In a digitally transformed world, network and broadband connectivity is currency. Without network connectivity, there is no point of sale. There are no security alarms. There are no functioning financial markets, educational organizations or healthcare institutions. We have reached a point of no digital return; a point where the only way forward is to fully understand the problems and challenges with our existing network procurement processes and systems and fix them. We must reimagine these manual processes to keep pace with the digital transformation they enable. To ignore this fact is to stifle broadband deployment and the advancement of next-gen network technologies, in turn hindering organizations, communities and end users everywhere. The time to make this transformation is now.
Not so fast…
There are thousands of physical last mile network owners around the world. It isn’t physically possible for the average human to know every last detail of these infrastructure footprints or connected networks. Yet, these details are essential to providing comprehensive and financially sound insights for the purposes of connecting endpoints. A thorough, up-to-date catalogue of relevant network insights is essential to efficient and effective Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) processes.
Historically, the act of gathering customer requirements for connectivity products and services, identifying telecom vendors who can provide those services, sending them a request for proposal and allowing them to submit proposals is woefully inefficient. What’s more, there is then the process of reviewing and selecting the vendor for the order, establishing the margin for pricing and sending the order form to the customer. This is quite literally the definition of “swivel chairing” — the manual, inefficient act of gathering information from numerous sources (often spreadsheets, or worse, simple human memory). This leads to unreliable or outdated information, creating a landslide of problems from lost revenue to poor user experience and every frustration in between.
Challenges: The Big 4
When it comes to the CPQ process, there are four primary concerns that create the biggest speed bumps:
Fallout – locations that “fall out” of a bid because they aren’t serviceable by a “known” supplier. This effectively renders the service provider unable to fulfill a customer request. The problems here are obvious.
Special Pricing – needing to negotiate circuit and connectivity pricing with the underlying supplier in order to submit a competitive bid. This leads to profound issues regarding identifying the target-location suppliers and then communicating and collaborating via various platforms – all of which must be kept straight between each supplier. This severely impacts the responsiveness and effectiveness of the service provider, leading to poor win-rates, reduced margins and lackluster end-user experiences.
Performance Requirements – special, performance-based criteria required by the end user. This is typically around Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which include guaranteed uptimes and other valuable performance targets. As with special pricing, there are a number of efficiency variables associated with the act of finding, communicating and negotiating with multiple suppliers, creating an altogether complex or lengthy process.
Diversity – special network diversity and route requirements that must be met by the network supplier. Like all the others, identifying, communicating, negotiating and completing this vetting process can kill a deal for the service provider.
Each of these issues can result in lost bids, prohibitive margins, uninspiring customer experiences and many other deal-breaking challenges. The manual swivel chair process is no longer viable, and the problem will only get worse as the industry adapts to innovative trends such as the continued rollout of 5G technology and SD-WAN. The inability to address the “Big 4” is game over for many deals.
If network providers are unable to quickly identify optimal network partners that can service a location and economically meet the end-users’ exacting requirements, service provider revenue growth will certainly suffer.
CPQ Bid Management Automation is Here!
These challenges are exactly the drivers behind Connected2Fiber’s new rollout of the industry’s first fully automated Bid Management capability as part of its Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solution. The new functionality enables buyers of connectivity within The Connected World Platform to fully automate identification and communication with network suppliers regarding locations of interest within the quoting process — ultimately reducing fallout, increasing competitiveness of pricing, and ensuring end user performance and diversity standards are entirely met. Moreover, this is accomplished as a one to many exercise in the platform so both efficacy and efficiency of managing bids are a core focus. The automation of Bid Management effectively solves for the “Big 4” in a single, fully-automated and robust CPQ Bid Management solution.
Connected2Fiber’s automated Bid Management capability empowers connectivity buyers to, first, automatically identify bid locations where fallout occurred within the CPQ process and then search for network providers that can satisfy bid requests based on their serviceability footprint – both from within their existing supply base and by leveraging Connected2Fiber’s award-winning network intelligence.
Once potential suppliers are immediately identified for a quote, users can communicate with network suppliers both inside and outside of The Connected World platform via new messaging capabilities and secure supplier portal functionality in order to satisfy bid requests. Users will be able to send the locations of interest to these suppliers with a desirable configuration set and request communications around pricing, performance, and diversity.
The resulting accepted pricing and term information from suppliers will then automatically integrate into the user’s quote. All of this is accomplished via a single, fully automated platform.
The time is indeed now…
The introduction of automated Bid Management into the network buyer’s CPQ process will revolutionize connectivity purchasing. This new capability will not only drive seamless discovery and engagement within a provider’s supplier base, but ultimately deliver a larger deal pipeline, more robust profit margins, and confidence in the provider’s ability to execute complex deals. This will have an immediate and meaningful impact on the CPQ process, creating significant opportunities for connectivity buyers and sellers alike — now and well into the future.
The new Bid Management capability is now available to all existing and new Connected2Fiber customers as part of their CPQ purchase.