Network equipment vendors have been upping their investment in services organizations in recent years, but it's not only the big guys doing it.
Marietta, Ga., optical vendor Optelian has been busy developing its own take on the services game, particularly installation services. The company created Optelian Services earlier this year and in September hired industry veteran Glenn Byess to lead the new division. Byess spoke to Light Reading about the new unit's aims.
Light Reading: Optelian wanted you because of your two decades of engineering and installation experience, most recently with TE Connectivity, but why did you want to join Optelian?
Byess: I've been in telecom for 23 years, dedicated to installation and engineering, test and turn up. It has been mostly turf environment [basic installation services] for companies working with Tier 1 carriers, but Optelian presented a great opportunity to come over and start up a new services business, basically like starting up a new company. Optelian had been requested by customers over the last couple years to become more involved in installation, test and turn-up services.
Light Reading: What's the advantage for a service provider in having Optelian handle installation services?
Byess: Customers are starting to request these services more from OEMs. Many of them use turf vendors to do basic EFI [engineering, furnish and installation], but then they have to go to an OEM later to get the new equipment fully connected, and get services turned up. A lot of turf vendors don't have OEM certification. We're offering the full package so the service provider doesn't have to outsource to two different parties to get the gear installed and turned on.
Light Reading: Wouldn't service providers want to do a lot of that themselves?
Byess: Service providers can do installation themselves, but a lot of them just don't have the personnel with the true experience to be able to do a lot of it. Without the proper training on equipment, for most turf engineers out there today that receive the equipment orders, it can be a struggle. It depends on the equipment being installed and the other network elements that gear is hooking into. That's what we offer here -- people who understand all the equipment being connected, and how to perfectly balance everything out.
Light Reading: You said this whole effort is like starting up a new company. Have you been hiring?
Byess: Optelian had engineers already working on EFI, and there's an existing services effort that I have taken over. Since I came on board, I've hired several seasoned technicians, 10-to-15 year veterans of the industry, mostly people who have worked for me in the past who have excellent rapport with customers. I'm adding one or two technicians a month, and I've been here for five months.
My goal is to build an elite rapid response team to be able to install pretty much any kind of telecom equipment for any company out there. About 90 percent of our work now is on location at customer premises, but we're also expanding our office here in Marietta to add more warehousing, and we're expanding our rack-and-stack and lab burn-in areas to provide testing before equipment goes out, as well as the turn-up services in the field. That is in progress now and should be completed in the next few months.
â€” Dan O'Shea, Communications Writer, Innovation Generation