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May 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 5
On Rad’s Radar

Are You a Net-Head

As we make the transition from the TDM world to all-IP, there will need to be a shift in mindset as well. It’s not just about AT&T unplugging the PSTN. This move means a Bell-head acting like a monopoly provider has to start thinking like a Net-head, an innovative, flexible company enhancing the productivity, communications and employees at SMB companies that are your mainline customers.

Net-heads think about apps, systems integration, and data. Voice is just an app. Your IP phone is a smartphone – a computer.

The growing demand for IP means that CLECs have to find a way to expand past the T1 level. This will be the Achilles’ heel for many CLECs. Without a way to deliver 10MB to small businesses with 50 to 99 employees, CLECs will be relegated to NxT1 service to 10 to 50 employee businesses at a more expensive rate than metro Ethernet service.

The good news is that the small business market is relatively untapped. Managed services, security and hosted applications are solutions that small business owners are educating themselves on for future purchase as they streamline operations and look for ways to cut costs, get efficient, and be flexible.

Unfortunately, customer acquisition costs are similar for SMB regardless of size. To offset the acquisition expense, providers must look at retention and lifetime customer value.

The key is on-boarding, the many steps that are required to bring a new customer on to your service platform. If the on-boarding process is exceptional and able to properly deliver on expectations, that is the first step toward customer retention – and profitability.

Up-selling the customer to other services like security, data storage and other apps is easier in an IP solution sale than in a TDM replacement transaction. Here again, the mindset has to shift to delivering productivity and easing the pain of technology for the end user. We live in a data-centric world. Put your Net-head on. IT

Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (

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