When it comes to ease of use of digital services in the New IP world, enterprise customers are demanding consumer-like service. But according to new research from ICT Intuition and Coleman Parkes Research, service providers aren't getting the message and as a result, enterprises aren't embracing and buying digital services beyond basic bandwidth and storage from their service providers.
Specifically, "The Enterprise Multi-Client Study," sponsored by Comptel Corp. (Nasdaq, Helsinki: CTL1V) and conducted by ICT Intuition and Coleman Parkes Research, discovered that only 14% of enterprises are currently purchasing digital services primarily from operators because operators aren't bundling their services together in a way that makes it easy for enterprise customers to "buy it all together," said Nancee Ruzicka of ICT. "Right now, the bottom line is, it's too hard."
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"Operators put together these ecosystems and say, 'Here are all the parts, put it together however you want,'" said Ruzicka. "Well, if you aren't Visa or Bank of America or someone huge, you don't have the bodies, brains and the budget to do that, and businesses are not going to invest in people to just to put these pieces together."
According to the report, "Contrary to previous thinking that businesses were tentatively approaching cloud-based applications and 'as a Service' offerings, the most recent data shows that businesses are rapidly transitioning from on-premise to cloud services for everything from basic sales management (e.g., Salesforce.com) to IT help desk and CRM, order, billing and supply chain management, but digital and communications service providers are being left behind."
For the survey, ICT and Coleman Parkes Research surveyed 1,003 business executives worldwide -- split evenly amongst North America, CALA, Europe and APAC -- and the results were eye-opening but also made sense and show a big missed opportunity for operators looking to serve the enterprise market, according to Ruzicka.
According to the survey results, today most businesses are buying digital services from software vendors because those vendors built the apps and businesses pay them to do the integration and all the rest. However, the results showed they'd prefer to buy them all at once from their service provider, similar to the way they buy services as consumers.
"Because we are all consumers, the experience enterprises want is: 'If I need to do something, I can go to an app store, download it and use it,'" said Ruzicka. "Today, businesses don't have that but they want it."
If they don't have the content and the apps, service providers must partner up for the content and provide the integration, said Ruzicka. "You are going to have to do it. Either be the integrator or be the pipe and that's kind of your choice as far as businesses go."
Another interesting find from the survey was that enterprises want to be able to resell these bundled services to their customers as part of their mainline business. "They want to add these capabilities to their product line," said Ruzicka. "Not only are these businesses comfortable with using it -- they are way past that -- they want to bundle it into the services they are creating and selling. It broadens their product line."
"I thought enterprises would be more cautious just coming out of a recession but they are, like, 'Let's go!' " she added. "And the reason they want operators to do it is security. That is their big deal because we all know security will kill your brand and in my opinion, they trust an AT&T and Verizon more so than an OTT guy."
The unanswered question is how service providers will respond. So far, providers have set up enterprise-focused business units but staffed them with the same people as the network side of the business, according to Ruzicka.
Instead, providers should rely on their partners to help with the language and selling, she said, adding that businesses really want these services, and they want to buy them from their service providers but if service providers aren't going to sell it to them, they will buy it from someone else.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP