Businesses have two major challenges when deciding to implement UC services.
- They have to decide which types of services fit their goals
- They have to choose a UC provider.
While both issues need prior planning before final decisions are made, the second choice – choosing a UC provider – may make the first decision – what kind of services you need – much easier to figure out. To make both decisions easier, we’ve defined some of the expectations a business should have when it starts looking for a UC provider.
Does the UC provider understand a business’s goals, and is it dedicated to fulfilling them?
No business has ever adopted UC without a goal in mind, and if the UC provider isn’t interested in fulfilling that goal, a business would do better elsewhere. The breadth of services that fall under the UC umbrella is large, and service providers more interested in making the sale have plenty of bells and whistles to offer a business owner who isn’t paying attention. This kind of adversarial relationship with a service provider is dangerous. Instead, both parties should be working together, identifying business goals and using the UC provider’s knowledge set as a guide pointing to any products that will actually help instead of just impress.
Is the cost right?
This may seem like a simple idea, but many UC service providers may not be so much concerned about the cost as your business should be. Every business purchase should provide at least some ROI, and its UC system should be no different. A service provider shouldn’t be hesitant about helping measure that ROI by establishing baselines, goals and metrics. If a business finds a UC system isn’t delivering what was originally stated, it may want to consider looking for a service provider that better understands its goals.
Is the UC provider considering flexibility?
A standard benefit of UC systems is the flexibility they provide. Businesses can customize the solutions they want to implement, and they can often change the services quickly without much trouble. A UC provider should expect these changes, and consequently, be ready to advise businesses depending on the changes made. As for cost, a service provider should have a payment system that takes such flexibility into account.
[tweetthis hashtag=”#UComs”]Choosing a #UCaaS provider.[/tweetthis]
Is the solution provider assessing the system and offering solutions?
Not every business will have the infrastructure to host a UC solution set. Service providers should be up front about this problem and willing to identify what can be done to fix it. In the same way, once a UC solution is set up, the UC provider should be gauging its performance according to the metrics both parties had decided beforehand. Once a UC provider is chosen, it practically becomes a business partner, and any business should expect it to act like one.
A service provider should welcome questions
Technology solutions are inherently complicated, and if a business isn’t able to ask the right questions, it should still expect the right answers from its service provider. A simple question like “What does my business need to know about UC?” should be met with enthusiasm along with enough explanation to satisfy a business owner’s understanding. Businesses should be free to ask follow-up questions as well. For example,
- How difficult is it to implement the system?
- Does a service provider offer cloud services?
- What are the benefits of cloud services?
- How reliable is the system?
- What is the total cost of ownership?
A business will want as much info as it can gather before making its decision, and a good service provider should be more than willing to give a business the info it needs.
UC solutions can be a complicated technological system, and the service providers who make them available should be willing to explain the benefits and necessary minutiae to ensure the businesses that do the buying understand exactly what they are spending their money on. Without that flow of knowledge back and forth and a passion to help customers, businesses would do better looking for a different UC provider entirely.
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