Case Studies Overview
Many carriers have chosen NDA to help improve their quoting and sales process efficiencies. Here are a few examples illustrating the extraordinary results achieved.
The Business Challenge
Meriplex, a managed cybersecurity, IT and SD-WAN solutions provider with headquarters in Houston, Texas, was looking for a way to increase the efficiency of their vendor quoting. At the time, Meriplex was buying circuits from about thirty providers. Whenever there was a need for a new circuit quote, reps would either access multiple Excel spreadsheets provided by their vendors to determine which vendors could service the location and then manually calculate the price based on each vendor’s rate card, and/or send an email to each vendor and wait for a response back. This was a very tedious and time-consuming process. Furthermore, due to the time involved to manually check availability and pricing with each vendor, it was unlikely that all thirty vendors were considered on every quote leading to potentially less competitive quotes being proposed to customers. With Meriplex seeing an increase in their quote volumes, it was becoming increasingly difficult to respond to quote requests in a timely manner. As a result, it became necessary for them to find a way to make their processes more efficient to keep up with increasing demand.
Sell-n-Serve has saved myself and my team countless hours, days, even weeks of manual labor. We used to send individual emails to 10 vendors and had to look at a map on my wall to determine if we’re talking to the right LEC or Carrier. This has given my team the opportunity to find more and more carriers for us to partner with and has certainly allowed us to quote at least 10 times the number of solutions for our clients.
After evaluating several options, Meriplex chose NDA’s Sell-n-Serve to help them automate their manual quoting processes due to NDA’s expertise and Sell-n-Serve’s robust and flexible quoting functionality. NDA guided Meriplex through the implementation to ensure that each vendor was implemented based on Meriplex’s exact buying needs. Vendors were implemented based on what they offered for quoting – some via API and some via data load. Due to Sell-n-Serve’s flexible architecture, new vendors could be added by Meriplex in a matter of days without programming.
The resulting Sell-n-Serve application for Meriplex was able to generate quotes within minutes instead of days. All vendor quotes were presented to the user in an easy to read fashion allowing the user to quickly select the best option for the customer. Large RFPs could also be easily processed via uploading Excel files with the quote requirements. Quote results were then populated in the same Excel file.
“Sell-n-Serve has saved myself and my team countless hours, days, even weeks of manual labor” says Eric O’Shea, Presales Coordinator. “We used to send individual emails to 10 vendors and had to look at a map on my wall to determine if we’re talking to the right LEC or Carrier. This has given my team the opportunity to find more and more carriers for us to partner with and has certainly allowed us to quote at least 10 times the number of solutions for our clients.”
“The API tie-ins, the customizability, and the constant improvements are well worth the time and money. My favorite thing about NDA themselves is the relationship we have. If I need an additional feature, or even just need to pick someone’s brain, I am always talking to the same person, Desiree.”
Additional Streamlining via Network Locator
NDA now directly provides availability updates for most of Meriplex’s vendor partners through its Network Locator platform. Instead of Meriplex having to upload new building lists from its vendors into its Sell-n-Serve instance, NDA manages the building list updates through its direct relationships with vendors. Network Locator also gives Meriplex access to availability from vendors they don’t have relationships with. This gives them additional visibility into other potential offerings they would not have otherwise considered.
“We are delighted to be a part of Meriplex’s journey to bring automation to their buy side quoting”, says Desiree Dortok, Director of Customer Solutions at NDA. “We look forward to our continued partnership, helping Meriplex as their needs change and business grows.”
Co-founded in 2001 by Chief Executive Officer David Henley, Meriplex is a managed service provider that serves as a trusted technology partner to enterprises nationwide. As a leading MSP, they implement comprehensive IT and security solutions tailor-made to help businesses modernize their networks, protect their data and assets, streamline their communications, and more. This scalable, cutting-edge technology, coupled with best-in-class expertise and 24/7 support from a dedicated team, is empowering companies to achieve operational excellence, gain a competitive advantage, and set themselves up for long-term success. For more information, visit www.meriplex.com.
