Don’t Forget to Do Your Homework; 3 Things to Study

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Purchasing a new telecommunications system is not to be taken lightly. Considering most of us wait in the neighborhood of ten years or longer to do so, we need to do our homework. Failing  to doing so may put you in the unenviable position of gritting your teeth for a few years until you can justify pulling the plug on a bad decision.

Your homework assignment before undertaking this project is to Prepare, Research and Implement. Let’s break them out individually.

1. Prepare

  • You will be implementing a Voice over IP system. Ask yourself:
    • How will I be using the IP applications, if I am I in fact using them?
    • Am I willing to change the way calls are handled? The way calls are transferred?
    • Am I designing a solution that fits my personal needs? My employee’s needs? My customer’s needs?
    • What’s my budget? Can I spend more? Must I wait until the budget meets the application? Am I willing to settle for the least costly solution which may not meet my requirements?

2. Research

  • Am I considering a cloud based or premise based solution? What are the benefits and weaknesses of each?
    • If cloud based,
      • Should I sign a 3,5 or 10 year commitment? What are the early termination fees?
      • Is the cloud base service provided on the carrier’s internet pipe or will I need to subscribe with a separate internet provider? What happens when the internet goes down? How important is disaster recovery to my business?  What are my options? What are the costs associated?
    • If premised based,
      • Is this an open or proprietary system? Should I be concerned?
      • Once I purchase, will there be annual “license to use” fees?
      • What is the warranty on hardware? On software applications? What are the costs associated with the software upgrade and support services?
    • What changes are needed to my office to make either system function?
      • Will I need a dedicated Cat5e or Cat6a outlet for each voice terminal or can I share with the PC’s outlet? What are the drawbacks?
      • Will I need POE switches? Replace or upgrade my routers? Buy additional equipment to interface with the new telecommunications system?
      • What equipment is required if I wanted wireless handsets?
      • What if I want to keep some analog devices?
        • Single line phones in the shop area
        • Door phones/door lock access
        • Access to external paging horns
    • Choosing a vendor
      • Have I seen enough alternative approaches to designing my solution?
      • Have I seen how different vendors approach my application?
      • What’s important to me?
        • Price or value?
        • Local company or one with multiple locations?
        • Telephone centric or data centric company?
        • Between price, support, reliability, applications and total cost of ownership; how would I rate most important to least important?

3. Implement

  • Have I coordinated the install with:
    • My IT Department?
    • My Network Service Provider?
    • My Internet Service Provider?
    • My Customer Service Department?
  • How much down time can I expect? What are my options if I’m out of service for a day or more?
  • Will I be charged for training or minor program changes? How long is the grace period?
  • If the vendor and their solution can not perform to expectations, what is my recourse?

Purchasing a new phone system, like homework, can be fun if you’re prepared and ready to invest the time and effort needed to succeed. If not, it’s like starting that ten page term paper on Einstein’s theory of relativity due Monday morning on Sunday night.

If you’d like some private tutoring with this assignment, give our Sales Department a call at 815-282-5151. We’ve experienced those Sunday night jitters a few times.

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