Which accentuates the deliverability issues that you were talking about?
On that point, though, does that mean, say, actively trying to migrate people off of things like older frame relay-type services?
Yes. What are we porting forward into the future and what are we going to leave behind? You have to survey the landscape of our customers today, what do they buy from us? Should we just try to rewrite everything and import it into this [new] world? Well, no, we're bringing junk, and we're going to pollute the environment, and the value of our scale and repeatability and excellence in service delivery would be compromised by that approach. A very hard thing for our teams to do is to take this range of options, this range of variants, down from here to here. What would that look like? Example: How many standard versions of private IP do you need? How many speeds, keep it really simple, do you need here? And I said -- let's go for six, not knowing how many we had. We had 2,700.
I'm pretty confident that there was somebody who might say: "None of those fit my requirements." You get the point. Now there is a balancing act here, because what I don't want to do is to fold it up to such a point where it's not effectively serving the customer's real needs. But this is where every product manager needed to look through their portfolio and say: "How do I centralize this in such a way that it delivers great value to the marketplace, but it allows me to build muscle? It allows me to streamline process, allows things to flow through so I can deliver them fast and service them reliably?"
And drive cost-saving to the customer?
A hundred percent, sure. I'm glad you raised that point, because again, we have an ethic, and it's a cultural shift for my team. That notion of following the customer right down to the most infinite level of detail on this crazy level of variability, but at the end the customer is now required to add cost to their business. I've had these conversations with a number of our key clients where they say: "Your work in this area -- because I've taken them through it -- will save me on my SG&A line." Obviously, this is hugely important. Their needing to hire folks to support the services I'm providing them shouldn't be necessary. I will tell you that we know this is a journey. We know this is a multiyear endeavor, and our job is to stay with it. And so the assurance I give my team is that we will not stop, we will go until we're done. So we're making good progress.
The other [key goal] is the transition from a business that has been more transactional by definition. If we sell network services -- I don't believe these are commoditized services, but some on the buying end might say -- well, you know, that's a procurement issue. Maybe my CIO will look at it once in a while but OK.