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How Kentik Helps Operators Turn Network Data into Sales

Carol Wilson

Network operators are becoming more adept at using their network traffic data in a variety of ways: To assure service delivery; bolster security; and improve customer experience, to name just a few.

Now, one network intelligence specialist, Kentik , is explaining to operators how they can leverage its platform, the Kentik Detect Netflow-based network traffic intelligence system, to also identify sales prospects.

To help tell its story Kentik is using a case study: It has already helped McLean, Virgina-based international IP network operator GTT Communications Inc. pinpoint new potential customers by analyzing data extracted from its own network. That case study is in a white paper available here, the highlights of which the Kentik team shared with Light Reading in an interview.

GTT used Kentik's system to support a number of regular operations, including some that are considered very typical of network operators -- improved security through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack detection and greater network visibility, for example.

But GTT has also been able to use the Kentik system to analyze its NetFlow and BGP data to identify where high volumes of traffic exited and entered its network to and from third party networks that aren't yet GTT customers. Kentik Detect allows the full automation of this process -- called sales prospecting analysis -- and the distribution of the resulting information to GTT sales teams, who can then use it for new customer prospecting.

"Network traffic analytics is a standard baseline thing that most network operators are in the process of doing," says Kentik Co-founder and CEO Avi Freedman. "While you are in the process of doing that, why don't you examine the networks that are not your customers and get them to be your customers? Bringing those people on net can [enable] cost savings and revenue generation."

Want to know more about analytics and automation? Check out our new automation channel here on Light Reading.

Part of Kentik's "secret sauce" is how it takes the networks analytics information and "marries and normalizes it" into actionable intelligence, adds Freedman. Kentik Detect is delivered in a software-as-a-service model, so there isn't a heavy investment up front for users. It makes the data available through standard SQL (structured query language) or REST applications programming interfaces. The company focuses on ways to not just make their operator customers more efficient, but also to generate more revenue.

That basically means enabling GTT to directly target customers of network operators that use its Internet backbone -- but that is par for the competitive course, Freedman says. "If they are able to offer a more favorable rate, due to higher efficiencies, that's a benefit to the customer," he comments.

One other benefit Kentik offers is customer cost analytics, Freedman says. That is a way of informing the network operator of the cost of each customer's traffic, an important factor when it comes to contract negotiations.

Kentik recently announced that Japanese operator KDDI is also a customer, and the company rolled out a channel partner for both smaller and larger resellers.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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