Vice President of Technology Services
A vendor’s service and support offerings can make a big difference in helping user organizations attain maximum value and ROI from their hardware and software deployments. Portfolios offered generally include help desk/product support, sales consulting/presales, along with the more encompassing professional services, which consist of offerings such as technology consulting, implementation services, and training. However, what user organizations really hunger for—and what is too often underemphasized by many vendor partners—is expert business consulting.
Business consulting involves a subject matter expertise that has just as much to do with the customer’s business as it does with the customer’s hardware or software deployment. The most valuable business consultants are those who have “been there, done that” when it comes to the operational challenges the customer is facing, and have the experience to investigate potential solutions and advise the customer on the best strategy and resolution toward achieving end-user quality of experience (QoE) and operational excellence.
Unfortunately, too few vendors have the capability to go beyond providing a technology solution and some very basic implementation and optimization advice. A true partner needs to go deeper to the point where they understand the customer’s business problems and how the technology solution can be configured to solve these problems. This expertise must permeate beyond professional services and into R&D and product management teams so that configuration changes can not only be rapidly implemented into the customer’s deployment, but also so that the vendor can continue to evolve its technology solution to meet the customer’s future requirements.
Some of the most common business problems encountered are network planning/capacity planning issues and a lack of application awareness within a network pipe. Financial institutions, for example, face the everyday challenge of managing online transactions amid limited network bandwidth. Application awareness and capacity monitoring go hand in hand in helping banks identify which applications are most important (such as online payments and account transfers) and which are less time-sensitive (such as general information notifications), enabling organizations to properly prioritize the most critical applications in times of overtaxed bandwidth. Telcos, meanwhile, can benefit from application visibility and capacity monitoring on critical functions such as 911 call routing, so that when the 15,000 connections in a cell site are all being utilized, sufficient capacity can be made available for the 15,001st—that urgent 911 call.
Look for business consultants in the network and application performance management/service assurance space who possess the right balance of expertise in understanding these operational issues and expertise when it comes to helping organizations fully leverage a proven technology platform—because experience truly does matter.
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