Spring is a time for change and growth, and it's not limited to the budding in nature. This season, instead of having the office simply conduct the annual spring cleaning, consider revamping the business with unified communications solutions such as VoIP phone systems. A major part of the transition to UC involves finding a provider and building a solid foundation with them. Here are some steps companies can take to create a clear understanding of a provider's services.
Develop your business requirements
Companies should create a list of key business requirements and ask UC providers to outline how they can meet those specific business's needs. Building business requirements is as simple as understanding how employees within the business are using the phone system, or not using. Ensuring that the hot buttons are known for users will be key to finding a solution that fits your business and will set up a successful implementation.
After the company has determined what they are looking for in their UC plan, they should draft a simple requirements document, listing both the required necessary elements and the desired nonessential features. The more details companies can provide in the document, the more likely they will be to find a provider that can adequately meet their needs.
Prepare for demonstrations
Demonstrations are just as important for the customer as they are for the UC provider. The customer is the one making the decision on whether or not to accept a provider, so it is up to the vendor to wow enterprises with their services. Companies should prepare for these demonstrations so that they can get the most out of them, allowing businesses to make informed decisions when choosing a provider.
No Jitter contributor and Swartz Consulting founder Melissa Swartz suggested enterprises ask themselves a few questions before attending a demonstration. Companies should know what issues they expect the new UC system to address. What are the biggest needs of the enterprise? Is it collaboration? Mobility? Going in with a solid understanding of their expectations will help companies get the most out of the demonstrations. A demonstration can throw a lot of information at its audience, so it's best to have a plan of action to avoid the fog of information overload. Enterprises must not be afraid to ask questions or to request that the demonstrators slow down. The purpose of the demonstration is to show companies how the vendor's products work and can benefit their business, so many providers fly through the presentation or throw out confusing jargon that defeats the purpose. Bottom line is to be prepared and have your requirements as a guideline.
The enterprise seeking a UC plan should also understand how compatible the vendor's services are with systems already in place. Will it be necessary for everyone in the office to switch to the same type of phones? How much will this cost the company? Additionally, providers need to be available to answer questions during the transition period. The client should be sure to find out just how helpful the vendors intend to be by asking specific questions about troubleshooting or proposing hypothetical scenarios.