By Mohammed Al-Moneer, Regional Director, MENA at A10 Networks

You want to get to market faster. All service providers do. It’s one area where you can gain a massive competitive edge and get a leg up.

Think about it: if you’re first to market with a new service, your competitors are left scrambling to play catch-up. And by the time they launch a comparable service, you’re already moments away from unveiling your next innovation. It’s the ultimate advantage.

The adage rings true: if you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes. So how do you hit the market first every time? One word: agility.

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Agility isn’t an accident. It’s deliberate. And it’s imperative. As a service provider, there are several ways you can achieve agility, which can ultimately put you in the lead when it comes to time to market.

The Importance of Open Source
In the past, traditional application delivery solutions got the job done. You could deliver services to your customers quickly and easily.

But over time, new, more flexible options became available. Open-source standards and tools unlocked the ability to bend and customize solutions to perform how you want.

Adopting open source tools saves you money and makes you nimbler. You’re able to build and innovate more quickly, thus you can launch new services swiftly.

Here Comes the Cloud
Then came the cloud. Cloud made worries about scalability and speed a thing of the past. The cloud unlocks the ability to add almost unlimited resources, so you never get bogged down, slowed down or timed out.

Launching new services from and in the cloud is faster than developing and deploying applications on legacy hardware. And the ability to spin up and spin down services on-demand with ease means you’re never stuck with not enough or too much capacity.

New Frameworks
Find solutions that enable you to leverage modern frameworks like the cloud, software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). For service providers, SDN and NFV introduce new efficiencies.

Leveraging frameworks that take advantage of cloud, software and virtualization, empowers operators to offload a lot of the heavy lifting from the networks and in turn reduce costs, create new revenue streams and unlocks the ability launch new services faster, meaning time to market for new services is kicked into hyper-drive.

Modern Architectures
Always be deploying. That’s one way to stay ahead of the pack and reach market sooner. Adopting continuous delivery and testing models where code is deployed on a continuous basis, ensures you’re building out new services rapidly.

And with the dawn of modern application architectures like microservices and containers, coupled with emerging DevOps principles and tools, your applications are now lighter, snappier and peppier. You can do more with less, and do it faster.

Importance of Pricing
Your service can be the fastest. It can perform the best. But if it’s too expensive, you’re going to lose customers. As cliché as it sounds: money talks. That’s why you have to keep your pricing competitive. Charge too much, and you’ll only attract premium customers. Charge too little, and you’re actively participating in a race to the bottom.

Pricing is a delicate balance that has to be measured perfectly to succeed.

A Consumption Model
When you deploy infrastructure in the cloud and leverage cloud-native applications, you employ a pay-as-you-go consumption model.

That flexibility and agility empowers you to offer on-demand, consumption-based services to your customers, meaning that they’re only paying for what they need or use, and you have the flexibility to deliver just those services.

No more are you delivering more than they’re using nor do your customers feeling like they’re paying for more than they need. Remember, self-service and self-selection are true differentiators. And delivering services to your customers on an as needed basis.

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Leveraging modern architectures, like the cloud, allow you to keep your costs down, empowering you to pass that savings on to your customers. It’s economies of scale at work – and it works.

Flexible Licensing
Offering flexible licensing models is also a way service providers can keep pricing competitive. For example, offering licensing pools and elastic consumption models that correspond directly with usage or planned usage is one way to deliver a cost-effective pay-as-you go model.

Subscription or capacity based flexible licensing is also an option that helps customers only pay for what they need, and not for what they don’t.

Being strategic with licensing helps both service providers and their customers optimize expenses. Flexible pricing options are an important differentiator when customers are looking to cut costs, but not the level of service they receive.


About the author
Mohammed Al-Moneer is Regional Director, MENA at A10 Networks. Mohammed has held various sales leadership positions at networking and other high tech companies. Most recently at Infoblox, he served as regional manager for Saudi Arabia, where he leveraged his success in leading the services business to drive operational efficiencies and innovation and achieve exceptional growth. Prior to that he worked as territory sales manager for enterprise servers, storage and networking at Hewlett-Packard.