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Adtran and Oracle Acme Packet: Best SBCs Out of the Gate

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. This saw may apply to meeting people for the first time, but it makes equal sense for session border controller (SBC) vendors. Blow a new relationship or installation, and an IT manager is almost assured of long-term bad consequences for his or her company and network. It's technology's equivalent of breaking a mirror.

Recently Eastern Management Group surveyed more than 3,000 customers about SBCs. We studied 14 SBC vendors, and examined 10 measurements, as we discussed in our previous No Jitter posts here and here. In this piece, we'll look at who did well on two of these 10 measurements: purchase experience and installation. Together, the two measures encompass the SBC sale and getting the SBC up and running (planning, design, and implementation). These are Day One activities -- or in the case of our study -- measurements. Day One is absolutely where vendors and customers have to get the things right.

Here's a plus for getting one or both of the Day One measurements perfect. Our surveys show those vendors that do well out of the gate, on Day One, are likely to do well in other customer satisfaction measurements, such as support or contact center execution.

Adtran -- Adtran received the highest rating -- four stars -- surpassing other providers in the purchase experience measurement. Adtran is a seasoned provider of SBCs to service providers and the enterprise market. For a company of its size -- about $500 million in annual sales -- Adtran has a large go-to-market channel that includes direct sales, partner sales, and distributor sales through businesses like Ingram and Jenne. But the customer, large or small, is never far from Adtran's oversight. Day One pre-sales assistance services, for help with network engineering and application design, are available directly from Adtran to all prospective customers. This is a real plus.

Ninety-six percent of Adtran customers are satisfied with their purchase experiences, a stunning compliment. As expected with this high Day One ranking, customer kudos flowed to other Adtran customer satisfaction measurements.

Adtran has long been a well-performing company, from my experience. When I sat on the board of directors of Vina Technologies and Larscom some years ago, Adtran proved a noteworthy competitor, persistently challenging both of these NASDAQ companies.

Oracle Acme Packet -- Oracle's four-star rating for Installation, a Day One customer satisfaction measure, is remarkable. Customers gave Oracle Acme Packet the highest overall numerical score, 100% satisfied, for installation. No IT manager surveyed was dissatisfied with the Oracle Acme Packet SBC installation. Oracle Acme Packet performed well in other SBC measurements, also.

Oracle University contributes to the success of the company's Day One performance. Partners and customers who attend walk away with SBC architecture knowledge, configuration arrangement, and administration expertise. Oracle training and certification is similarly robust.

A Benchmark Worth Watching

Successful SBC providers generally excel in go-to-market execution. While all customers might like to buy directly from the provider, that's not possible. So, it's important for prospective customers to see what support exists for the vendor's partners. Eastern Management Group's benchmark studies always examine dealer training -- we discussed this above with Oracle Acme Packet -- and dealer certification. Providers performing well in these areas can easily be rewarded with good Day One scores and other customer satisfaction measurements as well.

This is Eastern Management Group's fourth customer satisfaction study of SIP technology providers within the past year. Other subjects have been SIP trunks, VoIP phones, and PBXs. More information about the report "2018 Session Border Controller SBC Customer Satisfaction" is available from Eastern Management Group. For questions about the SBC customer satisfaction study and report please ask our researchers or contact John Malone.

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