Founded in 1983, Network Design and Analysis Corporation has specialized in quoting and sales automation software solutions for the telecom industry. Some of the largest telecom providers around the world rely on NDA's expertise and solutions to support their quoting operations. NDA’s solutions help service providers automate the selling of their own services, as well the purchasing of wholesale services around the world. NDA is recognized for the ability to meet customers' exact specifications under aggressive timelines and for providing unparalleled support to its customers. NDA’s solutions are continually evolving through the feedback received by its customers and the current challenges of the industry. For more information, visit www.ndacorp.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
TPx Communications (previously Telepacific Communications), is a Managed Services Carrier providing unified communications, managed IT and network connectivity across the United States. Before working with NDA, off-net access quoting at TPx was a very manual and time consuming process. Requests were sent by Sales to a quoting group who then generated the quotes by referencing multiple very large Excel spreadsheets, logging into vendor online quoting portals and contacting vendors directly via email. It was becoming more and more difficult for this team to handle all the requests coming in and responding in a timely manner.
The Business Challenge
TPx was looking for a way to help streamline their off-net quoting process and enable them to process requests more quickly. “TPx choose NDA for several reasons. First and foremost is the depth of industry knowledge and experience the NDA team has in automating the quote desk. The experience of the developers really stood out as a core competency. The second is the fact that NDA is one of the few vendors we see who actively monitor and update tariff-based access offerings using a dedicated team of expert Analysts. The on-going tariff management differentiates NDA’s SellnServe from all the other vendor offerings we looked at.” – Mike Jacoby, Program Manager at TPx.
Solution Provided by NDA
In July, 2014, Phase 1 of Sell-n-Serve was implemented for TPx’s Access Quoting group to help them keep up with the large quote request volumes they were receiving. The first phase included implementation of the special access tariffs maintained by NDA and TPx’s UNE pricing. Other vendor costing was then added as TPx established rules for what they wanted implemented with each vendor. TPx currently has all the vendors that they buy from modelled in Sell-n-Serve. This includes direct integration to nine vendor pricing tools via API, contracted rates and availability for over twenty vendors, TPx’s UNE pricing and tariff pricing maintained by NDA.
Mike Jacoby had the following to say about the Sell-n-Serve implementation at TPx: “TPx has seen the following benefits of Sell-n-Serve within our organization:
- Increased quote volumes predominately by going from a manual time consuming process to an automated process. In 2014, the team could process 125 unique locations per month. With the help of NDA Sell-n-Serve, the team was able to improve both the accuracy AND volume of the quote desk to over 11,000 quotes per month. This is an almost 9,000% increase in volume.
- Decreased quote turnaround times from 24-48 hours per team member to near real-time. The ability to quickly respond to opportunities whose cost basis is variable to the access expense has been invaluable to winning deals. In addition, the system API allowed TPx to tie into configuration tools that allowed over 300 Sales people to take advantage of the automation.
- The API integration with our vendors enabled TPx to improve its addressable market by over 30%. The increased visibility to lower cost access solutions also improved our negotiating leverage with our buy-side vendors.
- Centralized control and administration of all our vendor’s offerings has allowed TPx to control the risk involved with vendor quotes. By limiting vendor offers using the features of Sell-n-Serve, TPx can refine the vendor footprint, eliminate problematic options, and introduce weighting factors that more accurately identify issues during the Quoting phase so that all costs and risks are identified when Sales is setting Customer expectations. This has allowed TPx to decrease the frequency of order defects as well as ensure proper margins for our Services.
- The reporting feature in Sell-n-Serve allows TPx to query historic quoted values to aid in substantiating claims. TPx also uses the data for presentation to our vendors, helping in negotiation of better rates.
I have worked with Baris and his team at Network Design and Analysis on two major projects. In each case, I found the team NDA has assembled to have an uncommon depth of Industry knowledge. This knowledge along with a truly competent IT development skill set was invaluable to the automation of the TPx Quote Desk. The team was professional, articulate, transparent, and timely in their deliverables. I commend them for going even beyond their original scope to ensure the success of the project by working with in-house resources to develop a supportable platform.
After quickly seeing the benefits of the application and more and more areas of the business expressing interest in the information it provided, an integration was done into TPx’s sales tool so that Sales could instantly see the available off-net providers serving their customer locations without having to go through the Access Quoting group. Not only did this help reduce workloads on the Access Planning group, but it also provided instant information to Sales.
Sell-n-Serve is now an integral part of TPx’s operations. Future plans include leveraging the SnS API to integrate with TPx’s back end systems. This will allow TPx to retire outdated platforms and simplify the IT support requirements. NDA also uses the feedback it gets from TPx and its other customers to continue to evolve the platform to address customer needs.
TELUS is the largest telecommunications company in Western Canada and the second largest in the country. TELUS provides a wide range of wireline and wireless telecommunications products and services including data, Internet Protocol (IP), voice, video and entertainment services. Their wholesale division, TELUS Partner Solutions, supports service providers around the world with connectivity, consulting and outsourcing services.
