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Home | New Service Delivery | NetEvidence, Visibility Drives Revenue
  Richard Thomas, CEO, NetEvidence
  Richard Thomas, CEO, NetEvidence

Visibility Drives Revenue

Richard Thomas, NetEvidence CEO, explains why making your customers ‘sticky’ means giving them easy, fast visibility of the services you’re delivering

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Richard Thomas has worked in the Telecomms industry for 25 years across a range of organisations, from Startups to IBM. Richard’s background includes both Technical and Business roles, and he has contributed to various industry journals as well as being an early member of Interop’s ‘NOC Team’ in the USA and Europe. His work providing Network Design consultancy to large enterprises led him to appreciate the difference good visibility makes in operating and growing networks of any size. He founded NetEvidence in 2001.

Q: With the current financial constraints in the market, service providers are careful where they spend their funds. What do you see as the must have areas currently neglected by these companies?
A: The current financial situation has been an opportunity for NetEvidence. We’ve seen reluctance by Service Providers to invest heavily in traditional tools, with their typical 6- or 7-figure acquisition price, then the same again for consultancy and integration, over a 6 to12 month or even longer deployment period.

The alternative we offer is deployment in days or weeks rather than months or years, with pay as you go pricing and no initial investment. You get rapid deployment, instant return on the investment, and you have the flexibility to invest exactly where you need it: for example in your top 10 customers only.

Q: A lot of Network Managers feel let down by previous product purchases, finding they have no better understanding of their networks once deployed. How does NetEvidence overcome this?
A: The traditional tools available to Network Managers are designed to be technical, engineering focussed, tools. It’s incredibly difficult to do that and still provide visibility into how the network is being used and what users actually experience in their day-to-day use of that network. So it’s no wonder that Network Managers feel let down; the expectation that an engineering tool can provide the level of understanding they require is simply not going to be met.

NetEvidence takes the opposite approach. Rather than graft a pretty interface onto a technical tool, we designed Highlight from the outset to provide this type of visibility. This means that it’s incredibly straightforward to ask the kinds of questions about the performance of your network with which users are concerned e.g.:

  • What’s the performance of xyz application between my London and Stockholm sites?
  • How is that performance changing over time?
  • We had reports of problems at 8:30 this morning, what was happening then?
  • We made some network changes at the weekend, what was the impact on user experience?

By addressing the network in terms of the business applications that run over the network, we also help the Network Manager communicate within his organisation. Maybe the VP of sales wants to get video conferencing to reduce travel costs and improve efficiency in the sales force; he doesn’t care whether or not an MPLS QoS network is needed, he just wants to know can it be done, and how much it will cost. Then when it’s deployed, he needs to see that the benefit continues to be delivered.


Q: Service Management is a key role for the Telecom Service providers. How does Highlight aid in this area?
A: The role of Service Management is going through a major transition. Previously, Service Management consisted of creating periodic retrospective SLA reports downtime last month or last quarter, and reviewing with the customer. Providers now require Service Managers to offer a more ‘service’ based view than simply whether any part of the network is up or down. SLA reporting needs to be done faster for more customers. Additionally high value customers need more proactive / consultative information on performance degradation, delay & application performance testing.

Basic report creation is incredibly time consuming to assemble the data: we know of more than one Service Provider where Service Managers are spending over 50% of their time fighting with internal systems, just to get basic uptime data. Highlight will generate this simple key data with the press of a button, instantly giving Service Managers the opportunity to spend more time with customers, or enabling the business to provide Service Management to more customers - without needing more people.

Highlight can replicate user traffic and monitor application delay across the network, giving a picture of network quality & the network path not simply if it’s up or not. This adds revenue and perceived value to the Provider.

But the real benefit of Highlight is that by giving customers 24*7 visibility of their network service the Service Management conversation can be evolved from a review of the past, into a proactive, future-focussed conversation about how customers can optimise their IT spend & support the critical application services.

Service Management can now become a key part of the ongoing business relationship between the Service Provider and their customers, allowing the Service Provider to be a value-add partner to the customer, rather than a commodity supplier.


Q: Making the Telco’s communications portfolio more customer centric and available is a necessary way of retaining customers. How does Highlight help in this?
A: It may be self evident that customers appreciate transparency, and like seeing the network in terms of their business applications rather than in terms of the network technology. But we wanted to be able to quantify that benefit, so we measured the overall customer churn rate of our partners relative to the churn rate of those customers who have Highlight.

The results are incredible: customers who have Highlight from our current partners are FOUR TIMES less likely to churn than those who don’t.

  Richard Thomas, CEO, NetEvidence

Q: Once deployed how are customers like Azzuri finding the product and key recognised benefits?
A: Partners who supply Highlight to their customers experience a number of benefits.

Firstly, as we discussed above, customer retention improves significantly. We also see our partners being very smart about using Highlight as a tool to help them win business. (Indeed we had one company approach us specifically because they were consistently losing business to one of our current partners). One clever tactic we’ve seen employed to great success in a multi-supplier environment is for one Service Provider to provide Highlight across the customer’s whole estate, gaining insight into the performance of their competitors and opening up the entire estate as a sales opportunity.

There’s a further benefit to companies working with NetEvidence to provide this visibility. By working with a best of breed partner, they don’t have to invest resources in developing and maintaining a tool. Customers pay Service Providers to run a network, not run the tools that run the network.

Q: Are you concentrating on key strategic and geographic areas or is the product available to be purchased and deployed worldwide?
A: One of the benefits of Highlight’s SaaS model is that geography isn’t an issue. Highlight is deployed on customer networks in over 61 countries today, and is available to be supplied to anyone, anywhere.

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