IT service companies and telecomunications companies are always competing for the attention of business decision makers, but have never quite figured out how to collaborate well together to make sure the client is getting the most value from the technology solution they need. In this series of blogs I hope to enlighten you on how best to use telecomunication experts available to you today.
In the 10 years I’ve been in the telecomunications industry working for companies like Sprint, Electric Lightwave and MCI it has never been good enough to be able to talk about technology solutions, you need to be able to understand the practical applications and why a customer find value in a new upcoming technology or enhanced capability of a service being offered. The question, “how will this product/solution make the customer more money, or improve efficiency” needs to be answered. This is never truer today. IT infrastructure management and telecomunications have become incredibly intermingled. In the past they were considered specializations and run by two separate companies usually.
There is such a broad range of technologies, from VoIP to more traditional services like TDM based products. Educating clients on the spectrum of telecomunications options has become so large often times IT service companies are not able to keep up or hire specialized resources in this area. Fortunately, there are resources.
IT and Telecom are converging. Clients are asking us to do more to service their overall IT/Telecom needs without having to deal with two companies. Depending on the size of a customer or scope of project, they often prefer a single carrier solution from the telecom provider, and only want to work with one person to develop their overall IT/Telecom strategy. We need to be using tools and strategies together to address the future needs of our clients.
The following services are now available to IT service companies and IT departments.
- Vendor-neutral telecomunications consulting
- Telecomunication assessments and audits
- Telecomunication solution research and selection
- Project management with a focus on IT collaboration
- Ongoing telecomunications budget monitoring
As an IT service company you may not have known your options. Here are three different approaches IT professionals can use to address their clients’ telecom needs.
- Inform your client you don’t offer those services (not recommended if you want to be considered as the technology advisor to your client)
- Refer the business to a trusted source, then let them handle it (not recommended if you want to be in tune to your clients’ technology needs and keep up with technology development outside your niche)
- Take care of the customers need through a trusted partnership/agency relationship (this is the best option because you stay tightly linked to all your clients’ technology needs and you develop a tighter relationship with a telecom resource who can give your client options)
It is a tough, but necessary decision you should make as the IT advisors to your clients. If you encourage your client to engage someone else it can open your account to competition. Referring business away could mean leaving money on the table in exchange for the reduced risk of not having to deal with the telecom needs. To fulfill the need means going into (for some) uncharted waters.
If you are an IT service company thinking about your clients’ telecomunications needs or if you are considering attempting to find a telecomunications resource, look for one that has access to information about solutions from several national and global carriers for a variety of products or services so you can leverage their expertise to get the best value for your clients. These companies are most often willing to work with you to do the right thing for the client. Speaking of right thing for the client – tune in for my next blog when I discuss VoIP technology on the bleeding edge.
I would enjoy hearing from IT service companies about their experiences working with telecom resources, both good and bad. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn if you would like to learn more about a telecom partner resource.