You have to hand it to the portal.
Of all the recent technological innovations aimed at digitally transforming the way business works, it has to be up there with the big disruptors.
It seems our insatiable workplace hunger for the simple, the quick and the efficient has intensified in tandem with the increasingly convenient and instantly-gratifying functionality of our personal devices.
Everything connected. Everything in one place. The world in the palm of our hands, so to speak.
In telecoms in particular – where necessary complexity competes constantly with users’ craving for single-click smoothness – the Service Management Portal (to give it its grand full title) has become a potent differentiator.
In a world where commoditisation of many of the individual components of a modern, efficient unified communications architecture has fuelled a race to the bottom on price, the smarts behind a brilliant, margin-rich, white-label SMP can change the game for service providers, System Integrators and Value-Added Resellers alike.
Picking the right partner is key.
“Onboarding, configuring, maintaining, even upselling – everyone wants simplicity,” says Kristian Karlsson, Product Manager at leading European UCaaS platform provider Dstny, whose powerful and clever ’Dstny for Service Providers’ SMP provides precisely that.
“That applies to the network provider, the Managed Service Provider AND the end user customer organisation. Simplifying processes and making many of them self-service positively impacts on productivity, efficiency and, ultimately, profitability.
“Time and expertise are both valuable resources so, when less of both are required to carry out more and more tasks, that impact becomes significant.”
Dstny’s hosted SMP puts that transformational power in the hands of system administrators who, in many cases, do not require the expensive and increasingly scarce skill sets that were once a pre-requisite when it came to the management of complex communications systems.
Today – despite so much riding on the unified and inter-dependent nature of those systems – intuitive and intelligent SMPs are able to provide users with an increasingly light-touch way of performing an increasing number of operational tasks.
It even starts right at the very beginning of the customer life-cycle – the selling process – with sales agents now using SMPs to demonstrate core solution functionality as well as the SMPs ability to manage it.
Once a deal has been won, organisations and/or their end customers are able to onboard using the SMP, connect end points to the network, configure preferences, monitor performance, fix issues, add and change users, and even capture and analyse user data to ensure optimum performance and design new, improved workflows.
All via the same platform and all with time (and cost)-saving simplicity.
“In the past, organisations with complex communication infrastructures have either needed an expensive in-house IT department or a service provider partner with expert support staff,” says Karlsson.
“Deploying an effective SMP takes away the need for all of that. That means an organisation can invest in brilliant support staff capable of quickly and easily resolving customer issues but who do not need to be telecoms experts.
“They simply log in to the portal and change, add and manage things themselves. Also, we developed our SMP ourselves, we maintain and support it, and we provide user training, so customers always have us in the background if they need us.”
The Dstny SMP provides flexibility too.
It is able to configure multiple source offerings, usage types and licences, and integrates easily via APIs with multiple third-party applications such as billing platforms and CRMs.
Brilliantly, it even supports the upselling process; contributing positively to the bottom line and therefore demonstrating an impressive return on investment.
“In the beginning, end user organisations can be nervous,” says Karlsson.
“However, in time, they see the advantages of additional service offerings and realise how easily they can be procured and deployed via the portal.
“For example, they may not have wished to discuss data analysis functionality at the point of signing a contract because their business wasn’t sufficiently mature in that area. But, after a couple of months, and thanks to the system visibility provided by the SMP, they see the advantages it would bring.
“There may not be an incentive for a salesman to go after that business due to low commission rates, but that doesn’t matter because the customer is able to try out and then add that functionality itself with just a few clicks via the SMP dashboard.”
It seems the portal really does pack a powerful punch.
To learn more about how Dstny can help your and your customers’ businesses digitise and thrive, visit Dstny.
This post originally appeared on Service Management - Enterprise - Channel News - UC Today.