The viability of your communications center is critical to your business, so that means the viability of your communications partner or provider is critical to your business too. The recent news of Mitel’s planned acquisition of ShoreTel continues the trend of consolidation in the UCaaS marketplace. Whether it’s your cloud contact center, unified communications or team collaboration provider that has been acquired or might be merging, you have some new questions to ask.
1. What Happens to Sales and Support with the Merger or Acquisition?
Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. One thing most acquisitions try to accomplish is eliminating redundancy and creating cost savings. This means layoffs. In the example of the ShoreTel acquisition, Mitel is planning to cut hundreds of jobs. Does this mean the contact center or unified communications sales and support team you’ve created a relationship with will disappear? Are there fewer people to answer your support questions when you call? When they do answer, will they know how to fix your issue?
2. What if the Communications Vendor Merger / Acquisition Fails?
It’s a pretty well-known statistic that 83% of mergers fail. If you’ve ever been involved in a merger or acquisition, you know there can be a culture clash between the two companies. Even successful mergers require a ton of energy from both parties to make it work. If they’re working on that, are they focused on growing their contact center or unified communications products to work for you? Are they giving their partners all the support they need? Can they do all this while companies who don’t have this distraction carry on improving their communications technology? Cloud UC and cloud contact center technologies continue to move at an ever-increasing pace - can they keep up? Do they have a past history of successful acquisitions? Is their investment in outdated legacy PBX or communications hardware going to hold them back?
3. What About Contact Center or Unified Communications Platform Consolidation?
If one company acquires another one to increase market share, there is a good chance the companies will have overlapping communications platforms. It isn’t feasible, in most cases, to maintain all the platforms if they offer most of the same features and compete in the same space. From an end-user or IT perspective, does this mean the platform you’re on is going to go away? That means a migration and all the resultant disruption and training that needs to happen to move to a platform they’re keeping. Will that UC or contact center platform have all the features you had before?
4. What Happens to Your Long-Term Agreements?
While some cloud communications companies have month-to-month terms, your current provider may require an annual agreement. There may be hardware and CapEx considerations. Will your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) remain the same? SLAs are vital to business-critical systems for contact centers and unified communications. All these agreements that you have in place may be subject to change if/when your platform goes away.
5. What Happens to Your Contact Center, Unified Communications and Collaboration Integrations?
Will the new company support your on-premise systems that work with your vital communications systems? Your custom APIs? Often providers offer service bundles - are these subject to change? Anyone who has ever switched cable TV providers knows what a hassle that is. Now exponentially increase that pain for business communications.
6. What About Business Continuity?
One of the main reasons to have a cloud provider is for business continuity - your customer-facing contact center and internal communications can’t afford anything less than the best failover and redundancy, because your customers have to be able to reach you and your employees need to be able to communicate and collaborate to respond effectively. This should be a concern for any IT department whose communications platform(s) is at risk of changing or going away. Any new implementation will have to be set up and tested - but what if that big storm or power cut happens at the wrong time?
The Alternative to the Communications Industry Merger Acquisition and Consolidation Blues
If your vendor has fallen victim to the mergers, acquisitions and consolidations in the communications industry, or if they are going to be - you owe it to your business to consider an alternative. There are companies in the hosted arena who are profitable, built on the cloud, and have a strong investment in innovation, infrastructure, support, and implementation.
This story originally appeared on Broadsoft.com.