5 Ways Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers


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This white paper spotlights the five essential success factors necessary for Operator CDNs to win new customers and begin the process of validating their competitive advantages.

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5 Ways Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers

  1. 1. 5 Ways Operator CDNsCan Land More Customers
  2. 2. IntroductionBig changes are afoot in content delivery, perhaps none so important as theemergence of telecom service providers as content delivery network operators — alsoknown as operator CDNs or Telco CDNs.Over 40 operator CDNs have now been deployed or are in development*, lured by theprospects of greatly reduced transit costs and new revenue streams.But building out the CDN infrastructure is just the beginning. To besuccessful, operators must court and persuade content owners tobecome customers; not an easy proposition in a market saturatedwith established CDN alternatives.With this white paper, we will spotlight the five essential successfactors necessary for Telco CDNs to win new customers and beginthe process of validating their competitive advantages.* source: Informa Research 1
  3. 3. 1. Demonstrate your CDN’s reliability and qualityIf you’ve got it, flaunt it.Operator CDNs have significant advantages over legacy content delivery networks.For one, owning your network enables you to cluster points of presence (PoPs) closerto the end user than third party CDNs can offer. Which means that you should be ableto deliver superior quality of service (QoS) overthe likes of Akamai and Limelight Networks.Prospective customers aren’t going to take yourword for it, however. You’ll need to demonstrateyour ability to provide measurably better QoS.If you are a service provider that also operatesan IPTV or OTT service, by all means, start todeliver that online video content over your ownTelco CDN as soon as possible. Doing so willbenefit you in two ways: • It will demonstrate the faith that your company and its subsidiaries have in the new content delivery network; the proverbial “eating your own dog food.” • It will also provide an opportunity to work out any kinks in the service and establish a real-word case study based on empirical evidence. That way, you can sell a service that’s been proven at scale.You also need to measure the network performance of your operator CDN serviceright from the start so that you can substantiate your claims with objective metrics.Using Skytide’s real-time CDN analytics and reporting is a great way to do this.Skytide Insight for CDNs gives you visibility into essential operational metrics likecache hits and error rates, traffic distribution and volume, capacity utilization andthe billing trends and bandwidth consumption of your customers — with the level ofdetail to support performance claims. 2
  4. 4. 2. Grab a seat at the multi-CDN tableCongratulations, you’ve signed a new customer for your operator CDN. Just don’texpect to be the only content delivery network that it utilizes. That’s not how thingswork nowadays. Content owners are increasingly employing a multi-CDN strategy inorder to:• Establish a larger, deeper footprint. CDNs often have varying levels of geographic concentration. As online video traffic spikes in different parts of the globe, a content provider utilizing a multi-CDN strategy can easily switch between providers to capitalize on their regional strengths and better align with demand.• Spread the risk. If one CDN experiences technical problems, traffic can quickly be shifted to another.• Negotiate the most competitive prices. Content owners gain leverage by having multiple CDNs compete against each other to assure aggressive pricing. To thrive in this multi-CDN environment, Telco CDNs should: ‣ Have a program in place that routes traffic to backup CDNs in times of trouble. ‣ Go to market in partnership with multi-CDN control software vendors to assure integration and compliance. ‣ Implement such software as an internal fail-over mechanism invisible to your customers. ‣ Bid for part of a customer’s CDN business but request commitments of additional business if you achieve certain service level agreement (SLA) milestones. ‣ Utilize analytics that provide visibility into service quality — like requests by status code and cache status — that can be used to quickly pinpoint and remedy problems (and preempt your customers from shifting service to a one of its other CDNs.) Only Skytide can provide such multidimensional insight. 3
  5. 5. 3. Establish a dedicated and trained sales forceContrary to popular wisdom, if you build a better CDN the world will not beat a pathto your door. Building a superior content delivery network is just the beginning.You will be competing with established CDNs that have battle-tested sales teams thathave cultivated long-standing relationships with the customers you covet. To secure apiece of this business, you will need to: • Establish a dedicated sales force and task them with the goal of leading prospects through the purchase process. Don’t expect your operations team to handle the sales effort. They are two very different disciplines. • Assemble a team of experienced sales professionals and equip them with the tools that they need to successfully sell your CDN service. The competitive environment is fierce; established CDN providers will not cede business without a fight. • Demand training from your technology vendors on the features that differentiate their platforms and the competitive advantage that those features will provide you against incumbent CDNs.Skytide provides your sales team with the tools to persuasively communicate theadvantages of your CDN analytics & reporting — powered by Skytide — over pure-playCDN providers. We have an established program to thoroughly train your sales team,complete with all the support materials you need to easily integrate it into your salesprocess including: RFP templates, data sheets, demo scripts, white papers,competitive comparison matrixes and more. 4
