Level 3 throws bodies at bottlenecks, viola, success

They cost CEO Kevin O'Hara his job last year, but Level 3 this week says it's figured out how to eliminate bottlenecks in its service-activation processes that has been problematic for the company: simply add bodies.

Level 3 said it's planning to add 100 additional quota-bearing sales people--taking it to 500--by the end of June. That doesn't include the other 200 sales engineers that provide technical support. L3 said it's already added about two thirds of the hires, most of them to its enterprise unit, which CEO James Crowe believes its Level 3's most attractive market opportunity.

Crowe said L3 is targeting medium-sized businesses already on its network. "High-end, complicated managed services, we'll leave that to other organizations," Crowe said. "The low-end, 2- to 50-seat enterprise is not our target. It's in the middle. We sell on-net. That's our goal."

It's got to be working; the unprofitable operator of fiber-optic phone networks until this week posted a string of nine straight annual losses. Wednesday it reported a 3.4% increase in sales to $1.09 billion and--better still--said it expected sales growth of 8 to 13 percent for 2008, despite the gloomy economy.

For more:
- Read the full article at Telephonyonline
- See Level 3's complete Q1 results
- Listen to Level 3's first quarter earnings call