The Business Challenge
TELUS Partner Solutions wanted to improve its quoting process for service provider clients. The existing semi-automated process was becoming resource intensive because many clients required multiple quotes for large network design projects. As part of the enhancement, TELUS also wanted to accelerate turnaround times to ensure faster response and closing cycles. There was also a desire to centralize quoting to improve tracking and reporting capabilities.
TELUS chose to automate the quoting process to achieve its objectives. After investigating solution options, TELUS chose NDA because of:
- NDA's knowledge of telecom pricing issues
- Previous positive experience with NDA's products
- NDA's experience with other major carriers
- The solution’s simple maintenance and adaptation to ongoing change
Solution Provided by NDA
NDA's solution for TELUS, the Customer Facing Pricing Tool (CFPT), is a web-based, TELUS-branded application that allows customers to instantly create and save private line quotes (Today, CFPT also quotes Carrier Ethernet Optical, Carrier Ethernet Switched, IP VPN and Carrier WAN products). Customer-specific rates are automatically applied as appropriate. If pricing requires TELUS review or customers have questions on quotes, a TELUS rep is notified with the click of a button.
In less than a year of CFPT implementation, TELUS' quoting resources have decreased by 90% and turnaround times for quotes requiring manual intervention have decreased from 48 hours to 12 hours. Quote volumes have also almost doubled.
Internal TELUS team members also use CFPT to view customer-generated quotes, create quotes and engage product management when required through CFPT's workflow capability. Internal users also have additional functionality including entering special pricing and creating reports on quoting activities. Win/loss activity is also tracked for management review.
NDA monitors tariff changes on a daily basis and provides bi-monthly updates to CFPT. TELUS is able to update proprietary rates and service availability indicators without programming. NDA customized CFPT for TELUS in six weeks.
CFPT was released to customers in January 2008. TELUS' customers were pleased to have access to CFPT to be able to quote at their discretion, receive instant pricing and do “what if” scenarios. CFPT is now a critical tool in TELUS' daily operations.
Louis Wei, Product Manager responsible for overseeing CFPT's use at TELUS, is impressed by the solution results. "In less than a year of CFPT implementation, TELUS' quoting resources have decreased by 90%, and turnaround times for quotes requiring manual intervention have decreased from 48 hours to 12 hours. Quote volumes have also almost doubled." When asked about TELUS' satisfaction in working with NDA, Louis remarks, "We are very satisfied with NDA's service. NDA is very quick to respond to questions and issues. We find the trouble ticketing system really valuable, and I've seen very fast response times."
Boundaries are disappearing. Businesses operate with fewer borders. People everywhere communicate more freely and more frequently than ever before. The e-world. A trillion dollar global communications market. It’s today’s world.
Global Crossing Ltd., (NYSE:GX) recognized that to make it all work – to make the global economy soar – today’s world needed something better than yesterday’s networks. By mid-2001, Global Crossing will have more than 100,000 route miles, reaching five continents, 27 countries, and more than 200 major cities, thereby providing integrated telecommunications solutions over the world’s most extensive global IP-based fiber-optic network. This unmatched network lets Global Crossing offer customers, many of whom are the world’s largest corporations, a constantly expanding suite of services, providing a full range of managed data and voice communications solutions, throughout the Americas, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.
Alternately, Global Crossing recognized that today’s unique business challenges required something better than yesterday’s standard software programs. Which is why they embraced NDA’s Account Management System (AMS) as the right solution to tackle the new economy’s demanding business environment (Today, AMS is known as Sell-n-Serve).
Frederick Paine is a Senior Manager of Infrastructure Product Development in the Global Product Development Group. Fred discusses the business challenges his Global Crossing team faced and how AMS addressed those needs and exceeded expectations.
AMS Product Scope and Architecture
Global Crossing and NDA have been doing business since 1999. In this time NDA has met or exceeded all expectations with speed to market, pricing accuracy, system performance, quick data turnarounds, flexibility to changing requirements, and providing world class innovative solutions to handle the complex telecom world of today. NDA's AMS system is the benchmark within Global Crossing for how things need to be done.
At Global Crossing, Account Management System (AMS) is a consultative selling solution deployed to decrease the sales cycle time by providing up front validations for network designs and pricing. The AMS design also allows each Global Crossing Product Manager to have complete control over their products’ pricing strategies, providing the necessary granularity to achieve profit maximization. AMS also supports extensive reporting structures allowing senior management to snapshot pre-sales trends and obtain information down to the individual and circuit level.
