It may be past time to update the old adage that the only constant in IT is change. It now seems that the only constant in IT is faster and faster change. It can be a struggle to make sure that your technology is supporting your business and not a burden to it. If you feel like your current service has not kept up with your business needs, it may be time to consider a change or upgrade. This blog post discusses things to consider when that time comes.
The first step to understanding where your technology may be in need of a refresh is to do an audit of what you have and how you use it. This will show where you have opportunities for improvement and will guide your discussions with service providers.
Provider Reliability & Service
It’s a rare business anymore that can operate on just a couple of land lines and a fax machine. The foundation of business today is its connection to the outside world. High speed internet is now a core requirement. There are a lot of companies that can provide high speed internet. Items to consider are:
- What data speeds are available and how much do they cost?
- What services do the various telecom companies provide to your location(s).
- The statistics of their uptime reliability over time.
- What is the provider’s reputation for customer service after the sale?
- Compare the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) outlining the services to be provided, metrics to be used to measure compliance and remediation if the agreed service levels are not met?
Scalability – Contract Terms
Many businesses are faced with near and long term changes in their telecommunications needs and usage.
- How does your current or planned telecommunications systems support variable or changing usage patterns?
- Does your current or planned telecommunications systems easily support a physical relocation of your business?
- The internet has become critical in accessing business applications and data. Which service providers can upgrade your team’s web based tools within days or hours?
- In most cases, a business can reduce costs by signing a long term agreement. However, do the constraints and obligations of the long term agreement negate the cost savings?
- Is it worth the extra savings to sign a three year agreement?
Billing and Support
Beyond pricing, there are differences between the Telecommunications providers in how they handle the customer relationship after the sale.
- What is the Carrier’s reputation for billing accuracy?
- How quickly are billing questions answered and resolved?
- How does the Carrier respond to user support questions and comments?
- In the case where SLA’s are not met. You will need to compare the costs of managing service issues and determine if you want to work to resolve those issues yourself, or have it done for you. If you do choose to do it yourself, will you have the information and resources needed to resolve the issue quickly and expeditiously?
In the end, the deciding factor really is how each provider can resolve the gaps uncovered during the audit discussed above and for how much. When choosing a telecom company, being able to compare their offerings against each other and against your needs is paramount. Teledata Select has history with many service providers and can assist you in the decision and negotiation processes. Contact us or call us at 404-257-1502 to learn more about our experience in these situations.
John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.