Your network is one of the most important commodities in your business. Why? Local technology consultants who sell their network services want to manage your network. Your telephone company and many competing telephone service providers want access to your network to sell you VOIP telephone services. Security vendors want access to your vendors so they can provide hosted security solutions.
Guess what your “telephone company” is no longer just the traditional telephone company but that includes your cable company, your Internet service provider and any other company who can provide you with telephone service.
What’s common with all of these service providers (or with all of the smart ones) is that once they sell you the core service they initially sold you they can more easily cross sell you other services they offer or sold through partnership agreements with another provider.
Let’s take a look at your telephone company. Maybe you get your service from Verizon. Once Verizon has your telephone service, they’re in a ripe location, based on their relationship with you, to sell you their security and hosting services as well.
Although many of the very large companies, due to the newness of this market and their need to better align their marketing are not as skilled in cross selling their myriad number of services, I’d say that just about all the smaller vendors have plans and/or are currently selling a host of bundled services.
One example of such vendor is Evolve IP, whose white paper, Business VOIP Buyer’s Guide is very good reading.
This managed telephone provider (competing head on with companies such as M5 Neworks) bundles all the e-mail, telephone, back-end networking, security and data applications a company needs into a single package that is managed and hosted remotely by just one provider. This includes Internet, VoIP, instant messaging, servers, firewalls, etc.-so that business owners can avoid the time-consuming and pesky tasks of maintaining their phone/computer systems and coordinating with multiple vendors, and can focus instead on what’s really important: running their business.
The big advantage of selecting one vendor to provide your network, security and data hosting service, is that you have ONE vendor to deal with for all your needs and you’ll probably get lower prices. The disadvantage is that if something goes wrong (the vendor goes out of business; the relationship goes sour; they have a problem with their network; etc) all the services you receive from them could suffer.
The fight for your network, is not going to stop at your network and basic hosting services. Expect your provider to also sell or pass leads to partners who sell hosted applications.