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August 2013

The Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Boom: Is Your Sales/Engineering Team Equipped to Win?

The Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Boom: Is Your Sales/Engineering Team Equipped to Win?

Dear Colleague:

The rush to build enterprise clouds and data centers is an explosive megatrend — and a golden opportunity for solution providers to make money as enterprise IT chases this powerful new paradigm.

But the richest prizes go only to sales and engineering teams who can drive an effective and streamlined requirements-to-design-to-order process.  Many providers face major challenges moving forward:

  • Sales lacks the design knowledge needed to fully qualify prospects;
  • Engineers work with out-of-date product catalogs and inefficiently manage designs across siloed spreadsheets; and,
  • Senior Design Experts are overloaded and don‘t have a means to safely delegate work to less-qualified engineers.

As a result, these providers lose business they should win.  Their designs generally: take too long to complete and quote; lack sufficient accuracy, detail, and options; and can‘t be changed on-the-fly to meet the customer’s price point or last minute requirements.

Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Paper

Happily, there is a path forward.  The answer is for solution providers to equip themselves with a collaborative solution design platform, a proven way to speed up and synchronize the work of salespeople, engineers, and senior design experts.

So what should you be looking for in such a platform?  Well, getting answers to that question is precisely the goal of a white paper I have authored entitled: The Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Boom: Is Your Sales/Engineering Team Equipped to Win its Share of the Business?

This 11-page paper, sponsored by Netformx, paints a picture of what an ideal platform looks like.  Armed with that information, you should be better prepared to assess whether a particular platform is right for your team.

After getting multiple briefings and talking to two solution providers using these platforms, I narrowed down the key capabilities of an ideal platform to eight (8) key capabilities.  And so, the paper basically walks you through those capabilities, explaining the sales/engineering problems that each is intended to solve.

The paper is a useful guide for solution providers contemplating such an investment.  Download the paper directly from the Netformx website.

Copyright 2013 Black Swan Telecom Journal

Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) and editor of the on-line magazines Black Swan Telecom Journal, Top Operator, and FraudTech Journal.

Technology Research Institute (TRI) has been writing and researching telecom software and systems markets since 1994.  Its industry reports have covered the gamut of telecom systems from billing and service assurance... to customer care and provisioning.  In recent years, TRI has authored major reports on Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Telecom Analytics/Big Data solutions.   Contact Dan via

Black Swan Solution Guides & Papers

cSwans of a Feather

  • Flexing the OSS & Network to Support the Digital Ecosystem interview with Ken Dilbeck — The need for telecoms to support a broader digital ecosystem requires an enormous change to OSS infrastructures and the way networks are being managed.  This interview sheds light on these challenges.
  • The Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Boom: Is Your Sales/Engineering Team Equipped to Win? by Dan Baker — The build-out of enterprise clouds and data centers is a golden opportunity for systems integrators, carriers, and cloud providers.  But the firms who win this business will have sales and engineering teams who can drive an effective and streamlined requirements-to-design-to-order process.  This white paper points to a solution — a collaborative solution designs system — and explains 8 key capabilities of an ideal platform.
  • Navigating the Telecom Solutions Wilderness: Advice from Some Veteran Mountaineers interview with Al Brisard — Telecom solutions vendors struggle mightily to position their solutions and figure out what to offer next in a market where there’s considerable product and service crossover.  In this article, a veteran order management specialist firm lays out its strategy for mixing deep-bench functional expertise with process consulting, analytics, and custom API development.
  • Will Telecoms Sink Under the Weight of their Bloated and Out-of-Control Product Stacks? interview with Simon Muderack — Telecoms pay daily for their lack of product integration as they constantly reinvent product wheels, lose customer intelligence, and waste time/money.  This article makes the case of an enterprise product catalog.  Drawing on central catalog cases at a few Tier 1 operators, the article explains the benefits: reducing billing and provisioning costs, promoting product reuse, and smoothing operations.
  • Virtual Operator Life: Enabling Multi-Level Resellers Through an Active Product Catalog interview with Rob Hill — The value of product distribution via virtual operators is immense.  They enable a carrier to sell to markets it cannot profitably serve directly.  Yet the need for greater reseller flexibility in the bundling and pricing of increasingly complex IP and cloud services is now a major channel barrier.  This article explains what’s behind an innovative product catalog solution that doubles as a service creation environment for resellers in multiple tiers.
  • Telecom Blocking & Tackling: Executing the Fundamentals of the Order-to-Bill Process interview with Ron Angner — Just as football teams need to be good at the basics of blocking and tackling, telecoms need to excel at their own fundamental skillset: the order-to-cash process.  In this article, a leading consulting firm explains its methodology for taking operators on the path towards order-to-cash excellence.  Issues discussed include: provisioning intervals; standardization and simplicity; the transition from legacy to improved process; and the major role that industry metrics play.
  • Wireline Act IV, Scene II: Packaging Network & SaaS Services Together to Serve SMBs by John Frame — As revenue from telephony services has steadily declined, fixed network operators have scrambled to support VoIP, enhanced IP services, and now cloud applications.  This shift has also brought challenges to the provisioning software vendors who support the operators.  In this interview, a leading supplier explains how it’s transforming from plain ol‘ OSS software provider to packager of on-net and SaaS solutions from an array of third party cloud providers.
  • Is Order Management a Provisioning System or Your Best Salesperson? by John Konczal — Order management as a differentiator is a very new concept to many CSP people, but it’s become a very real sales booster in many industries.  Using electronics retailer BestBuy as an example, the article points to several innovations that can — and are — being applied by CSPs today.  The article concludes with 8 key questions an operator should ask to measure advanced order management progress.
  • Real-Time Provisioning of SIM Cards: A Boon to GSM Operators interview with Simo Isomaki — Software-controlled SIM card configuration is revolutionizing the activation of GSM phones.  The article explains how dynamic SIM management decouples the selection of numbers/services and delivers new opportunities to market during the customer acquisition and intial provisoining phase.
  • 21st Century Order Management: The Cross-Channel Sales Conversation by John Konczal — Selling a mobile service is generally not a one-and-done transaction.  It often involves several interactions — across the web, call center, store, and even kiosks.  This article explains the power of a “cross-channel hub” which sits above all sales channels, interacts with them all, and allows a CSP to keep the sales conversation moving forward seamlessly.

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