The digital era is creating business opportunities that are not constrained by borders, so it is likely that your company will eye new geographies and you will service clients that operate in more than one market.
The opportunities for business growth, an increased customer base and additional revenue are tremendous. Everyone is hungry for success. But this appetite for consolidation can be met only by a consistent level of connectivity, access to data, security, and customer servicing – whatever the market. Anything less is a risk to customer retention.
Either you must invest in similar ICT infrastructure and personnel in each new market, or you will have to appoint an in-market Internet Service Provider (ISP) to deliver on these demands.
Taking advantage of in-market expertise makes the most sense, particularly if you are looking to enter a less-developed region like Africa, where ICT-related expertise, licensing requirements and the number of local ISPs differs vastly from one country to the next.
Note the trademarks of reliable ISPs that are equipped to service global carriers and multinational companies:
- Market intelligence: To navigate the business and technology environments of countries you are not familiar with, it is essential that your ISP has in-depth, demonstrable knowledge of its own market, and all the markets in which it operates. In many respects, this experience is as critical as the extent of network coverage or number of data centres the ISP has installed.
- Investment in local infrastructure: An ISP with its own, in-market infrastructure has a service offering that is more stable and reliable than an ISP without, simply because it is theirs. It is an indicator of their market intelligence and the extent to which the business is established in that country.
- Partnerships with local network operators: Where owned infrastructure is not in place, carefully evaluate the ISP’s partnerships with their local network operators. These entrenched, mutually-beneficial relationships with like-minded operators should be carefully nurtured – a years-old affiliation agreement with a company your ISP has never seen is not enough.
- Network redundancy: With infrastructure investment and solid network partnerships come almost guaranteed network redundancy. This means that connectivity in your markets far afield must be as reliable as it is in your city, and that in the event of failure, network restoration is automatic and seamless. Remember, less network downtime means a more competitive advantage.
- Client service: Rather than managing several ISPs across your new markets, work with one, hands-on team that takes the load off your shoulders. You want an ISP that operates and manages a sizeable services network, across your markets, on your behalf. This streamlines the provision of services, reduces the time to log a service complaint, and simplifies billing.
Global carriers and multinational companies that have identified market expansion as key to their business growth will face many challenges.
In the area of ICT services, they can outsource this function to capable in-market ISPs and concentrate on the business of growing their business.