Solutioning vs. Traditional Sourcing: How to Effectively Transform Your Network


A digital network transformation project is more than just a shift in technology. In these engagements, which are typically large and complex, there is also a transformative shift to an OpEx model and anything that resembles “aaS.” Traditional network carriers are struggling to respond to managed network services (MNS) RFPs and understand the true nature and scope of projects.

Traditional telcos approach the customer with a defined set of products, priced and delivered in a static model. From a contractual perspective, terms and conditions, contract values and pricing are negotiable. Most telcos, when responding to an advisor-led deal, redline the customer’s requirements until it resembles their standard service.

Conversely, service integrators approach outsourcing by designing a tailored solution that solves for the customer’s specific requirements. Developing a custom solution necessitates significant custom work that uses multiple partners to achieve the desired end state and because there is no guarantee that each and every component matches the client’s requirement, it has the potential to extend the proposed timeline.

Optimizing the Network RFP Process

Advisor-led solutioning gives enterprises access to emerging technologies while retaining centralized management. This approach delivers technologies, methodologies, processes and tools to ensure the right people, resources, skills and staffing are in place and drives operational efficiency, streamlined processes and procedures and optimized cost for the business wherever possible. In addition, it allows the client to adapt quickly to changes in the business environment and provides the right online tools, reports and resources to optimize the use of client employees, resources and capabilities.

Most ISG advisor-led solutioning projects issue an RFP to bidders who have successfully navigated the ISG Collaboration Alignment Session – Provider Scan (CAS-PS) process. It’s during this session that we provide specific coaching to bidders so they can develop the solution that best meets the client’s needs and objectives. Providers are given time to present their capabilities and have an opportunity to work directly with the client during break-out sessions. This way, both enterprise clients and providers develop a sense of cultural fit and the professionalism of their complex pursuit teams in understanding the outcome the company wants to achieve. It also allows the client to experience provider problem-solving skills and interactive styles while accomplishing real work.

Once the RFP is issued, the providers then have an opportunity to test-drive their solution in the CAS-SP session. This gives providers the opportunity to validate or course correct prior to submitting their RFP response.

Minimizing the Risk of Transition to Network Provider

The process clearly identifies transition risks and establishes whether the provider has the experience, methodologies, processes and tools to mitigate and manage transition risk. In addition, it minimizes business impact and articulates potential business impact.

Our perspective is that success is a two-way street – and transition is a mutual endeavor in which the enterprise client and the solution provider are equally responsible for a successful outcome. It is this focused approach to mutual success that sets the stage for a long-term partnership.

With ISG’s experience designing, negotiating and contracting customer-managed, co-managed or fully managed solutions, you can realize the full potential of the solutioning process. Contact us to find the right solution for your organization.


About the author

Chris Gruenewald

Chris Gruenewald

Chris Gruenewald is a Director on the ISG Network Advisory Services team.