Business Demands Network Flexibility

SAN MATEO (06/05/2000) - The signs of upheaval in the telecom world are everywhere. The trucks I see parked outside homes and businesses on my way to work every day -- ambitious Baby Bell Atlantic, upstart provider Teligent Inc., and cable companies such as RCN -- indicates the opportunistic mood of this one-time staid marketplace.

These new players, along with hundreds of ISPs and ASPs (application service providers), are trying to bundle a range of services at the lowest cost to get enterprises to outsource more and more of their networking needs. The problem for enterprises is shaky reliability and limited services.

Our stories on this week's Supercomm trade show highlight the role played by packet-based technology in enabling this new breed of service providers. By leveraging IP for data and voice services, providers will lower costs and deliver services faster.

But as our news story by Jennifer Jones points out, most enterprises are wary of making the leap to services such as VOIP (voice over IP) because the technology is still so new.

Unfortunately, the wave of new service providers that followed the rise of the Web does not inspire confidence either. In the area of hosting, for example, enterprises have been forced to pull applications in-house because ISPs or co-location facilities dropped the ball one too many times.

The decision of what to outsource and which vendor to choose is difficult. But despite this burgeoning telecom market, enterprises ultimately will need more and more networking skills in-house.

With the rise of business-to-business e-business, companies -- and revenue opportunities -- are built on networks. A trading exchange, or e-marketplace, is essentially an ASP for hosting procurement and supply-chain applications.

In order to succeed, savvy businesses will invest in their own mission-critical infrastructure, and learn to leverage the field of New Age telecom providers.

Are you relying more or less on outsourcing to hit your e-business goals?

Write to me at martin_lamonica@infoworld.com.

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