How to Assess the Stability of Your Business Phone System Vendor
We previously looked at why the stability of your business communications vendor matters, as it’s important to ensure that your communications technology is in good hands—that is, dependable hands that will be there for you tomorrow. How do you assess the stability of this kind of vendor? Glad you asked.
Here’s what to look for.
Does your phone system vendor have history?
New technologies are exciting and tech companies can grow up overnight in today’s environment. But they can fall just as fast. That flashy new player may look great today, but will they stand the test of time? Or are they a one-trick pony?
Vendors who have been around for decades may not draw as much Silicon Valley buzz around them, but that longevity signals an important truth—they’ve demonstrated that they can survive massive disruption to their industry because they’ve already done so, possibly multiple times, and come out on top. Younger vendors may not fare so well when a new disruption comes because they’ve never dealt with anything like it.
What do the analysts say?
If you’re looking for a communications and collaboration system that can grow and change with your business, it’s important to work with a vendor that has a strong future outlook—as recognized by industry experts, not self-proclaimed. With the business communications market quickly consolidating, a number of phone system vendors are facing an uncertain future. Brands that were once household names are gone. Others are in decline, restructuring, debt-laden or fading away.
The most recent vendor with stability concerns is Avaya, Inc. The company has recently filed for Chapter 11 Protection in the US to restructure its business due to a significant debt burden and declining revenues. Read more about Avaya’s recent financial struggles here >
The ultimate test of vendor stability is ensuring your vendor can stand the test of time. Consult business analysts and objective third-party resources to build your vendor shortlist.
Download the White paper 5 Must-Ask Question when Choosing a Business Communications Vendor >
Does your vendor’s technology support long-term IT strategies?
Some business communications and collaboration offerings are hardware-based, some can be virtualized, and still others are available as a cloud-based service. Each option has its advantages and shortcomings, making picking the right deployment option more challenging than it used to be.
What’s more, your business needs can change rapidly, and technology that works for you today might not be ideal down the road. Why? Technology evolves at a rapid pace.
If you were stuck today with technology from an IT roadmap designed ten years ago, how confident are you that it will support your next ten years in business?
To make sure you don’t strand any investments as your IT strategy changes in response to the business climate and technology innovation, pick a communications vendor that gives you freedom and flexibility to choose and evolve over time. This will help to lower your total cost of ownership over the lifecycle of your systems.
Your vendor should be able to support a staged transition to cloud communications over time and provide flexible options for future changes to your deployment model. This will help you avoid being forced to make a cloud strategy decision today in advance of a fully developed plan, and lets you migrate over time at whatever pace makes sense to your business.
That means a vendor that can support multiple deployment models – on-premises, cloud and hybrid – is an important indicator of their future stability. It shows your vendor is equipped to handle technology that protects the investments you’ve already made while also laying the groundwork for your future strategies.
What does your vendor’s patent portfolio look like?
Many companies claim to be innovators in their space, but how many can really demonstrate it somehow? One way to get a quick barometer of a company’s true track record of innovation is to look at the number and type of patents they’ve created. A business phone system vendor’s collection of past, present and ongoing patents signals how much they’ve really created innovation over time—not just how much they talk about it.
Mitel currently holds over 1800 patents and applications.
Mission statements abound with a corporate promise to continuously strive for improvement and focus on innovation. Many companies talk the talk. If you want to see if the phone system vendor you’re considering really delivers on all those promises, check out their patent portfolio.
Does your vendor have a strong partner community?
Many phone system and collaboration vendors sell not only direct to customers, but also through partners, who can offer additional valuable products and services that complement your communications vendor’s offerings.
Partners depend on one or more vendors for their livelihood.
If a particular phone system vendor isn’t offering technology that customers want, it may have a hard time assembling a substantial group of partners interested in reselling its offerings. And when a vendor gets shaky, its partners may start backing off in order to maintain their own profitability. A healthy partner community means that a large number of companies believe in your phone system vendor. And over 2,500 partners across the world believe in Mitel.
Make an informed choice
As today’s increasingly mobile workforce and evolving cloud services converge with enterprise communications, it is essential that your organization makes the right choice to secure a bright communications future with a vendor that can support your long-term IT strategy.
Ask yourself, can my vendor support my business communications and collaboration needs, today AND tomorrow? Click here for a range of special promotions if you’re unhappy with your current vendor or simply want to future-proof your existing business communications.