We’ve been bringing our channel partners up to speed regarding the capabilities of the Intelligent Network over the past year, letting you know about capabilities like Enhanced Management and Dynamic Capacity®, and additional enhancements such as Alerts Driven Dynamic Capacity®. But your prospects won’t know to ask about these capabilities — they might not even know that they’re available.

How can you introduce the many problem-solving capabilities of the Intelligent Network to your customers in the most effective way? Gunnar Peters, Senior Manager of Portfolio Management for tw telecom has some tips that will help your customers leverage new options to manage their applications and save money now while preparing for future bandwidth needs.

Solving network bandwidth problems in the here and now

“There are two ways to approach the Intelligent Network with customers,” says Peters. “You can show what the Intelligent Network can do, or you can ask questions about what pain points the customer is experiencing with regards to their business.”

For example, Peters recommends asking:

  • What are some of your key business impacting applications you are running across your network or relying on to run your business?
  • Are you taking advantage of cloud-based applications to change your operating trajectory?
  • Do you utilize applications for business continuity/disaster recovery, scaling your business, or sourcing new applications?

The answers to those questions can help channel partners guide the conversation with customers to the Intelligent Network capabilities that can solve the customer’s problems.

For example, the question under discussion might be, “Do you connect to data centers for business continuity/disaster recovery services, and do you know if your current bandwidth is sufficient to meet your recovery time objective (RTO)?” Their answer might lead you to recommend Dynamic Capacity®. This Intelligent Network capability gives you the ability to dial up additional bandwidth when a critical event occurs. Dynamic Capacity® can also ensure that you have sufficient bandwidth to meet your day to day application needs for users who might need access to applications across this connection.

These questions and answers help with the customer’s current needs. But, as Peters points out, you should also ask customers about the bandwidth needs they anticipate for future events.

Predicting future network needs

Some customers aren’t sure of the amount of bandwidth they need because their application needs vary based on seasonal, one-time, or regular events — such as tax season, holiday sales, or a scheduled replication. They anticipate or potentially guess at the bandwidth that will be needed for these future events.

“This is where the tools from the Intelligent Network can help solve bandwidth planning concerns and prevent potential problems in an economical way. The Intelligent Network provides customers with a way to future-proof their network,” says Peters. “Right now, the application may not need three times the bandwidth, but with tools like Dynamic Capacity® users know they have the capability and flexibility to augment their bandwidth up to two to three times when they need it, and they can make that decision in real time.”   

To determine which particular capabilities will be best for the customer’s ongoing management of their business, ask questions such as:

  • Can you predict when your bandwidth needs will increase?
  • Do you make those predictions based on experience or on collected data?
  • How are you currently preparing for those predicted bandwidth increases?

Through MyPortal, Alerts Driven Dynamic Capacity® offers new ways for businesses to gain more flexibility from their network. MyPortal provides reporting that businesses can customize to show the information they need and show trends over time to inform their business predictions about bandwidth usage. Then, customers can use Alerts Driven Dynamic Capacity® to proactively schedule automatic bandwidth increases based upon predetermined utilization thresholds set by the customer, so they happen instantly and automatically when triggered, with no service interruption and without human intervention.

“One key aspect of Alerts Driven Dynamic Capacity® is that it integrates automation and predictability into your network,” says Peters. “Before the customer dials up additional bandwidth, we tell them what the cost will be for that event. So you know ahead of time what your invoice will look like at the end of the month.”

Flexibility, visibility, and control: Together, Peters says, those factors “bring predictability to an unpredictable environment.” That’s a great selling point to use with any customer, no matter which capabilities of the Intelligent Network the customer chooses.