  6. 6. 4. Don’t go it aloneEstablished pure-play CDNs have a head start. The biggest of these players havesignificant global coverage and the ability to provide content owners with “one stopshopping” — a single contract and bill, one SLA to validate, a single source formaintenance and support, and a centralized set of reports.To neutralize these head start advantages, many service providers are bandingtogether to create CDN federations thatformalize the process of interconnecting theircontent delivery networks.Get involved with as many CDN federationplanning and standards groups as possible tocredibly demonstrate that you are putting CDNfederation on your roadmap. Even federationwith CDNs that have overlapping footprints canbe of benefit since it can provide yourcustomer a perceived “safety net” whenputting some reliance on your CDN.Skytide is federation-ready. The Skytide Insight for Federated CDNs analytics andreporting solution: • Can process the huge volumes of data that a CDN federation will generate and transform it into finished reports within minutes. • Can provide the level of richness and granularity necessary to properly allocate costs and revenue, comply with SLAs, and supply the meaningful insights needed to operate a multi-organizational business. • Enables you to provide secure portals to each of your customers so that they can access data specific to their own operations. You can also provide individualized access to business partners such as resellers, content syndicators or company subsidiaries. • Is customizable and extensible, and accommodates rapidly evolving business models. 5
  7. 7. 5. Price aggressivelyThe surge in online video traffic, projected to increase at a compound annual growthrate of 32% through 2015**, has also ushered in a slew of new content deliverynetworks. This swell in traffic has triggered volume discounts by rival content deliverynetworks. Add an influx of new CDN providers to the equation and theresult is a buyer’s market for content owners, with entrenchedcompetitors offering rates as low as 1¢ per gigabyte.***All of which means that aggressive pricing is a must if you areto get a foothold in the market.Because the cost savings derived from reducing transit volumesacross your network are so great, you shouldn’t let revenue goals stopyou from on-boarding content owners — even if that requires anaggressive pricing strategy. This is especially true at off-peak timeswhen you have excess unused capacity.Skytide can help you to optimize your pricing to compete effectively.For instance, our real-time analytics and reporting can help you to measure how muchtraffic your CDN offloads from its network. Skytide can also help you to identifywhich time periods are peak and off-peak for each PoP and geographic zone.** source: Cisco Visual Networking Index*** source: Dan Rayburn, StreamingMediaBlog.com, 8/2/11 6
  8. 8. ConclusionDeploying a content delivery network is a significant accomplishment but it is only thefirst of many challenges for operator CDNs.To successfully compete against established CDNs for business, operator CDNs mustdeliver on five essential elements necessary to win new customers and begin theprocess of validating their competitive advantages. 1. Demonstrate your CDN’s reliability and quality, testing it on your own IPTV or OTT service first if that is an option. 2. Put a plan into place to position your service as part of a content owner’s multi- CDN strategy. 3. Establish a dedicated and trained sales force and equip them with the tools that they need to succeed against formidable competition. 4. Get involved with as many CDN federation planning and standards groups as possible to credibly demonstrate that you are putting CDN federation on your roadmap. 5. Price aggressively because the cost-savings alone from reduced transit volumes coursing your network will justify on-boarding new customers.Skytide’s real-time CDN analytics and reporting can be a key component to fulfillingon these five drivers. To learn more about Skytide, visit www.skytide.com. 7
  9. 9. Related White Papers 7 Online Video Trends to Watch in 2012 The year ahead promises to be full of twists and turns for online video and the digital media supply chain that serves it. Dont be caught flat-footed. Read “7 Online Video Trends to Watch in 2012” to get an advance peek at the trends that will shape the industry and how you can capitalize on the disruption to come. Read Now The 4 Keys to Telco CDN Success Many telecom service providers are building their own content delivery networks as a means to capitalize on the surge in Internet video coursing over their networks. With this white paper, we will reveal four key success factors necessary for Telco CDNs to effectively harness their competitive edge and realize success. Read Now How Telcos and ISPs Can Learn to Love OTT With this white paper we will demonstrate how it is now possible for telcos to improve their position in the content-to-consumer value chain, create a more sustainable business model to value chain members and profit from escalating over-the-top (OTT) video traffic. Read Now IP Video Management Analytics 9