03 Oct 2014
Perfect partners

Perfect partners

Posted by Sally Bailey

For Communication Opinion Security

Eight essential questions for a potential
communications provider.

Your choice of communications solutions partner is vital to the success of your organisation. Here are a few questions to help you make the right decision:

1) What's the company's experience of providing converged voice and data solutions?

Being able to consider and leverage the most cost-effective and tailored voice and data connectivity is where the real operational and financial benefits lie. Not all providers can do this.

2) Is the company's background in voice or data?

The solution should enable you to optimise connectivity for cost, functionality, voice and data. Partners with specialist expertise in the voice arena will fully recognise the business critical nature of telephone communications and provide evidence of this.

3) What recommendations is the company making for technologies to deliver the converged solution?

Is your potential partner putting forward the solution that's a best fit for you or for them? Ask the provider to give their opinion on a variety of alternative technologies, benefits and potential pitfalls.

4) How does the company choose its own technology partners?

An independent solutions provider should be able to demonstrate their selection criteria for the choice of partners they work with that enables them to tailor the solution to your precise business needs.

5)  What is the company's experience of implementing VoIP solutions?

Though conceptually VoIP has been around for many years, few suppliers have worked with the technology since the early '90s. Many are recent and opportunist entrants to this market. This lack of experience can have a detrimental impact on you achieving a smooth, successful implementation and the future reliability of your solution's performance may be compromised.

6) How does the company address security and service quality issues?

These days security is high on everyone's agenda. It is, therefore, essential to reassure yourself of the integrity of any solution offered and its provider, so that your business performance and operations are not compromised.

7) How scalable is the solution the company offers?

If the solution you are offered consists of various systems 'bolted together' involving various third parties, it can be difficult to evolve and expand later. This can actually impede the expansion of your business. Look for a tailored, elegant solution design that is simple and cost effective to grow and change with organisation.

8) Is the solution the company recommends specifically designed for your business - or is it a scaled down enterprise product that’s not ideal for your requirement?

You need to know, from the outset, that what's being offered has been designed and built for an organisation of your size and tailored to your needs. Not a product that's being shrunk to suit you or is being precariously bolted together using multiple parties. Beware of paying for features you don't need.

The key is 'bigger isn't necessarily better' nor is 'small necessarily beautiful.' Look for a partner who can provide the right 'fit' between your business and theirs.

Bistech MD, Jocelyn Brown, adds, “At Bistech we work successfully with organisations big and small from SMEs medical surgeries and schools, right through to large, multi-site businesses that need enterprise-wide implementation - in the private and public sector. That experience is hard to beat.”