The current design of AMS is entirely web based, built on highly redundant software and hardware architectures and accessible from any location within the Global Crossing Intranet.
The Business Challenge
Global Crossing's product sets and customer base has been expanding at an ever-increasing rate. With this expansion the functionality and complexity required for managing customer relationships, pricing and the telecom infrastructure has also increased tremendously.
The AMS Solution
AMS provides a centralized data repository where all prices, discount structures, business rules and promotional plans are stored. Any modifications performed at this singular data location automatically are in place at the very next login by the Sales Rep. AMS provides a centralized control structure for pricing for all data products.
With a single point for rich pricing, engineering infrastructure, sales and customer specific data, AMS has quickly become the 'data master' for most other applications in Global Crossing.
By providing a standardized legally approved proposal document Global Crossing is able to present a singular professional image to all our customers. Moreover, AMS provides a singular data storage site from which Pre-Sales demographics can be obtained. This data is also stored in standardized corporate approved formats (HTML, Word, Excel, Visio).
AMS provides a consistent informational sharing schema and is a totally electronic solution. Complete information can easily be shared throughout the organization via the software itself or general business mail tools.
AMS also provides built-in Engineering rules that provide up-front validation preventing many common errors and increasing the accuracy of the solution. This up-front validation thus greatly speeds up the validation process, as fewer checks need to be performed. AMS electronically submits the order information into the backend support systems eliminating completely the need for printed order forms. This greatly reduced the sales cycle time as there is no longer a need for any manual re-entry of information and as such, many errors are avoided.
Global Crossing identified a number of factors in selecting NDA as their vendor:
- Reputation - NDA is world-renowned and provides data support for all major telecom carriers.
- Cost - The AMS solution provides a complete CRM (Customer Relationship Management) package specifically tailored to the telecom environment costing a percentage of what other CRM packages of this caliber require.
- People - NDA is staffed by some of the best minds in the software and telecom industries. The majority of NDA's staff have advanced degrees (PhD's) as well as certifications in all the major development environments.
- Open Architecture - AMS is designed in a modular format allowing for easy integration into existing legacy systems (Back Office). AMS also provides a simple, open interface for either sending or receiving data in many formats including XML, HTML, Microsoft Excel, MS Access, and flat files.
- Non-proprietary Technologies - NDA utilizes only standard off the shelf technologies (IIS, Oracle, JAVA, HTML, etc.).
- Flexibility - NDA customizes their product to exactly meet the requirements of all Global Crossing Business groups worldwide.
Objective AchievementsBusiness Achievements Cost Saving Achievements Product Achievements
NDA's AMS has been in full production supporting the entire Global Crossing sales force since the end of 1999. Global Crossing will continue to expand the global AMS install base and further integrate the AMS solution into more and more of the operations infrastructure. Furthermore, we plan to continue to expand the capabilities of AMS as they have shown tremendous capabilities to integrate their product with other vendors and internal systems.
Facing an intensely competitive market, ARBROS Communications, a relatively new communications provider serving the mid- and northeastern American states, had been looking for a system to help its sales force of 160. Since the company's inception in 1999, the sales department had used a combination of manual and semi-automated systems to support quotations, contact management, field pricing, rate maintenance and network inventory. ARBROS needed an all-in-one system that could be easily customized and was easy to use. Most of all it wanted a scalable product that would grow as the company expanded.
We can offer more services than we ever could before by using this tool. That's the advantage right out of the gate.
The Sales & Marketing department was contemplating a purchase when they saw a demo of the NDA Account Management System (AMS), currently known as Sell-n-Serve. "NDA came in and blew away all the other contenders," says Gerard Adore, Senior Manager for Product Marketing at ARBROS. "It was a complete solution, one that we could grow into as we moved forward as an organization." Adore and his team recognized AMS as more than just a pricing tool. AMS can handle order processing, contact management and can interface to third party mapping products, to help determine product availability at any given location.
Comprehensive Quotation System
At times, sales staff were using up to four different software applications for items such as marketing material, contact management, and preparation of proposals and pricing models. Furthermore, ARBROS staff used to prepare some quotes manually, going to a map to calculate mileage for a proposal.
"To have someone go on the pricing system and automatically feel comfortable navigating it, that was what made me look at NDA closer."
