Telecom Strategy for Summer 2014
In a previous newsletter, we compared two types of telecommunications systems: premise-based and hosted. Both options are viable for small and large businesses. We provided the requirements a premise-based vendor must meet to be selected as the successful bidder.
As a continuation of this discussion, we recognize that a hosted system may be the client’s choice. This newsletter is intended to provide guidance to businesses ensuring their selection of the most appropriate and reliable hosted vendor.
There are an increasing number of telecommunications providers in this segment of the marketplace. Vendor selection is particularly important so that the client is assured that the chosen company provides reliable service and is financially stable. Deficits in either area could have disastrous results.
Telecom Strategies, LLC has worked with and evaluated a number of hosted vendors. For legal reasons, we cannot list those providers deemed unsuitable, but we can enumerate factors for your consideration when making a choice.
- Does the hosted vendor have redundancy of servers?
Hurricane Sandy taught us that having servers in multiple sites in different regions of the country is an absolute must. If servers in the client’s geographic area are affected, redundancy assures everyone that telecommunications services will continue. All of the system programming will be transferred and all calls will be rerouted through the server(s) still in operation. This safeguard should be included in the agreed upon monthly cost, not assessed as an extra cost if utilized.
- Does the hosted vendor have “burstable service”?
Again, Hurricane Sandy provided an important lesson. Typically, the client purchases “paths” and “seats”. This configuration parallels the function of Outside Lines and Telephone Stations for a premise-based system. As an example, if a client has ten Central Office lines that are all in operation, the next caller will incur a busy signal. The same scenario can happen in a hosted system. If only ten paths are contracted and are all in use, the next caller will also get a busy signal. How does the client know if they have enough “paths” for normal and extra heavy business?
The answer is that you do not have to pay each month for intermittent need. “Burstable service” allows your system to expand based on demand. When that service is triggered by more than normal demand, no one encounters a busy signal - the system accommodates to meet the high demand. When the call volume subsides, your cost reverts to the original monthly amount. Therefore, you only pay a higher cost when you need to rather than pay for additional lines every month that may only be necessary in a crisis.
- Does the hosted vendor have procedures for client alert of service problems and outages as soon as they occur?
There is nothing worse than coming to the office and finding out that your telecommunications services are down. It has happened to all of us. No matter the quality of the hosted vendor, service outages will happen.
Certainly, if a business operator is made aware of this as soon as it occurs, appropriate staffing decisions can be made. Planning can happen so that the business can operate in, at least a limited fashion. Not all vendors have the capability to notify their clients when issues occur. Most have a NOC (Network Operations Center) operating 24/7 but few actually send updates to clients. This is certainly a factor to consider.
The staff at Telecom Strategies, LLC are continually researching and evaluating hosted vendors to assess quality of service and their ability to offer the most current technologies. It is our mission to place client companies with the provider that best suits their business needs.
Contact us today at:
Telephone Number: (610) 235-4340
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