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Lightyear helps enterprises automate their procurement and vendor management of telecom services (connectivity, WAN, colocation, voice) while also helping them optimize IT spend and stay organized. If you’re an IT leader managing a complex network and want to automate some of your workflows, and / or want to audit your existing contracts and IT spend, we are here for you. Also, our service is free (more on that below).
No, Lightyear is not a telecom carrier or ISP. In fact, Lightyear was built upon the belief that the ISP ecosystem of today is anti-transparency and organized in a way that makes customers' lives difficult.
We are an online telecom / networking lifecycle management tool, and one of our primary functions is matching your network needs with best-fit carrier services in a way that is fully vendor agnostic and customer-centric. We source quotes from providers on your behalf, help you select the best provider and price, and then we manage the implementation of services on your behalf. We also offer a single pane of glass for you to manage all of your provider services and contracts - so you can say goodbye to the 20+ vendor portal logins you are juggling today! When issues with your service provider (inevitably) arise, we act as your enabler and advocate to ensure that your problems are managed to resolution.
In most cases when you buy a service through Lightyear, we get a commission (paid by the vendor) on what you purchase. This revenue share doesn’t increase the price you ultimately pay for the service, and it allows us to operate our business while offering you our product for free.
We will never push you to select one vendor over another because it benefits us; we are incentivized to find you the best vendor and pricing possible so that you are happy with our service. In many cases, we’ve recommended and sold services where we’ve received no commission, purely because in these situations the no-commission service was the best outcome for the customer.
The previous question might make you wonder if you can get a better price by going directly to the provider or carrier. The answer is no, and there are a couple reasons why.
For one, if you buy directly through a carrier, there is a sales rep who receives the same commission that Lightyear (or another agent) would otherwise receive. This commission is baked into the price of whatever you buy. It’s ultimately better for the customer for the commission to be earned by a vendor-agnostic, customer-centric agent than a carrier-centric salesperson. If Lightyear does its job well, we should reduce carrier reliance on bloated sales teams and hopefully drive down these costs overall.
Telecom providers also drive ~50%+ of their sales through the “agent” channel. Agents would not be incentivized to sell the providers’ services if the providers were also selling direct-to-consumer for less in the same channel. Although in some cases telecom companies will directly compete with their agent channel, we are confident we can beat or match any price provided in the open market (and we’ve put that to the test thousands of times over!).
Although we monetize in the same way that agents do, ultimately, agents are people and Lightyear is software.
Telecom agents often work directly for a few telecom providers and may only have a specific geographic coverage (Northeast U.S. for example). They are often very knowledgeable regarding their respective providers’ offerings within their coverage footprint, but they will rarely cover the full swath of potential providers at any one location. Agents are only compensated when they sell specific providers’ services. This means that when you utilize a telecom agent, they are not incentivized (or often able) to provide you with all of the potential connectivity options. This leads to decreased competition among providers and higher costs for the consumer. We surveyed tens of network engineers and heads of IT and less than 2% said they enjoyed working with telecom agents. Also, once services are turned on, agents often exit the picture entirely. They have no incentive to help you switch or rebid services in the future. All of this is the result of letting humans run things with a fully offline process.
Lightyear is using software to tackle these incentive and process issues. We automate vendor outreach and utilize growing proprietary datasets to ensure you always benefit from the most exhaustive search and best price. Our automated implementation management will help you save significant time and frustration in the lead up to install. Post-install, we don’t stop helping you. Our “lifecycle management” capabilities help you manage issues or changes across your network for as long as the service is turned up. Our inventory dashboard will help your entire team stay organized and on top of your network at all times.
For additional reference, we wrote a (relatively) unbiased guide on telecom agents here.
Procurement and Lifecycle Management
When you need a new telecom / networking service, you fill out a 2 minute questionnaire to define your networking needs and specifications. Our product can configure most telecom services from a single-site DIA / best effort connection to a multi-site hub and spoke point-to-point WAN.
Our platform uses proprietary datasets to automatically validate which providers can service your request and sends your specs out to vendors to procure bids.
- We have over 500 provider relationships, ensuring you receive an exhaustive set of bids on your services
- In some cases, we can utilize existing data or links into vendors to pull bids instantly
Our team will quality check bids against our dataset to ensure pricing received is up to par with the best available live market data, so that you’re getting the best deal possible. If not, we’ll automatically negotiate rates down on your behalf. Once comfortable, you’ll receive price quotes from us for you to select.
After quotes are selected, we will request contracts from vendors and you can e-sign the contracts in our platform.
We have dedicated links with carrier project managers (PMs) to help provide implementation updates and project management help for your implementation in our platform. If things go wrong during implementation, we can expedite steps or escalate issues on your behalf. Think of our product as a pizza tracker for your implementation.
Post-implementation, you can manage your network inventory through our inventory dashboard, which will allow you to take action on your network from your desk and will keep track of all your network specs, spend, and vendor contacts.
Don’t worry, we can also digitize your existing IT network inventory not purchased through Lightyear on your behalf.
When your contracts are up for expiration, we will automatically handle rebids on your behalf, to ensure you are getting the best prices on your network.
We can also audit your IT spend at any time. Don’t wait years for your contracts to expire to find out that you have been over paying for your services!
Yes. Every customer and service has a dedicated account manager assigned to it by Lightyear who will be focused on advocating for you from quote to renewal. While you can configure and manage your IT network completely online with us, we often recommend a phone call with one of our IT experts to spec out your needs and set expectations around timing for quotes and install (depending on who is on-net - some providers are faster than others!). This is especially helpful for first-time Lightyear users.
During implementation, you will be CC’d on emails with providers regarding your service implementation - but you are not required to drive any of those conversations (bummer, right?). We take that hassle off your hands.
Once your contracts are signed, the provider is your point of contact for your services. However, we manage a portal where you can track the details of each service you have in place, and keep all of your provider contact information in one, convenient place.
In the event of an emergency or major support issue, we highly recommend you reach out to your carrier for issue resolution, as they’ll often have an SLA in place that forces them to fix issues within a specified time. However, if you have trouble reaching your vendor, our team is always here to help escalate problems. For non-time-sensitive issues (billing issue, SLA breach, repair ticket, etc.), we can initiate tickets on your behalf and see issues through to resolution.
When you buy through Lightyear, your services will still be billed as an invoice directly from the provider. If you are utilizing the same provider for multiple services, your bills may be consolidated. If you are utilizing multiple providers, they will be billed separately.
If bill consolidation is of interest, this is a service we can potentially provide depending on scope. You can reach out to our team to discuss.
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