Simplifying Design, Price, and Order with Platform Intelligence

One of the interesting outcomes of 2020 has been the rapid adoption of early adopter tools and technology. Platforms for day-to day tasks and to automate work that was touted as “the future” have leapt forward and become the present. Leveraging the latest technologies helps businesses achieve greater success, drive innovation, and gain competitive advantage. Companies in all industries are adopting digital business platforms to automate and streamline processes. Managed service providers (MSP) are no exception. If MSP want to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change today, they must work to increase efficiency with technology wherever possible. Before her panel, The Evolution of Pricing in the Connectivity Industry on July 22nd at 2pm EST. We caught up with Mary Stanhope, CMO of Unitas Global, to talk about how platforms and automation are evolving, and what tools are being used in the managed services and connectivity industry. Her insights on the topic are below.

Unitas Global Blog: Why does digital transformation matter?

Mary Stanhope: Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. Improving customer experience has become a crucial goal – and thus a crucial part of digital transformation.

Consider what is needed for a MSP to obtain and process the data required to design, price and configure effective solutions to perfectly match the complex requirements, pains and needs specified by a customer. Salespeople need to know what buyers needs are before anything else can happen. The modern customer experience may well have modified what this information exchange looks like, but the question is still “Tell me about what you want.” Prospects come to the table with varying levels of knowledge about their needs and product requirements.

Think of connectivity with over 2,000 local access providers, each with a portfolio of different services, with variable configurations and pricing options, there’s a high level of complexity. At Unitas we always design from the perspective of the enterprise. Where are they located? Where is their data located and what applications are they using? What data is moving between locations? What critical data is moving where? Leveraging our Cloud Connectivity Manager platform, unique intelligence recommends the optimal design for price and performance of connectivity to branch offices, headquarters, data centers and Cloud services in real time.

Digital platform makes it simple.

Unitas Global Blog: The word “platform” gets used a lot. How are you referring to it here?

Mary Stanhope: A digital ecosystem platform starts with a consumer need for a service, such as lodgings away from home (Airbnb) or network connectivity. The concept of a platform is how you take multiple data points and information and use intelligence to correlate it and come up with recommendations. These platforms provide a space that matches supply with demand—for example, vehicle drivers with ride seekers. Platforms have become an essential part of the digitally transformed business landscape. At Unitas, our access connectivity platform looks at the whole lifecycle of connectivity. It starts with understanding all of the connectivity options that are available by looking at over 550 providers with services from Ethernet to IP to even wireless. It then proposes best service options based on what a client is looking for, be that performance, lowest cost, or specific points of presence to interconnect. One of the benefits of a platform means being able to present options in a short amount of time. Now we’re talking minutes and hours is all it takes for our platform to price thousands of locations globally versus the weeks and months this process traditionally takes. It truly enables decision making.

While it starts with pricing, design, and ordering, the platform is very much about the full lifecycle of connectivity. It provides one customer experience from design, to order, to service delivery, through test and turnup, and ongoing management. Having a platform to manage and aggregate information to inform decisions is a value to designing a network that connects all the destinations, all the data, all the people in a way that’s optimal for that company.

Unitas Global Blog: You are participating in a virtual roundtable this week with Connected2Fiber, Indatel Service, and Hargray Communications where you’ll be discussing the importance of configure, price, quote (CPQ). What point of view are you bringing to that panel?

Mary Stanhope: Interestingly, digital transformation is often more about shedding outdated processes and legacy technology than it is about adopting new technology. CPQ has always been a cornerstone in customer experience. Now it is the starting point of the digital transaction. The customer’s needs, the product information, and the requirements for filling the customer’s order are all captured and digitally processed to ensure the solution is properly configured, delivered, and invoiced.

With a growing amount of connectivity option available to customers, digital platforms serve to streamline how the market designs, prices and orders services. There is value in relying on technology to filter through options to propose those that best meet needs for intelligent decision making.

We have a great group with different perspectives on the panel, well worth listening in on. Register for The Evolution of Pricing in the Connectivity Industry on July 22nd at 2pm EST. Register here.

By utilizing automated optimization algorithms, Unitas CCM automates the pricing, provisioning, and management of connectivity across an interconnected network fabric. Our platform provides the design ability to search millions of commercial buildings addresses and provide real-time response of available near and on-net network services. Unique intelligence recommends the optimal design for price and performance of connectivity to branch offices, headquarters, data centers and Cloud services. Watch this video to see how CCM simplifies the pricing, design, and ordering of end-to-end connectivity.