Ben Edmond, CEO and Founder of Connected2Fiber, explores how location Intelligence is transforming the way service providers partner and sell...
Growth is a popular topic in any business, but no industry is exactly like telecommunications.The vertical is a very physical one that focuses on building out expensive connectivity, and the players are very fragmented with many national, regional, and local participants. Thriving in this environment requires developing a trusted ecosystem of potential partners while at the same time gaining a significant amount of intelligence about a geographic area, tenant, or competitor. This dynamic is fairly unique as the same network provider that helped you win a deal yesterday could be your competitor today. Ultimately, growth comes from having the intelligence to understand where to build, where to partner, and how to price.
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Being data driven when selling connectivity is not a new concept for service providers. They’ve long aspired to have a wealth of data at their fingertips to make critical decisions about how to build, partner, and quote. Unfortunately, their success has largely been limited and the advent of trends like the push of content to the edge as well as 5G will only exacerbate problems. A new capability is needed to transform the way service providers partner and sell in order to capitalize on the changing nature of the industry. That new skill is location intelligence.
Gaining Insight Should Not Be So Manual, Slow, and Incomplete
Most service providers already understand the challenges associated with collecting intelligence that’s needed to determine whether they should pursue a deal, how, and for what price. First, most of this information is often siloed across multiple repositories in an enterprise. Building lists sit in one database, information on enterprises or tenants is through a subscription to another service, fiber maps are stored in yet another area, etc. This causes a tremendous amount of friction, as answering even basic questions such as “what buildings are we connected to?”, “how about our partners?”, and “who is in those buildings” becomes a daunting task to undertake. There is a lot of manual effort needed to “swivel chair” across these repositories and it takes a lot of time to compile the answers. As a result, employees are spending more of their time on data collection versus analysis and opportunities are being lost.
Secondly, data often lacks quality. Service providers may not have updated their building lists in a while or, even if they did, they don’t conform to a standard format needed to be actionable. This causes major headache when trying to determine serviceability of a particular building. Moreover, data might not be accurate or comprehensive enough to serve specific needs. For instance, a provider may know a certain tenant was in a building due to a photograph taken by a sales representative but that may have been several months ago and they don’t have any specific information on the best contact for that tenant because their data service subscription only lists the senior leadership team of that organization. As it relates to network intelligence on buildings, providers may understand where fiber routes run along a geographic area but have no idea if they actually connect to a specific building, making it very hard to determine its connectivity status. In each of these instances, it’s safe to say that even if you were to solve the siloed information problem, data is often times not structured, trusted, or detailed enough to be actionable when making selling decisions.
Automated, Location-Based Intelligence Overcomes These Challenges
Service providers need to adopt a new way of thinking when it comes to acquiring the insight needed to make partnering and sales decisions if they are to overcome the issues of silos and poor data quality. They need to think about location as the center of their world and, from there, layer in the insight needed to make critical selling decisions. Location specificity is needed in all decisions and assessments that drive growth - from identifying true total addressable market to targeting the correct prospects to pricing most effectively. Location intelligence focuses on bringing together all relevant and critical data about a physical building to ultimately treat each location as its own marketplace.
Whether looking to buy or build location intelligence, service providers should make sure that the solution serves as the single source of truth for any location of importance. It needs to have a way to automatically ingest raw data – such as building lists – and keep the data current. It also needs to have the flexibility to deal with multiple data types and serve a variety of use cases. If achieved, this type of location intelligence solution will serve as a centralized repository for location data to be used across the enterprise. This will eliminate the manual “swivel-chair” approach and empower service providers to redeploy assets to undertake higher value added activities.
A reputable location-based approach to selling also needs to include data that is trusted and comprehensive. Service providers sales teams may not need to know the CEO of an enterprise as much as they need to know who at that enterprise is responsible for making decisions regarding office connectivity. They also need to know which providers can service a specific building and not just who is in the area. To make effective partnering and sales decisions, a solution must provide this level of granularity out of the box and be kept ‘fresh’ to be trusted.
Location Intelligence Will Become A Competitive Advantage
Acquiring a location intelligence solution will help service providers not only make quicker, more effective partnering and sales decisions in the immediate term, but it will also serve as the foundation for decision making as future trends continue to materialize – whether it be placement of more data centers at the ‘edge’ or the roll out of antennas supporting 5G capabilities. Adopting location intelligence will transform the way service providers go-to-market and represent their competitive advantage in the market both now and into the future.