Looking for an alternative, the sales department drew up a list of requirements that included a common user interface, accurate pricing using current tariff information, customizable quotes and proposals, and the ability to tie into legacy systems. Most important, ARBROS wanted a consolidation of services in one tool. NDA's solution was the Account Management System (AMS) a Client/Server, NT/Oracle application.
AMS is a web-based, integrated quote, proposal, order request, rate maintenance, order processing and network inventory system for data, voice and managed services. Carriers gain enterprise-wide access to Customer Profiles and Rate information from a centralized server to ensure enhanced control and consistency in Pricing and Customer data. AMS features: Customer Profiling and Contact Management, Network Planning, Competitive Pricing, Standard and Special Plans Pricing, Rate Database Maintenance, Quoting, Proposing and Order Requesting, Funnel Management and Order Processing/Workflow Management.
"It is a complete solution," exclaims ARBROS' Gerard Adore. "We’ll grow into NDA's solution as we move forward as an organization. This is where and how we need to grow and NDA gives us the best ability to shape the way we’re going to operate."
Through XML, AMS can easily interface to front and back office applications. AMS is integrated with other productivity improvement applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, VISIO & MapInfo.
Accuracy of Quotes
AMS has a single, centralized database for pricing, which is managed at the corporate level with the proper implementation of design rules. The competitive tariff database is extensive with over 3000 US, Canadian and International tariffs. For the US, all RBOC, IXC and most independent Carrier rates are supported and updated twice per month by NDA. AMS comes with a powerful Tariff Editor for easy rate, discount plan, POP, mileage and NPANXX data maintenance. With the Tariff Editor, updates, changes and even the addition of new Carriers and their rates can be added in-house without any programming.
"If a sales person is comfortable with the information they get with a pricing system, then they're that much more confident of winning over the business. NDA has given us the chance to change the way we do business."
Gerard Adore explains his choice of NDA's Account Management System, "We are focused on data services, and in order to price our data services we needed the ability to price distance-sensitive tariffs. The accuracy of pricing is exceptional. AMS has exceeded our expectations."
"We didn’t have the ability to price out distance-sensitive or mileage-sensitive services, particularly data products. That was putting us at a huge disadvantage in the market. Since we installed AMS we've been able to close more business which means we're more competitive."
AMS allows telecom carriers and resellers to confidently prepare quotes. Competitive pricing depends on reliable tariff data and intimate knowledge of carrier services. NDA has been providing accurate and consistent pricing and network design software to the largest telecom carriers since 1983.
Professional Looking Quotes – Customized to match your existing marketing material
A key feature of AMS is that it is easily customized to incorporate a provider's exact rates, services, facilities and terminology. "NDA was the only company that met 100% of our needs from a customizable perspective," states Gerard. "When we generate a proposal, AMS gives us the ability to include information on our company and other products we're selling."
AMS enables the creation of Quotes, Proposals and Orders. Once the quote is approved, the proposal and order request can be automatically populated and generated. AMS captures order issue date, due date, and actual installation date. The Quotes, Proposals and Orders can be tailored to any carrier's specifications with minimal customization.
Once an order has been created, using Workflow Management, AMS sends the order to various departments in series or in parallel for implementation and approval. Approvals, rejections and delays are tracked and the customer's netowork inventory is automatically updated when orders have been completed.
Sales Managers and Account Managers can generate sales reports instantly for Quotes, Proposals and Orders by Month, Year, Representative, Customer, and Service for dollar amount Issued, Sold, Lost, and Expired.
ARBROS® Communications, Inc., founded in March 1999, is a facilities-based integrated communications provider serving small and medium businesses in the northeastern United States. ARBROS offers an integrated package of voice, data and Internet communication services and seeks to provide exceptional customer service to businesses traditionally underserved by incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers. ARBROS is headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., with facilities in Washington, D.C., Landover, Md., Richmond, Va., Northern Virginia, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Pa., Newark, N.J., New York and Boston.
Network Design and Analysis Corporation (NDA), based in Toronto, Canada, provides customized Network quotation, inventory, account management and order processing solutions to Telecommunications Carriers and Resellers. Since its foundation in 1983, NDA has focused on network pricing, optimization, order processing and inventory management applications. NDA has developed expertise in interpreting, implementing and maintaining telecommunications rates for over 30 years. NDA is working closely with many carriers like Verizon, CenturyLink, NTT, etc., to drive enhanced productivity and reduced operating expenses.