Best Practices for Hybrid WAN (Managed Networks)
We run our customers’ corporate data networks. Our innovations connect their new sites faster, make their applications faster and give them better service and lower cost than they’ve had before. We’re making them more successful by approaching their networks in a different way, with a focus on best practice. This is how we do it.
We serve large and medium-sized business customers, often global but mostly UK-based. We design, deploy and support the networks, the applications and the infrastructure on which they run their businesses. Most are burdened by five key problems that we solve to make them more successful:
Delivery – Corporate networks are complex to deliver. Network providers with manual processes take months to deliver, creating disruption and cost.
Performance – Companies want to be right-first-time and fast, so they build applications to digitise their processes. Many struggle to make applications work well over their networks, wasting time for hundreds of staff.
Service experience – Network providers are notorious for delivery errors, slow changes, unfixed problems and billing errors. This makes the network painful and costly to run.
Skillset – Companies buy managed services to avoid hiring skilled resources but sometimes the provider does not have skills they need urgently. For example, when network performance problems are traced to a database design or server configuration, many providers struggle to fix them.
Cost – Most businesses pay too much for their network. Culprits include lower supply costs that are not passed on and cheaper technologies or designs that are not suggested.
We are an SME that invests like a large enterprise. We relentlessly innovate to give customers a Hybrid Wide Area Network (WAN) whose delivery, performance and cost will help them win. Market-changing innovation is rare in our industry because it takes long-term commitment and an intimate understanding of complex needs.
For years we’ve researched what customers really need and then invested long-term to build and refine it, delivering five key innovations in best practice. We have:
Here are some examples of how this innovation helps UK businesses to succeed.
A six-month delay for new sites ruins agility, especially when delivery slips unexpectedly. When a circuit is delayed or a disaster strikes, businesses need help immediately, not in a few months.
We built an award-winning Hybrid WAN solution. Rapid Site Deployment bonds multiple 4G connections into one fast, reliable connection that we link into our customers’ networks within two days! We use SIMs from multiple providers to create faster, more resilient connections.
No-one wants to learn new skills when they’re dealing with a catastrophe, so we do everything – even the monitoring – helping customers relax. For planned deployments we use this alongside fixed circuits to expedite deployment.
Software that runs slowly over the network is a huge problem for business. Since 70% of problems turn out not to be caused by the network, people waste time fixing problems – throwing money at inappropriate fixes such as greater bandwidth.
Improving performance requires that you monitor everything, not just the network. You need to look at the whole path of an application across your IT and you need application as well as network and IT skills. Most mid- sized businesses don’t monitor well enough to trace problems and don’t have the skills to correct them anyway.
We built a Next Generation Monitoring system with the most advanced reporting in the industry. We created an applications practice that offers application audits and Critical Path Monitoring services. We retain scarce skills in our Service Excellence team, which drops in to help trace and fix intractable problems.
We manage network, infrastructure and application performance together, to create a great experience for the users.
Most businesses pay too much for their WAN. Supply costs decline year on year, but network providers don’t pass on savings unless under pressure. Often they offer more speed, not less cost. Only a third of companies use the annual price review clause in their contract so they don’t free up funds to spend on growth.
We’ve innovated to stop that. We’ve worked out how to access multiple cost savings in UK networks and taken the bold step to share that information. We publish a guide and we offer free help. We promise to help customers take advantage of market cost reductions every year, not just at contract end. We have saved many customers 25%. Our record is 47%.
We built a Service Excellence team to offer multiple skills that customers cannot justify retaining themselves. Here are two examples:
We provide application performance audits to tackle intractable issues; monitoring, interpreting and helping to fix them. We fix many problems where it is not the network at fault and where our analysis of the application code, the database design or the server configuration saves the day
Construction and road building projects need high-performance networks for short periods. Fixed circuits take months to deliver with costs often unknown while bidding for the contract. Our experts host meetings at the site with the client and BT Openreach, allowing plans, costs and timescales to be set out before building contracts have been won. We supply 4G connections in two days, including WiFi and on-site IT setup, and migrate seamlessly to permanent circuits once delivered. This is great for projects such as the A14 extension.
Everyone benefits from a strong UK, so we are pleased to help UK plc by passing on knowledge and services, in particular via innovative services for network providers. For example:
We help IT Teams by innovating relentlessly, gaining hundreds of delighted customers, multiple awards and 15% year on year growth for the past 10 years.
The next five years will see more innovation:
Our hybrid networks, using software-defined networking (SDN), will give the best performance and price by blending all the network providers.
Customers will enjoy hyper-speed network roll-outs, transitioning seamlessly from our multi-SIM, 4G technology once permanent circuits are delivered.
By using only network providers that trade digitally, we will dramatically increase right-first-time delivery and speed of change for customers and we will take over network billing to banish billing blues forever.
We are featured in the Parliamentary Review. You can download the full document here