Customer Case Study
Lightyear Customer Case Study: Campus Technologies Inc
Campus Technologies Inc (CTI) is a managed network service provider (MNSP) servicing the most demanding demographic of bandwidth hogs on the planet: college students.
As an MNSP, Campus Technologies Inc provides wireless (Wi-Fi) and wired internet services to over 35,000 student housing beds, both on and off campus, across 16 states. They build robust wide area networks and also manage the internal network at each location for a per bed management fee.
Andrew Marshall, the CEO of CTI, is focused on building and deploying technology that drives his customers’ success, resident satisfaction and occupancy rates. Facing the complex challenge of providing connectivity to multi-tower locations where every tenant is streaming Netflix and playing Xbox, Andrew was thankful to find a trustworthy and efficient telecom partner in Lightyear when we started working together in 2020.
A Broken Circuit Procurement Model
Campus Technologies Inc’s network includes 100+ high-bandwidth dedicated internet circuits, so CTI is regularly procuring these services to deliver connectivity to its customers. That circuit purchasing model, as most buyers experience, is a pain.
As Andrew puts it, in the status quo telecom procurement model you are dealing with telecom brokers who are focused on getting the contract signed, collecting their commission, and moving onto the next deal. In addition, there is high turnover in the brokerage community - so as a buyer, you’re constantly dealing with new brokers.
“I dread phone calls and emails from a new telecom rep asking me to ‘grab lunch and talk business,’” Andrew noted, “I’m not interested in lunch. I just want a cheaper circuit.”
Andrew’s other procurement option is reaching out to the telecom carriers directly. This comes with its own set of challenges including the trouble of determining who is “on-net” as well as gaining carrier attention in regions where you don’t already hold a relationship - both of which are timely endeavors.
All of these frustrations led CTI to begin working with Lightyear in 2020, and they haven’t looked back since.
Money & Time Savings Achieved with Lightyear
Lightyear's software allows businesses to buy and manage their network services (internet, WAN, data center, voice / phone) on an easy-to-use online platform. By leveraging data and automation, Lightyear provides a fully unbiased telecom procurement process, with transparency and efficient pricing that the telecom brokers and carriers cannot match.
CTI has procured multiple high bandwidth dedicated internet circuits with Lightyear’s Procurement Engine software.
“During quoting, Lightyear uses their dataset to negotiate down pricing before I even see the quotes. On average, Lightyear has saved us 25% on circuit procurement across the board.” Andrew noted.
Aside from achieving optimal pricing, which is a focus of Andrew’s, the big win CTI has achieved by using the Lightyear software is the efficiency and time savings.
“The Lightyear software serves up apples to apples telecom quotes across a vast provider landscape without us having to talk to a single carrier. This comes with the added benefit of being able to look back on our pricing history all in one platform, rather than digging through old emails from providers,” Andrew continued, “Lightyear provides a single point of contact so we aren’t wasting all of our time chasing down and managing the carriers. This efficiency is unparalleled in telecom.”
Installation Nightmares Averted
In addition to the pain of sourcing quotes, Campus Technologies Inc is acutely aware of the challenges of managing telecom installations. In Andrew’s opinion, installations are the most painful part of the procurement process, and the most crucial aspect to get right in order to meet his customers’ expectations.
“The crux of the issue is that the telecom companies haven’t evolved as quickly as the technology has, which has culminated in an extremely manual and people-centric industry. As far as installations go, this leads to unpredictability and tons of time wasted.”
From site surveys to construction and circuit activation, you are juggling multiple lines of communication, deadlines and roadblocks throughout the telecom installation process. All it takes is a missed email or incorrect phone number to delay your installation, and countless other technical issues can get in the way as well.
We started Lightyear with these frustrations in mind! Lightyear handles telecom installations on behalf of our customers, allowing you to be as involved (or uninvolved) as you would like throughout the process. Our platform manages provider communications, tracks all of the key installation milestones, and automatically flags any issues to Lightyear's Customer Success team so they can escalate them directly with the provider.
Our Customer Success team has years of experience in managing messy implementations, and they are involved throughout the entire process to ensure your installation goes as smoothly as possible.
