There have always been issues with the telecom industry, but those issues are now more apparent than ever before following the pandemic. Why? Businesses are having to pivot their approach to mobility, technology, and security in ways they never anticipated and many networks weren’t built for. As a result, more people than ever are trying to figure out where things went wrong and how to right those wrongs for a clear path forward.
The Two Questions to Ask When Faced with Telecom Industry Issues
As a company that has been involved in consulting on, selling, and implementing voice, data, and network services for two decades now, we’ve recently heard two pressing questions:
- What happened to the telecom world, and where did it go wrong?
- Why does it seem more difficult than ever to get anything done in the world of telecom?
If you’ve been asking these or similar questions, you’re not alone, and you absolutely shouldn’t ignore the urge to find answers. The urgency of answering these questions has only increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more organizations than ever are coming to us seeking help. Here’s what we tell them about how things got so bad and how we’re working to make it better.
Telecommunication Industry Challenges at the Beginning of the 21st Century
In the early 2000s, there was a clear delineation between telecom vendors, value added resellers (VARs), and the telecom carrier or broker. Vendors and VARs were selling the applications, software, or network infrastructure appliances while the telecom carriers and brokers sold voice and data connectivity (via Frame Relay, MPLS, the internet, etc.). Everyone had a focus area of specialization and expertise.
In contrast to today, things were relatively simple back then, but it was still extremely difficult for businesses to manage these services. The lack of talent required to implement the network and understand the complexity of invoices from telecom providers made it difficult to properly manage these services. It wasn’t uncommon for service installation to be significantly delayed or for customers to be unknowingly charged or overbilled.
To solve these inefficiencies, managed service providers (MSPs) and telecom expense management (TEM) firms were born.
Understanding the Telecom Industry: Competition in the Marketplace
As MSPs, TEM providers, and VARs evolved to take on more market share, carriers began competing with them by selling managed networks that included routers and switches. This competition drove prices down, which was great for a business’s bottom line but not so much for improving the customer experience or streamlining implementation.
Before this competition led to changes in the marketplace, roles within the industry were clearly delineated, even when a carrier provided the equipment or managed services. Voice and network transport were one segment, while the applications and tools running on the network required a completely different set of expertise and knowledge.
As a result, many organizations siloed services and had a dedicated individual or team specializing in email, voice, data, conference, database development, security, etc.
A Problem of the Past: Too Many People in the Room
Like many businesses do, providers also siloed services based on expertise and specialization. A decade or more ago, an entire army of individuals would show up to promise the support of a telecom provider. You had sales representatives, account managers, inside account managers, billing specialists, contract specialists, implementation specialists, voice specialists, data specialists, conferencing specialists, security specialists, mobility specialists, and more!
While the number of people in the room may have been overwhelming, at least you knew you had a list of experts you could always reach out to and find a solution to your problem. Even then, with a whole army on their side, clients frequently complained about how difficult it was to get things done, but reflecting on it now, it was much easier, and that reality highlights how astray the telecom industry has gone.
The market had to change as the technology matured and organizations couldn’t support such a large group, especially when many skill sets are no longer required since some technologies have become obsolete.
However, that still doesn’t change the fact that things are just as difficult to get done as in the past. In fact, it’s more difficult than ever to get things done in the telecom world, and the COVID pandemic has demonstrated just how bad the situation really is.
Start with a Technology Assessment from Bluewave. We’re experts at catching the technology bloat most enterprises have come to accept, so we back our process with a 2x ROI guarantee.
Why Telecom Is More Difficult Than Ever Before
For someone working in IT, their job is more difficult than ever. IT is no longer seen as a cost center but as a tool, yet it is still treated like a cost center. While there are more tools available at one’s fingertips than ever before, there are now more applications that need to be understood and managed.
Since technologies are no longer siloed and separated across specialists as they once were, the amount of knowledge someone in IT has to possess is not only greater than it ever has been—they’re also under more scrutiny from employers.
Being a specialist in the IT realm is now nearly impossible. IT staff members have to constantly educate themselves on rapidly changing technology while their employers ask them to always do more with less.
That’s become the uphill battle IT teams continually struggle with: make sure everything is working properly and never goes down, but at the same time, educate themselves, secure the network, manage employee devices and applications, all while overseeing costs, contracts, services, and vendors. The challenge only grows more complicated by the day.
The Problem Today: Too Few People in the Room
While we’re continually asking more of our IT teams, we have to remember that the day-to-day support of the army of experts mentioned above is no longer there. Just as IT managers are asked to do more, so are a carrier’s sales team. They’re being asked to sell, manage accounts, and provide support.
That’s largely what has shaped the customer experience today. You have a billing question, a contract question, or you just want information regarding the inventory of your services. The only person who can provide what you need? The sales representative.
When the problem was once that there were too many people in the room, the issue has now become that there aren’t enough.
How Bluewave Rights What’s Wrong With Technology Today
As a strategic advisor of technology services, our job at Bluewave is to learn and understand your project requirements and then identify the providers that can meet and support those requirements. After selecting the right providers, we help procure, source, and manage those services in conjunction with your day-to-day operations.
Ultimately, we help you save time, resources, and money by absorbing the challenges of identifying, implementing, and managing those technology services.
The value we bring? We’ve sat on both sides of the table, working for a wide range of clients and carriers to ensure everyone speaks the same language and reads from the same page.
If that sounds like something your organization could benefit from, schedule a Baseline Assessment today to learn more.