Providing 'Business Class' Service to All Global Companies
Whether your company is part of the Global 2000 or aspiring to be, your network is key to your success. So can global customers that are not part of the world's largest companies (e.g. Fortune 100) get the level of network service they deserve, or must they lower their expectations? That is the question that analyst firm Ovum poses, and answers, in its recent white paper, Business-Class Service for the Global Customer.
The dilemma global customers often face is that unless they are truly in the top tier of companies, they typically have to do without the highest level of attention and account management from their service provider. Most providers - Sprint being an exception - reserve their best support for a select, few, huge customers, even though it is the smaller globals who have the same requirements as the larger customers.
Ovum addressed this issue in its white paper, and its conclusion is that there are service providers who focus on providing a premium level of support and account management to these global customers, as well as all of their all of their global customers, not just the top tier.
Ovum refers to companies who are not in the top end of the enterprise market as "business-class global customers," and says its research shows that the two most critical things these companies want are strong service level agreements (SLAs) and an emphasis on local and global service level management. Nearly one in four medium-to-large enterprises have significant multinational WAN requirements, Ovum points out, yet few of them report that they are able to obtain the global SLAs that they would like.
What does a global company need to look for when it comes to their service provider?
According to Ovum's research, service providers that have the appropriate service model and focus on business-class global customers will have their sales and support staff organized to meet local, regional, and global needs.|
There are two levels of support that need to be addressed - central and regional - as most companies have central staff who are running the core network and applications, as well as local or regional staff who are in the remote offices. According to Ovum, enterprises say this is where a service provider can "stand out from the crowd."
"Just because you aren't in the Fortune 100 doesn't mean you should receive or accept inferior service from your carrier," said Mike Sapien, principal analyst at Ovum. "There are some highly reputable carriers that deliver local, regional and global support for global customers. With a little extra work and due diligence, global companies can find a carrier partner that offers the same level of service as the largest multinational entities get."
In the white paper, Ovum suggests business-class companies ask key service questions to help in selecting the right provider, including:
• Ask for the provider's target customer profile. Sprint, for instance, targets all global companies with significant U.S. presence, providing the same level of outstanding service and support across all locations.
• Ask about basic customer visibility into the provider's services, customer access portals, and billing capabilities. Sprint provides the market-leading Compass network management portal that provides unparalleled, real-time visibility into the customer's network. Compass is available free, via any Internet connection, to all Sprint IP/MPLS customers.
• Review the organization that would support your account. Sprint's flat organizational structure helps ensure that when a business-class customer needs attention, whether it's support from local or regional support personnel or senior executive attention, they receive it.
• Ask specifically about global service support and the central-vs.-regional question. Sprint offers a choice of centralized or regionalized support, or both, depending on business requirements. This is at no additional charge.
The bottom line is that at Sprint, virtually every enterprise with any international presence gets business class treatment. There is a global account team to serve them, regardless of how large their international operations are or how well-known their company name is.