CTI experienced a textbook “nightmare installation” earlier this year. Leading up to Spring 2021 move-in day, CTI needed to install a high capacity dedicated fiber circuit on a drop-dead 60-day installation timeline. Issues with the install were plentiful, ranging from the carrier being unable to locate their own fiber as well as an issue with the fiber ring functionality post-activation.
Lightyear’s Customer Success team stayed on top of the carrier throughout the entire process and hit the 60-day installation timeline. This culminated in requiring the carrier to work overnight so the circuit would be functioning on time for the students to move-in, which, as you can imagine, is not an easy ask of any service provider, let alone a telecom carrier.
“Prior to working with Lightyear, our telecom providers would miss their installation targets almost 50% of the time. Since switching to Lightyear that has improved significantly.”
More Contracts, More Problems
In addition to a wide portfolio of Dedicated Internet Access and WAN circuits, POTS lines also play an important role in CTI’s networks. While POTS lines are a low-value part of their service offering, they are still a complicated product to manage.
A dedicated POTS line is required for every elevator, pool alarm, fire alarm, and boiler alarm in a residential facility. Campus Technologies Inc estimates that they have 40-50 POTS lines per building complex, costing $25-$35 per line per month. Despite the technology’s relative simplicity and low cost (compared to other telecom services), more contracts = more complication. And unfortunately, POTS is an area where you can quickly lose money if you aren’t paying adequate attention to your contracts.
It’s not commonly known, but many carriers reserve the right to change your pricing at any point throughout the life of a telecom contract. This could come in the form of a rate increase or a new surcharge. When negotiating new contracts with providers, Lightyear will always try to get language added that mitigates the risk of rate changes mid-contract. However, across any network, there are bound to be a few contracts that have these unfavorable pricing clauses.
A series of POTS upcharges is what led Campus Technologies Inc to working with Lightyear on their POTS network. Lightyear price checked CTI’s existing POTS providers against new carriers and was ultimately able to save CTI ~45% on their annual POTS spend, resulting in $85k in annual savings.
Beyond Circuit Acquisition
All networkers have (painstakingly) learned that you have to constantly keep an eye out for contractual changes on their telecom services; gone unnoticed, they can be potentially costly or detrimental to your network’s ability to perform. This complicated aspect of network management is one that has Campus Technologies Inc particularly excited about Lightyear’s telecom Network Inventory Management software.
Lightyear’s Network Inventory Management software eliminates the tedious manual work of managing your telecom network contracts. As is commonplace in networking, Campus Technologies Inc currently manages its telecom contract details in a spreadsheet that houses pertinent data ranging from addresses to provider contact details, circuit IDs, contract expiration dates and more.
As most networkers have experienced, managing this large and constantly changing spreadsheet is a frustratingly manual and error prone process.
“The network inventory dashboard will deliver increased tracking accuracy, reduce our manpower costs, and enable accurate management. I estimate that the NIM software will cut our staff’s time spent on network management by at least 60% and perhaps more importantly, it will decrease the margin of error around our network management.”
Lightyear’s Network Inventory Management software helps customers avoid the complexities and “common gotchas” of telecom contracts. Every carrier writes contracts differently and, as mentioned previously, their terms and conditions can change over the course of a contract period.
One painful example of this comes in the form of contract renewals. If you forget to cancel your circuit before the cancellation deadline, you may find your circuit renewed for the next 12, 24 or even 36 months. For any company, a misstep in changing circuit contracts could mean that you’re paying for two contracts at the same location. That is thousands of dollars potentially coming straight out of your bottom-line on a monthly basis.
“To ensure that you don’t accidentally miss your renewal/cancellation cutoff, there are tons of dates to keep track of – like the go-live date, term-notice period, cancellations advance notice date – all to avoid overlapping contracts with cost overruns. Lightyear’s network management software will help us do that.”
What are CTI’s Next Steps With Lightyear?
While Campus Technologies Inc originally began using Lightyear for circuit procurement, their plan over the next year is to move into full implementation of telecom “Lifecycle Management” with Lightyear.
“We are constantly working to improve business processes and efficiency. Working with Lightyear is a cornerstone to doing that. They are extremely forward thinking and we picture our relationship growing with them as we both expand.”
Andrew suggests the only reason a company wouldn’t use Lightyear is…they just haven’t discovered Lightyear yet. Once they see and experience Lightyear’s platform, they wonder why they didn’t use it sooner.
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