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5 reasons to deploy an on-site telephone system - part 4

29 Nov 2014 1:09 PM -
Reason #4 - better partner relationships

This may not seem like an obvious factor, but when the analysis to this point has been considered, the value of partner relationships becomes amplified when adopting new technologies.

Your current phone system may well be the second or third legacy solution, all from the same vendor. If you haven’t thought about that yet in the context of going to VoIP, then this section will make those connections clearer.

The longer your history with a telecom vendor, the better they will understand your needs. At face value, this may only seem relevant for your telephony system, but there’s more to consider. Think about how well they would also know your network and operating environment. Now step back and factor in their knowledge of your business, your competitors and the vertical market you serve.

Given how dominant a handful of vendors are in this space, chances are good that your telephony vendor knows a lot more than just phone systems. Furthermore, depending on the type of relationship you’ve had, your telecom vendor may be quite familiar with the particular communications needs and patterns of your employees. The same may also hold for your suppliers and technology partners.

To whatever extent all of these factors apply to your business, it’s fair to say that telecom vendors bring more to the table than just selling phone systems. This of course presumes you’ve had a healthy relationship, and that’s not a given. For a long time, the major vendors have held most if not all the market power, and SMBs in particular were not well served. This has changed in a big way with IP, as the technology has given rise to a new class of vendors who are more cost-competitive and have carved out a solid niche in the SMB space.

If you feel taken advantage of by your telecom vendor, then it’s understandable how this would trump the other factors discussed herein. In that case, you may well be looking at these new, competitive vendors for VoIP, but even here, there is still a strong case for remaining premise-based. While such a scenario is aligned with the focus of this guide, other factors need to be discussed to properly support that decision, but our focus here is on the positive relationships with incumbent vendors.

The idea here is to look at the strongest scenarios among vendor relationships to support a premise-based decision, and the best example would be a long term incumbent situation that remained healthy over the years. This may not be the norm among SMBs, but these situations certainly exist, and they serve to show why vendor relationships are an important consideration.

If this situation reflects your reality, then the conclusion here should not come as a surprise. For everyone else, the point is to show the numerous ways that this relationship can be valuable beyond the physical phone system. Now layer VoIP on top of this, and the value becomes even greater, perhaps taking on a strategic, trusted advisor status. A key reason is that while VoIP may be new for you, it’s very familiar to the vendor, making them highly qualified to make the transition an easy one.

You may be heading into new territory with VoIP, but this will be routine for them. If you see the history as outlined above being of value to your VoIP plans, this could well be the best reason of all to remain premise-based presuming this is what the vendor feels is best. When all the above factors are considered, they are in a far better position than you to know how VoIP will likely play out.

Not only that, but consider how much more risk you’ll take on if you abandon this relationship and try to start fresh with a vendor who has none of this history and is not likely in a comfortable position to replace your existing phones with theirs. They will be highly motivated to do so in order to get the deal, but think about all the challenges that come with integrating a new vendor with your network – and compare that to how seamless things would be if your incumbent vendor simply swapped out your old phones with their new phones, minimizing any operational disruption during the transition.