of the turn around times for latency can be attributed to the CRM setup. If the system is poorly coupled with inefficient staff, then turn around times can get very nasty and long winded. Always ask what CRM solution they are using. If it is Open Source .... quiz them on how long they have been using it. This will indicate how much time and resources have been put into getting the system functional. New setups will have a lot of problems.

3. Physical Capacity To The Premises .... there might not be enough capacity to the premises to ramp up the service. If this is the case, then a complete due diligence needs to be carried out. Sometimes this can take a carrier longer then 7 Business days. A system wide check would have to be done to check and see what recourse there is .... or what issues may come out of incorrectly provisioning the correct capacity amount.

4. Back-Haul Capabilities .... it is quite normal to see carriers run their networks at 80% capacity. However, Back-haul of data can be hard to predict for some players in the market. Especially when they are just re-selling someone elses capacity. This could potentially be a big bottle neck for you here. Don't be afraid to ask them who their back-haul provider is. But be aware when they say they have more then one. Usually there is one primary one and they are normally the cheapest (and for a reason).

5. Company Policy (yes an odd one I know) .... in some places around the world they actually have company policies that dictate turn around times on capacity upgrades. This is enforceable through a tightly run system. Even though they can log into the switch and ramp up the port, they enforce a strict policy and procedure system. I must admit you always get what you request .... and never have an incorrectly provisioned service (well none in my experience) .... but they are damn slow and can be somewhat frustrating.

However in saying the above, every country is different, and every carrier is different. Then there is also the multi-layer factor as well that will change in almost every single scenario.

The fact of the matter is, if you are not happy about your turn around times, then call your account manager in for a meeting. Sit him/her down and explain what impact the lengthy process is having on you business, and explain to him/her that it really needs to be remedied or you have to investigate all your options. Remember they are there to look after you. They are also paid to look after your interests as well as the company they represent. But at the end of the day you are paying for a service. If you are not satisfied you either protest. Then if that is still not good enough you vote with your feet (so to speak). But do it all in a nice and professional way. Don't be a jerk about things.

You can make the whole process easier .... get higher odds of an outcome you want .... and have an advocate working on your behalf .... by using the free services available through Bandwidth Solution

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