Lumen tees up wave topology tool to enable a more dynamic customer experience

networking
Lumen Technologies is gearing up to offer a wavelength topology tool to provide a better customer experience for its enterprise customers. (CenturyLink)

Lumen Technologies will offer a wavelength topology tool in beta over the coming weeks in order to help its enterprise customers work in a more seamless fashion. 

Speaking at Wednesday's Citi Global TMT Conference, Lumen's Ed Morche said his company's top priority was to constantly improve the customer experience for enterprises. The focus on customer experience is part of Lumen's digital first strategy, which includes customers ordering, operating and interacting with Lumen on their own terms.

"So making sure that our products and capabilities are completely digitally enabled so that our customers externally can choose when and how they interact with us," said Morche, president of strategic enterprise and government markets, when explaining Lumen's digital first strategy. "They're not reliant on human interaction. We're here for them if they want us to be. But for those customers who are more independent, or want to work different hours, or just want to be on their own, (we're) ensuring that they can do that in a very seamless way. And then internally, that allows for a lot of bureaucracy and optics to move out of the organization and into more creative roles."

On that note, last year Lumen launched hyper WAN, which allows customers to go online to order SD-WAN and MPLS services at the same time with security, hyper DDoS—which allows customers to either work with Lumen's SoC or order it online— and dynamic capacity without going through Lumen's sales team.

"Then what we'll see coming from us in beta in the next couple of weeks is a wave topology tool, which I'm really excited about," Morche said. "So we operate, I would say the largest network in the world, but I'll say it here, it's one of the largest networks in the world, and wavelength is a huge part of what we provide to our customers. So they might interact with us looking to provide their own diversity. They already have a route from somebody else, (but) they want to purchase diversity from us."

Morche said normally customers would work directly with Lumen's sales team and a sales engineer on setting up their wavelength topologies.

"There would be a lot of collaboration back and forth, or they may want to build an entire diverse wavelength backbone on their own," Morche said. "So we have opened up the fabric of our network so our customers can see all the points that they can set up wavelengths, all the different routes between those points, and where we have capacity."

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Morche said the wavelength topology tool was akin to going online and ordering a new truck. Customers are able to add or delete the features they want prior to locking down the purchase of a new vehicle online.

Once a Lumen customer finds a topology that it likes, that design electronically flows to Lumen's sales engineering team. The engineering team validates the design or contacts the customer if there are any concerns.

"The customer says 'Yup, that's what I want,' and we authorize that," Morche said. "It flows through into delivery and into assurance. So that tool, from the very beginning of customer interaction, collaborating with us using our network, but not necessarily our people, flows all the way through as an 'as built' to the very end."

If a customer loses its diversity, Morche said Lumen automatically creates a trouble ticket and starts working on the problem as it notifies the customer.

"That automatic auditing of capability, that intelligent networking, that unearthing of capability and network is so important to improving customer experience," Morche said. "So that's really the first thing that we're focused on."