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Information gathering – the importance of understanding customer’s network

Over the past year working at GCOMM, I have learned numerous things about network solutions for businesses. Before even starting to design the appropriate solution, the most important thing is understanding customer’s existing network and their business needs. In this article, I will explain why.

Clarity enables extraordinary service to be offered

The better picture we have about the requirements of our customers, the faster and easier a solution can be provided. Being clear about what the customer is trying to achieve, what kind of technology they currently have and what are the biggest pitfalls of their current solution are all important when it comes to creating something to fulfil the company’s needs.

We provide many services, such as private IP networks, that can be executed via an Internet connection or through Point-of-Presence (PoP). These services can be handed off at layer 2 or layer 3. The variety of options means that we will always find the most feasible solution for each individual customer.

Basics we need to share

There is some basic information that we need to be aware of in order to design an appropriate solution that will meet our customer’s needs.

  • Correct site details. The full address of the site and a phone number that corresponds to the site where the customer would like the service provisioned represent critical information. Firstly, because it will allow us to determine what service is available at that particular site. Secondly, it is needed when the carrier goes to provision the service. If information isn’t correct, a technician’s time on site may be wasted and an appointment may need to be rescheduled. This may result in deadlines being missed, which could also bring additional costs to the business.

  • Number of employees using the service. In order for us to determine if the bandwidth requested by a client is appropriate, we need to be aware of how many people will actually use the service.

  • How will the service be used. This is a consideration when determining bandwidth. Will the customer mostly use data? Or voice? Video, or other applications? By understanding these requirements, GCOMM can provide the correct solution, be that multiple e-lines to separate the data and prioritise traffic, or faster links at a main site for most efficient download speeds.

  • Will a redundant, or failover service be required? What are the implications of complete loss of Internet, will this take down one site, or the customer’s whole network? What service level agreements apply to the proposed services and should a failover link be available in the case of an outage? For customers who work and back up in the cloud this could prove crucial.

  • Contract term. The length of the contract affects installment, as well as monthly cost options that we will provide.

Benefits to the customer

We can provide many benefits to the client, once we understand what their requirements are and how their network is set up. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Accurate costs – no hidden costs, everything is clear from the start.

  2. Most effective solution – some clients might be aware of the solutions out there that are appropriate for their business, however GCOMM’s expertise provides the ability to, in some cases, offer alternatives that are most effective.

  3. Fast turnaround – knowing all the necessary details and being fully aware of the current and desired situations will allow us to create the most appropriate solution as fast as we can.

Our sales team here at GCOMM also has regular internal training each week in network design and solution setup. Account Managers are given the opportunity to learn more about various solutions in order to be able to provide exceptional service to their customers. We also have a dedicated resource, our Solutions Architect, who has extensive technical background and can project manage bigger and more technical projects.

In conclusion

The more information we have, the better we will be able to serve our customers. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial that this information is accurate, it is then that our customers can benefit from our full expertise, as we provide the most appropriate solution that will offer a piece of mind allowing them to focus on their core business operations.