Guest Blogger: Laura Pirmann, Contributing Author, Data Center POST
I recently had the opportunity to sit in on the virtual roundtable discussion “The Evolution of Pricing in The Connectivity Industry.” I heard the perspectives of Unitas Global’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Stanhope; Connected2Fiber’s Founder and CEO, Ben Edmond, INDATEL Services’ Vice President of Sales, Justin Forte; and Hargray Communications’ Director of Carrier Sales, Kiley Wynne. Each of these individuals brought a unique and interesting perspective to the conversation as they discussed the importance and evolution of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) best practices and explored where these tools are heading as the market evolves.
During the one-hour roundtable, four main themes continued to dominate the conversation, standing out as the key elements in providing frictionless connectivity services to customers.
Data was probably the number one theme that was brought up time and time again during this roundtable. Participants discussed the need for correlating multiple data sources and expanded on the importance of companies being able to collect that data, monitor and analyze it as part of making intelligent day-to-day decisions. Analyzing the information and activity coming directly from both buyers or sellers is valuable to highlight trends in the market, to understand where and how to effectively simplify designs and to ultimately help you build a better tool with real time results.
Justin Forte from INDATEL Services said it perfectly, “Listen to what the data is telling you, understand what it’s telling you and use it to build a better relationship.”
All panelists agreed automation is the game changer for pricing and quoting connectivity. There are massive amounts of data available on services, availability, pricing, and performance, a digital platform uses automated intelligence to consider and suggest the best results. Automation eliminates complexity and provides the adaptability to change and update based on data sources available and variable customer requirements.
Now more than ever, customers have changing needs for resilient services that support distributed work environments, cloud infrastructure, edge computing and more. These types of applications require flexibility in design and the ability to create ‘what if’ scenarios based on location, price, and application performance. A design and price platform needs to be user-friendly and provide the flexibility to evolve and grow as the market and technology continues to do so.
Ben Edmond from Connected2Fiber noted, “Ultimately, pricing should be looked at as a value driver, from our standpoint in the industry. Whether you’re using a low-price strategy to take share or a premium strategy to maximize your margin and position based on your product, reputation, or anything in between, you should have the flexibility in your architecture and the data to make those decisions.”
Data, automation and flexibility are all important considerations, but they all lead to this last topic – customer experience. Customer experience was both the top driver and the ultimate objective for all the panelists when it came to design, price, quote, and even ordering of connectivity services. There is no disagreement that connectivity and building customer networks is complex. Next-generation service providers are transforming the consumption of connectivity by providing the most innovative and simple to use solutions.
Mary Stanhope from Unitas Global said, “Customer experience, data to make smart decisions, flexibility in your pricing strategy are all reasons for taking that platform approach which allows us to really be able to adapt.”
Unitas offers a broad range of managed Fiber, Ethernet, and IP access and SDN solutions leveraging an interconnected fabric of hundreds of service providers and platform automation to connect to millions of business addresses. Unitas’ automated Cloud Connectivity Manager (CCM) platform enables partners to design and build the most cost-effective and reliable connectivity services between customer premise, data center facilities, and cloud infrastructure. CCM provides automated design and pricing of services to millions of commercial building addresses by completing a real-time market rate comparison with network availability assessment and providing a response of available near and on-net connectivity services. Unique intelligence recommends the optimal design for the price and performance of network services to partner points of presence or other specified locations. As a neutral provider, Unitas offers diverse routes across over 500 network providers, to a global aggregated SDN fabric that provides a level of agility and resiliency that is unique in the market.
Watch the complete virtual roundtable “The Evolution of Pricing in The Connectivity Industry” by clicking here.