‘Connectivity’ is an ugly word but the easiest term for the communications industry to describe the physical media we use to communicate with each other. So why not use terms like broadband, internet, Ethernet, leased line or ADSL and what about ISDN, GSM, GPRS and 4G?
The need for more granular definitions depends on the audience. The SME generally doesn’t care if its Fibre Ethernet, EFM, EoFTTC, 4G, ADSL or white magic. They just want to send and receive information as quickly and as reliably as possible. On the other hand, the industry, and the channel in particular, is obsessed with learning and explaining the nuances between technologies even if their customer isn't interested. After all what’s the point of knowing all this stuff if you can’t use it to differentiate your proposition? Some suppliers even make up new names to describe their connectivity and further confuse their customers.
So the answer is that when you are talking to the channel you have to use generic terms like connectivity for fear of the pedants seeking you out and ridiculing your simplicity. “Internet access? What if my customer wants a P2P leased line or an MPLS network without breakout?” In communicating with end customers I think a different approach is needed. Find out what they can get before you contact them and certainly before you product-dump every technology and associated features. Ask them questions about what they think they need and uncover problems so that you can suggest things they didn’t know they needed.
A couple of years ago at Jola we were trying to decide how best to give our Partners internet connectivity options. With every network, speed and technology available there were literally hundreds of different prices we could quote for a single location. Partners were telling us they wanted simplicity, and quickly. Often a need would come up when they were engaged with a customer on a different topic or their sales people would simply forget to do their research before turning up to an appointment. So we built a very simple tool they could use whilst with their customer. They put in the postcode, select an address and click ‘go’. Two minutes later they receive an email with the cheapest price for 20, 50 and 100Mbs, plus FTTC availability. A spreadsheet is attached so they can calculate their margin on the spot and quote the customer there and then. We thought that as Partners demanded more options we would expand the scope of the quote tool – we never have. Two years later the tool has delivered thousands of quotes and it satisfies 99% of requirements. 1% of end users need more than 100Mbs, P2P or insist on knowing who the carrier is. We handle these requests manually.
To find out more about Jola and our pricing tool...