A Perfect Mix: How a Multi-Solution Approach Can Ease the Transition to Next-Generation Phone Service—Part 3

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This is part three of a three-part series highlighting the benefits of mixed voice solutions. Read part two.

By adopting a mixed approach to phone service, today’s enterprises can enjoy the advantages of next- generation voice while taking account of the specific needs – and technology paths – of their different sites. But this approach makes the choice of vendor – a key consideration when purchasing any new solution – even more critical. An implementation that may look great on paper can prove to be complicated and frustrating, returning less than the expected benefits, if businesses aren’t working with the right provider. But finding that ideal vendor – and realizing the full potential of next-generation phone service – doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s what to look for, and questions to ask:

  • Does the provider offer a full suite of next- generation phone solutions? While the mixed-solution approach can deliver significant benefits, relying on a mix of vendors for them – each providing a different system for a different location – can bring challenges. For one thing, it means working with a group of providers instead of a single point of contact. So when trouble arises, a business first needs to figure out which vendor has responsibility for the problem. That makes troubleshooting harder and more time- consuming, no one vendor has the ‘big picture’ of the business’s full phone implementation and needs.

    By using a single provider for all of their phone needs – over all of their sites – businesses can avoid these problems. Now there is one point of contact, and even though the solutions themselves may be different, they are managed, monitored, and serviced by a single entity, who knows the ins and outs of how the full enterprise-wide system works. That’s a far more effective, and efficient, way to operate a phone system. It means businesses can spend less time on managing their technology and more time running their business. A single provider can also help ease the transition to more advanced VoIP solutions when a site is ready for them.
  • Does the provider manage and control an optimized private network? VoIP calls can sound great, with crystal clear voice and reliable delivery. But since VoIP is transmitted as data over IP networks, calls typically travel alongside other types of data, like video, email, and Web pages. Particularly on the public Internet, that can sometimes cause trouble, since the different types of data may be bumping into each other, all competing to get through the ‘pipe.’ For voice traffic, delays can impact quality, resulting in a less-than- optimal experience. That’s why it is vital to ask the vendor what – if anything – it does to ensure call quality.
  • How does the provider handle installation and training? While many vendors sell phone solutions, far fewer provide the resources and guidance to help customers make the most of the system. That extra step is crucial, for winning with technology – and reaping all of its benefits – requires more than simply using new tools. It means using them as effectively and efficiently as possible. A vendor that can help customers do that – from planning to installation to on-going use – isn’t just a provider, but a partner. It’s important, then, that businesses ask potential vendors what they do to support their product – and their users. How are installation and training handled? What tools and assistance are provided?

By delivering great voice quality and a wealth of innovative features, the best next-generation phone solutions can help enterprises stand out – and stand apart – in an increasingly mobile, competitive business landscape. VoIP can be embraced far more easily, with far greater flexibility, than companies might think: adopted on their own terms, on their own timetable, but letting them get started – and start to see the payoff – today.

By adopting a mixed approach to phone service,
today’s enterprises can enjoy the advantages of next- generation voice.

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