Buyer Beware, Not All “Clouds” Are Created Equally
It is undeniable, the cloud is incredible. Cloud communications has completely revolutionized the way we use data in our businesses. Everything from email to file storage, it has all changed for the better. Data is more accessible, networks are more efficient, and employees are more productive. Over the past couple of years, the “cloud” has expanded well beyond traditional data to include technologies such as voice and video. This shift to include applications that are real-time in nature have created a market where everyone with even a hint of communications technology experience feels qualified to propose a cloud solution for your business. In the telephone system and unified communications industry this has led to a market saturation of under-qualified sales agencies and inferior products, all rushing to see who can sell you a solution the quickest with little to no regard for the right way of doing it. In the end, the sales rep hits his quota, but customers suffer. Poor Internet connections, out of date network infrastructure, and oversold expectations lead to a negative customer experience and a black eye for the industry. The technology is great, and can do great things for your business, but like anything else in your business you need to do it the right way.
If you are in the market for a new VoIP solution, below are some tips to help ensure you get a solution that truly fits your business:
- Seek solutions options from firms capable of providing both onsite and cloud solutions. There are pro’s and con’s to both approaches, but a vendor who can only provide one or the other is not going to provide a true consultative proposal of options. Consider asking for a five to seven-year cost of ownership comparison of both deployment options.
- Work with a local sales agent that takes a full inventory of all your communications equipment. When you think about it this only makes sense, if they don’t know what you have now, how can they quote a solution for the future? During the walkthrough ask how they are going to address things like paging systems, door phones, gates, postage meters, etc. Remember, your phone system supports more than just phones.
- Ask for a complete demo of the phones and any related software, IN PERSON! Remember, just because a system can do something, it doesn’t mean it does it the way you want it to work. If a solution requires a software client for a feature and you don’t plan on using the client because you don’t want to be tied to your PC, the feature isn’t going to be of much value.
- Don’t forget the network… While marketing materials would suggest otherwise, VoIP and especially cloud VoIP, doesn’t “just work”. Have you IT staff or consultant assist in vetting providers, it is critical that both parties are on the same page.
VoIP and Cloud technology can transform your business when implemented correctly, like anything else don’t allow yourself to be “sold”, and instead find a trusted provider and build a successful solution together.
Davissa has been providing communication solutions since 1982 in the Cleveland, Oh market. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (216) 464-6633.