Assess for reliability
Any implementation should begin with a voice and data network assessment regardless of who eventually supplies the entire business communications framework. Also, any deployment should be preceded by a full network assessment to determine what changes, if any, are needed to support the rigors of real time apps over a data network.
Scale for growth
Any remote working environment should be able to scale for features such as collaboration and messaging. Scalability should also support various geographical needs. Ensure feature and price parity whether at one single campus location, a headquarters-plus-branch office organization, or a multi-branch business.
Support for everyone's devices
The emergence of the BYOD trend means that employees want to use their own mobile devices for business and pleasure. Should you choose to provide BYOD support, conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis first; this is because support costs can sometimes exceed the benefits.
Virtualize your communications
A VM architecture is now commonplace in businesses. If you wish to have VM support for your business communications framework, make sure it is available for all features rather than being limited to support for call processing or a limited subset of your communications portfolio.
A vendor that provides hosted, premises-based and hybrid options has an advantage over a partner that offers only one choice or the other. Another consideration is to look for a provider that can deliver a premises-based system to some central locations while also offering cloud-based services to other locations, such as branch or home office.
Finally, provided that the features are equivalent from a variety of vendors, the cost side of the equation may be the determining factor. Installation and professional service costs vary widely depending on the provisioning complexity, various training programs and ongoing maintenance costs.
Make sure the system you choose is as "future proof" as possible because technology evolves quickly. For example, BYOD support was virtually unheard of some five years ago, but it is now one of the most noteworthy contributors to creating a positive business case.
While having the "best" solutions for your business communications setup may be important, it is also about choosing the right partner to work with. Having confidence that your chosen partner has the product line, the services, and the business relationship that is the best fit for you is the ultimate combination for success.
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