The Importance of Customer Success for Enterprise Networking
Your organisation’s network is more critical to your current and future success than it ever has been. It is the foundation that shapes virtually every aspect of corporate life, but also controls your future capabilities. Your network is what empowers workplace productivity, regardless of where the ‘workplace’ may be. It ensures that security and compliance standards are maintained in the face of evolving cyber threats and it enables the simultaneous interaction with customers, partners, and employees across multiple media channels and locations.
Your network can do more now than was thought possible only a decade ago. And it’s likely that it will be able to do more for you in the future than you can even conceive today. This has been driven by a fundamental shift in deployment and consumption models.
Until relatively recently, network upgrades or refreshes tended to be hardware centric but this generated several challenges. Firstly, IT refresh cycles did not coincide with innovation cycles. This often meant that an investment that was made ‘the wrong side’ of a pivotal change in technology, would have to remain in operation for a long time (often 5-7 years), with others able to leverage a competitive advantage (because they invested ‘the right side’ of the change). Secondly, upgrades were often forced because existing equipment was going to become (or already was) unsupported by the IT vendor. Technology providers needed a commercial model that would continue to generate revenue, so were encouraged to release new solutions, whilst retiring legacy ones. And finally, IT resellers, who were often responsible for the implementation and support of these solutions, struggled to create ‘differentiated value’ for their customers. All of which often led to a ‘race to the bottom’, where the lowest price reveals a lack of value and little ROI.
Traditional IT support was a predominantly break/fix relationship, including manufacturers warranties, and support level agreements that stipulated uptime and response times. Extracting value from the solution that had been purchased was typically the responsibility of the purchasing entity. Business cases were generated based on known features, and the expected returns that they would generate. An Invitation to Tender (ITT) or a Request for Proposal (RFP) was created to select technology that aligned with the specific needs of that organisation. Suppliers would then make their selection according to their compliance requirements, experience, and ability to fit within budget constraints. An up-front investment would typically ensure ‘ownership’ of the solution by the Customer, with incremental support charged on an annual basis. The whole process would then be repeated according to whatever refresh cycle was deemed necessary by the customer or that was forced by the vendor.