Ciena Corporation has announced the results of a Vanson Bourne survey indicating that almost four in ten (39%) Western European enterprises are unsatisfied with their current connectivity supplier – revealing an opportunity for service providers to address enterprise customer pain points by tailoring services. Nearly one-quarter of UK enterprises (23%) pointed to customer service as the main weakness of service providers, while French and German enterprises seemed more concerned about the slow speed of connection (19% and 21%, respectively).
Overall, almost four in ten surveyed enterprises fail to describe themselves as satisfied with the service quality and value of their WAN connectivity service, with similar results for French, German and UK enterprises specifically. Dutch enterprises are particularly discontent, with almost half describing themselves as less than satisfied (47%). These results imply that there is strong demand across all of these markets for service providers to improve business service offerings to better serve the evolving needs of enterprise customers.
Enterprises in particular sectors display even greater degrees of dissatisfaction with their current connectivity provider. In the utilities sector, more than four in ten surveyed companies (44%) described themselves as less than satisfied, followed closely by finance (43%) and the public sector (40%). When asked about the key weakness of connectivity suppliers, almost a quarter (23%) of companies in the financial sector cited the lack of tailored service level agreements, while the media & entertainment sector sees the low speed of connection as a weak point (27%), and utilities companies highlighted both the low speed of connection (18%) and low security standards (18%). The findings can be linked to the need for tailored vertical business services, expanding the emphasis from just the network to also include the specific requirements of the end customers.
The results also highlight the need for service providers to take regional differences into consideration when developing business services. When asked about the key challenge affecting WAN connectivity requirements and planning, about a quarter (24%) of British interviewees mentioned budget constraints. That seems less of a constraint in other European markets, with about a third (32%) of German companies highlighting security concerns and about a quarter (24%) of Dutch respondents citing higher expectations from corporate users.
Overall, the most important criterion for enterprises selecting a WAN connectivity provider are the security of data being transmitted (31%), bandwidth (22%) and price (16%). Data security during transfer is particularly important for French and German enterprises and the main selection criterion for 38% and 36% of enterprises, respectively. Even though bandwidth and security were also important criteria for Dutch enterprises, the findings showed that tailored service level agreements were a priority for one fifth (20%) of surveyed Dutch enterprises.
Nick Walden, regional managing director, Northern Europe at Ciena commented “The enterprise connectivity sector is often perceived as saturated, with little room for service providers to move from a price-based to a value-based competitive position. Given that a significant portion of European enterprises are discontent with their current connectivity services, there is an opportunity for innovative service providers to differentiate enterprise services – as long as they can effectively identify and address the requirements of specific business segments. This is where Ciena’s expertise comes in. We work closely with service providers to identify potential customer segments and design services that meet their unique business requirements.”