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3. Taking the "Custom" out of "Customer"
Presented by Mark Lindsey, ECG
Engineers live to build things, and solve new problems. But if every customer becomes an opportunity to design afresh, then no two customers will be alike. The service provider that prides itself on "custom tailored solutions" must realize that such flexibility requires engineering-level support for practically all troubleshooting, and engineering-level support for every single sale.
The alternative extreme is the Bellhead way: where no product is released until it is fully planned, engineered, tested, documented, and supported by trained workmen. This process of productization can take years. But the result is something known to work which can be applied repeatedly by lesser-skilled staff, or even automated.
This talk describes that great value in a middle way: where custom engineering is minimized, and standardized products are planned and reasonably tested before release or deployment with customers. The surprising advantage is that sales appears to become easier, and deployments less costly with reusable components and standardized network designs. Service providers with strict productization appear to expand much faster than those built solely on custom engineering. We give concrete examples of the kinds of productization we have seen in use that help VoIP Service Providers to improve their networks and support customers better.