Network services slammed over poor service

John Riley

Network services companies have come under fire from IT directors for poor service, lack of flexibility, slow...

John Riley

Network services companies have come under fire from IT directors for poor service, lack of flexibility, slow responsiveness and a raft of other shortcomings.

The criticisms were made in a report published last week based on three think- tanks of IT directors at the recent IT Directors' Forum onboard the cruise ship Aurora.

While IT directors have few gripes with networking hardware, they criticised network service providers on several specific counts:

  • Lack of flexibility in pricing structures

  • Slow service provision, with delays of one to three months common

  • Lack of sufficiently sensitive or appropriate tools for managing security or measuring network performance

  • Declining service quality on some managed network services, especially international

  • Lack of informed advice

  • Failure to truly understand the real implications of voice and data convergence for the user, or for their own products and services

  • Failure of suppliers to improve their own internal systems, and improve response and support

  • Overcharging.

    The directors said networking suppliers need to be more proactive than they are today. "They must work harder to understand our business," said one.

    The report said suppliers need to improve their responsiveness and understand that a three-month wait for installation is not acceptable. They should be consistent, open and honest about services they can and cannot offer, and work on understanding the true importance of global capability and consistency of service.

    Suppliers also need to learn about themselves and their own product portfolio and to have a single integrated internal view of their customers' needs, the report said.

    As well as supplier issues, the think-tanks found the main focus areas for managing an increasingly network-centric world are capacity planning, security, and maintaining service levels. Other interrelated issues include providing adequate storage, mobility, and the arrival of domestic broadband.

    IT directors said they are now having to second-guess the implications of new end-user devices and cope with user misuse and abuse of the network and outdated regulatory compliance issues.

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