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Savvy Providers Move Quickly
by Michelle Wagner-Suziedelis, Director of Vizada Americas Product Management and Customer Care

Product Perspective graphic As is true within any industry at this time, satellite service providers are being asked to find efficiencies wherever possible. While the pressure to save costs has obviously increased in the last many months, this drive for efficiency is not entirely new — and, in fact, has been slowly gaining momentum over several years, both from a cost standpoint and a competitive management perspective. At the same time, businesses of all types are being held to a greater level of accountability, fueling the demand for instant information access and the ability to tightly control and manage accounts. The confluence of these market forces has ushered in a new era of high expectations for service in the MSS industry and the development of business management tools for enhanced customer administration a welcome necessity. It’s imperative that service providers hear the call of efficiency and get positioned to operate with and pass the benefits of efficiency to end customers.

Helping Service Providers Succeed
There are a plethora of new services, products, and end-to-end solutions available for service providers to “up” their game and weather the challenges in today’s business environment. One example, The Source® by Vizada, serves as a central nervous system for service providers to manage their business instantly at an exceptional level of detail across the full range of network services Vizada offers. Using a single portal interface, The Source helps service providers increase activation speed, boost revenue power with value added services, ensure cost control for end customers, provide detailed and accurate tracking reports, and troubleshoot problems to ensure high service quality. Given the focus not only on cost-saving but on improved business management, capabilities such as those provided through The Source are needed more than ever. Vizada’s network of more than 400 service providers has 1500 plus individual users who actively rely on The Source today.

Over the last two years, Vizada has doubled its investment in customer service resources, including the continued development of The Source. Vizada is committed to ensuring that The Source operates and continues to evolve as a sophisticated business management platform giving service providers the business function they need in the ever changing MSS marketplace. As part of this ongoing development, Vizada has been, and will continue to roll out a series of enhancements to The Source throughout this year.

Walton Ad SM Sep09 Grady Jeffreys, technical specialist at Mackay Communications, commented recently that, “The Source is a great Service Provider interface and a pleasure to access.  I get the reports I need with a single click. The Source has helped our company greatly.  I look forward to each new enhancement.”

Shared Benefits for Service Providers/Customers
Tools such as The Source not only help service providers be more efficient but also help their customers closely manage risk and ascertain information essential to running their day-to-day business. This level of customer control and immediate access to their business data helps service providers pass value and be more responsive to their end customers. By setting account limits for example, The Source enables service providers to help customers manage financial risk with automatic reminders to renew their purchase orders/service contract or to top up their account. Limits and alerts provide customers with regular, automated updates regarding their traffic/usage profile/pattern to better manage and control costs.

Vizada also knows that versatile billing capabilities are important to service providers and their customers. The Source offers service providers use of either our free of charge, proprietary system called IBIS (Innovative Billing Information System) or a billing system of their choice. The IBIS end user billing system allows service providers to brand invoices for their end users with their own logo, define service rates, manage end user accounts and terminals, manage tariffs including currency and language of invoices, as well as create and print invoices. And, at the touch of a button, service providers can generate custom reports for informed business decision-making or end-user analysis. As Vizada deals with hundreds of small service providers without a deep internal team, the goal is to find new ways to make it easier for them to grow their business and meet customer needs.

“The Source is a prime example of how Vizada helps our service providers maximize revenue from their MSS business,” said Lawrence Paul, Vice President of Business Development and Portfolio Management. “Vizada has known for some time that the trend toward enhanced business management tools and service automation was coming and that was the impetus behind the development and growth of this business management tool.”

Speed To Service
Speed to service activation is a critical element of revenue generation for service providers. Simply put, the faster you activate new service subscriptions, the greater the impact to your bottom line. With some commercial customers and government users spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars a day in service usage, every minute it takes to activate a satellite terminal is important. The Source helps service providers significantly increase their service activation rate for all Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya services. Vizada’s new batch activation capabilities can increase activation speed 20:1.

New satellite user accounts can be activated or suspended singly and in batches as needed. Previously, service activation required calls to multiple vendors and could take days to finalize. Now those same steps and more take as little as a few minutes. Service providers have become used to this speed of service in other aspects of their business and expect it even when dealing with complex global satellite networks involving multiple network operators.

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Collaboration between Vizada and its partners is the key to these innovations. For instance, when emergency response customers needed to save precious time, Vizada took action and added the batch activation feature. This solution for services such as Iridium and Thuraya now allows for as many as 20 accounts to be up and running in mere minutes. That was unheard of just a few years ago. Batch activations for BGAN and FleetBroadband terminals will be available later this year.

Growing Revenue With Customer Loyalty
iDirect Ad SM Sep09 While basic connectivity is the key component to any satcom solution, end user customers receive enhanced capabilities and service providers more revenue benefit when services are bundled at the point of activation. Vizada Solutions™ are Vizada’s proprietary portfolio of value-added services. Through The Source, service providers are able to instantly enroll their customers in value-adds such as flexible IP networking or fixed-to-mobile solutions. New services and features of the Vizada Solutions suite will be available for online activation via The Source later this year.

Prepaid services also continue to gain ground especially in the Latin American and African markets, as well as more and more here in the United States. The Source allows partners to order, activate and reload cards, as well as access card history, all with the click of a mouse.

Soon The Source will also provide service providers immediate access to available promotions and special pricing offers during service activation. Integrating promotions and activations in a self service format enables service providers to be more efficient while providing better value to customers at the same time.

Lastly, the ability to troubleshoot systems helps service providers maintain revenue and service levels. Satcom1 and Phoenix Avionics Systems, two Vizada service providers serving the aeronautical market for example, use The Source to track and troubleshoot communication problems onboard aircrafts. Through this online tool, they can constantly monitor for network outages and see if any particular issue is linked to the satellite, the ground network or the hardware on board the aircraft itself. This allows them to closely monitor costs and provide a rapid and more effective response to their customers. All of these capabilities help the service provider increase end-user loyalty and retention.

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Savvy and Smart = Success
Savvy service providers today have many new tools they can tap into that allow them to operate efficiently, increase revenue, all the while building customer loyalty. The key is to identify which tools will impact your business the most.

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Vizada’s The Source is one solution with the potential to add tremendous business value to service providers and, ultimately, to end customers and, at no cost. By addressing the complete customer business cycle, from activation to up-selling, from ongoing service to account management, a self-service tool becomes a critical component to strengthening customer relationships and an integral part of a service provider’s day-to-day business. Customers and service providers are pushing Vizada every day for greater and greater levels of information and additional features and functionality through tools like The Source.

In a business climate that demands we do much more with less, it’s important to offer service providers ways to take care of their own needs while creating win/win scenarios for them and their customers.

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