On Rad�s Radar

The Expert-Specialist Dilemma

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.  |  November 05, 2014

The cloud arena is an interesting place. Many of the providers in the pure play space have a wide catalog of services. It’s nice to have technical skills. No one can deliver a vast array of services well. For an example, look at some CLECs challenged to even deliver T1s today. Any company can duct tape together something that looks like what the customer wants, but will the customer actually be happy with the delivered service?

I just saw an ad for a cloud service provider that is a specialist in broadband, security, cloud computing, UC, cloud communications, and disaster recovery. How?

AT&T (News - Alert) and Verizon have a large catalog, deployed by white-label partners and more than 170,000 employees. And, as we all know, even they can’t deliver on all of it well.

Here’s the problem with being a specialist in everything: You become a specialist in nothing – to the marketplace. There is just too much noise out there, especially in the cloud space, where prospects need a lot of education. It would be a challenge to brand the company as an expert in five categories. In each category, there are different competitors to position against.

When I see a company list all of its varying expertise, I wonder about a couple of things: its longevity and its ability to deliver a quality customer experience. On the longevity, it costs money to deliver cloud services – both in terms of hardware and talent (payroll). It isn’t unusual for a company tight on cash to start spreading out services to capture any and all possible revenue. So a wide breadth of services is a warning light to me.

As I spoke of earlier, delivering a quality customer experience is a challenge when delivering just one service (like hosted PBX (News - Alert)). When you add other services to the mix like security and DR, the customer on-boarding is going to be different.

I’m not saying don’t have a catalog of services. I am just saying pick one or two service categories where you can position the company as an expert and deliver an exceptional customer experience. That would be all the marketing you would need.

Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).

Edited by Maurice Nagle