Bright future for dumb pipe business

Karl Whitelock, Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan
14 Dec 2009

Everything from the sexy new applications and mobile data promises to the next level of advanced interactive services all has an underlying assumption of the network connectivity layer working first time every time. Network operators for years have focused on making the network connection and the way that connection is used the best possible for all. Many continue to offer SLAs that guarantee levels of service quality and availability. But is this enough? If not, what else is needed?

Look at what other industries are doing today. It is no longer simple voice-to-voice or text messaging services enterprise customers are interested in. The converging communications marketplace is the most critical enabler of the evolution plans for enterprise customers in multiple industries as they come together in making a more effective place to work and live. In effect, they are improving their customer's service experience by taking advantage of the latest the communications industry has to offer.

Within the healthcare industry, there are many cases involving the secure access and storage of data focused around the patient instead of the healthcare provider. This is far beyond a simple dumb pipe business, but it is the "dumb pipe provider" that carries the bulk of the responsibility for making such services a reality.

Our advice is simple. Learn from other industries, engage with business intelligence and analytics suppliers to understand what customers are doing so as to better arm internal work teams with informed ways of dealing with customer needs.

There is a lot of hidden value in working with third parties if the targeted customer base is known and understood. This doesn't mean selling customer information that is restricted by regulation in many parts of the world. It means knowing what different customer groups want and what they don't want, by knowing their behavior as segments and not as a mass market group. Doing so will surely keep the "dumb pipe" business a solid and prosperous one now and in the months ahead.

Karl Whitelock is senior consulting analyst with Stratecast

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