On March 28, Allstream president Dean Prevost gave a keynote presentation to the Vancouver Board of Trade, focusing on network technology as a force for innovation. In his talk Dean explained how IP networking offers new solutions to help organizations innovate in how they do business while staying competitive in a connected world. Here in condensed form are highlights from Dean’s presentation.
4 ways IP networking delivers innovation
1. Institutionalize flexibility
We provide our customers with flexibility in their choices for using networking to strengthen their business. An example: the call centre. The old way of doing business is to offer – let’s say – 300 or 400 full-time employees an 8-hour shift with 2-hours notice, over a 3-shift per day, over a month-long cycle. Think of the cost structure built into that model. Think of the lack of flexibility.
Is there a better way? Maybe some people want to work from home? Or maybe you want some people to work at home to cut down on real estate costs? Maybe you can’t find enough employees in one community and need to hire people in a different county or country? Or maybe you need three or four smaller contact centres in different areas to meet changing business needs or avail yourself of local economic incentives.
Each of these possibilities – and the alternatives are endless – can be explored with a flexible call centre solution.
2. Integrate messiness
We have all been sold the line that we live in the “plug and play” world for everything we buy. But even the smallest of networks – like the wireless router in your home office – isn’t always simple to manage. You realize this when you spend an hour with technical support tweaking preferences you never knew you had.
Now, look at a mid-market or larger business – where you are turning on a service, maybe for thousands of users, across vast geographic distances, with varying levels of bandwidth at different facilities and different employee groups. And so on.
Try doing that on a tight deadlines. Or by pressing one button and everything’s running. It’s not that easy. Networks are, to put it in polite language, heterogeneous entities. They’re messy – very messy. The fact is: a networking service for a large or mid-size company does not usually come off the shelf. It needs to be integrated to be powerful.
3. Simplify complexity
A growing part of our business is what we call Managed Services, where we take away the uglier, complex parts the network from a customer. We give them only the services they need so that they – and their IT people – can sleep at night. Without worrying about up time, restoration, surveillance or patching. So that they can focus on what they do best: their business. The challenge gets even more complex when you consider things like cloud, a very hot topic lately. Cloud is a bit of the second coming of main frame compute models with a twist. Everything can be bought as a service, hosted remotely, in a private or public cloud – ie: the Internet. And it’s virtual because it’s available anywhere, on any device – mobile or tethered – my office or yours. And it’s paid for like a utility or “by the glass” – an arrangement including core software like ERP or CRM that is now Software as a Service or SaaS. All of which must be secured… yet still accessible. That can be quite challenging to manage? We help with that.
4. Humanize technology
Let’s not forget what is most fundamental to our success as a country and to each of us in our businesses. The more we rely on technology in our world – the more we invest in systems and networks – the more it becomes apparent to me that at the end of the day the differentiator isn’t technology. It’s relationships and how strong they are. It’s people. The more technological and networked we become, the more we need to highlight the value of the human difference. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Is your organization finding ways to reap real-life business benefits and innovations from IP networking? Feel free to share your comments and questions below.