Understanding Your Business
It is important to observe a providers approach to developing solutions. How much time
is the provider investing to learn your business, to understand how you operate, what
issues are of concern to you, as well as, what are your plans for the future?
Ability to Support
Is the provider certified by the system manufacturer? Does the provider have experience
with similar businesses? When you check references be sure to ask detailed questions such
as: How long does it take for the provider to respond to a problem? Are the technicians
courteous, neat, and helpful? How well does the provider communicate with their customers?
Do they follow through and follow up? Is billing for services rendered timely and accurate?
Additionally, you want a provider who will accept full responsibility, a single point of
contact, for problem resolution whether the problem is found in the system hardware or
software or is found to be with the local/long distance service provider. To protect your
investment you want to select a provider that you can rely on for many years to come.
The Right Technologies
Voice, Data, and Video communications technologies have rapidly converged. In order to take
advantage of this development it is important to select a provider that has not only the right
products to build the best solution for your business but also has the technical skills to
support, maintain, and upgrade the solution as the needs of your business change. You want to
know that you are selecting a provider familiar with current technologies such as Wireless
Communications, Voice Over Internet Protocol, and Unified Messaging.
You've heard the phrase pay me now or pay me later. Focus on price last. Often the best long
term decision is not the low bid. Choosing the right solution may cost more today but will
likely be more cost effective over the long run when you are not forced to discard it and start
over when your business grows faster than you expected or your needs change. Choosing a solution
with growth capacity and software flexibility can save thousands later on. Choosing a solution
that can be programmed and serviced through remote access can be much less costly than one that
requires on site support. Choosing a solution that can integrate with your data communications
network can save on local and long distance charges. The proper solution and service provider
will extend the life of the solution and increase you return on investment.
Does the provider offer, in addition to cash, rental or lease options? Does the provider offer
discounts for the prepayment of support plans? Does the provider offer fixed rates for multi
year support plans? The right provider should be able to tailor payment plans to match your
budget and cash flow needs.
The service provider should be, a strategic partner, focused on increasing productivity,
lowering cost, eliminating downtime, and effecting an overall improvement in your business operations.