Bargains should sometimes be considered, but remember to consider hidden costs that might be made manifest after implementation, IE: repair costs, update costs, expansion costs and worst of all, the cost of an entire system being duplicated if issues cannot be resolved.
Even though, national providers boast large coverage areas, they do not maintain the staff in house to cover the outlying areas. A large national company, that was going through a scaling back of its operations in order to streamline their costs, laid off all their staff in selected areas, and engaged sub-contractors to cover the areas without facilities. As a result, their service levels suffered.
Local companies work hard to maintain service levels in the areas they cover. They maintain these service levels.
From time to time, brands emerge that seem to offer great promise. On the surface they offer the same quality that major brands feature. They do not however have a history that inspires trust. Too often, solutions are deployed with spurious brands and when these brands go by the wayside, entire systems must be replaced when these products cannot be repaired or up-graded because repair parts or upgrades are not available.
Remember the Yugo? For those that don't: In 1985, the Yugo went on sale as the cheapest car sold in the United States. Mechanical problems including premature engine failure, bad brakes, poor transmission, and faulty electrical systems plagued the little cars. Making matters worse, dealer service was terrible. In 1989, Yugo America went bankrupt.
Some systems do not scale well, meaning they are not designed to 'stack' into larger platforms. Other systems do however have the architecture to allow scaling and stacking into 'integrated' larger platforms. When planning for a system to accommodate growth and functionality for 10 – 15 years, be sure to purchase scalable platforms or a system that has the capacity for your future needs.
Not only can 'Grey Market' dealers sometimes buy train-car-load value, they sometimes sell equipment that is also available at the local electrical supply house or big-box store, that doesn't offer the same value to the end user. Most major manufacturers sell the highest-featured systems through resellers and 'partners' who pay the price to obtain the credentials and the manufacturer relationships that will offer to the end user the greatest value and service possible. Grey market can sometimes offer the best price but not the best value because, often their inventory is not depleted before the versions deployed are out-dated. These Grey Market dealers do not maintain the customer manufacturer relationships necessary to deploy software fixes and updates that the end-user might be qualified to receive under a given warranty period that is represented.
It doesn't usually take a great deal to become a 'certified provider'. But manufacturers do not simply hand out certifications without due diligence. Prospective Providers usually need to go through a process of:
If a vendor will not (or can not) make a commitment to obtain a certification, can you trust them to provide your business with timely, quality work?
Pricing on refurbished equipment may seem tempting at first glance. After careful examination, and reviewing prices on new equipment with discounts on devices and options, as well as stronger factory warranties, the choice should be clearer. In addition, factory discounts for brand placement with an enterprise can often qualify them for further discounts when the new brand supplants a competing brand. End of Life concerns for down level equipment also is a red flag when purchasing refurbished equipment.
Refurbished equipment is sometimes a positive thing if it carries with it factory warranty and protection, but this is not always the case. Make sure that when purchasing refurbished equipment that it carries with it the factory certification.
After the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol 'VOIP' phone systems, for some time, everyone thought they needed one. While it is widely held that these VOIP systems are the latest and greatest, there is no reason to simply plunge into one without understanding the scope of your needs for VOIP. Some money saving applications of VOIP are: 1) the ability to move a user device and have all its personality move with it. 2) the ability to utilize the same cabling infrastructure and switching infrastructure to deploy desktop devices. 3) The ability to send voice traffic over the Internet and save on long distance calling if your enterprise has facilities abroad.
Another example of a money saving application is Computer Telephony Integration,or 'CTI' This technology would allow each account rep. to use their PC to quickly dial from their Customer Relationship Management Software. Also, using caller ID, incoming calls would 'pop' the account information and notes to the screen on their PC.
Lets say that the feature price would be $1,600.00
|Average time (in seconds) saved per call with CTI||5|
|Number of calls per rep. per day||100|
|Work days per year||250|
|Total number of seconds saved per year per rep.||125,000||or 35 hours|
Now, using conservative estimates, let's look at what a small extra investment does to the bottom line, Multiplying this by eight reps. totals just over 280 hours. Using a conservative figure of $25 per hour as a cost of each rep. (wages, taxes, training, benefits) we get a total of $7,000.00, a 438% first-year return on a $1,600 investment! CTI is one technology that improves efficiency, reduces fatigue and eliminates mis-dialed calls. If you have a good application for technology, take a good look at it before you make a decision - you don't want to overlook one of the best investment opportunities your business will have.
So many times, solutions are offered and when the buyer doesn't look closely at the specifications, capacities and other details, they end up systems that are less than adequate.
A large company in the area was looking for a Video-Conferencing system that could connect their 7 sites in a multi-point call on a monthly basis. A major brand was anticipated to be the platform for the solution. When researching the precise device that would host the multi-point call, it was discovered that the major brand that the reseller offered no longer offered the product in question that was a good fit for the end-user. In desperation, the vendor purchased and re-sold a license from a grey market vendor. This license actually was at end of life by the manufacturer. Though the solution did answer the need of the end-user, there was another major brand that had a superior solution that was not end of life.
In the process of purchasing a new system, especially when it is a turn-key solution many endusers neglect to obtain administrator training and password data. While some companies have no time or staff to perform administration duties, some do but are not given access to do so by their vendor. All quality systems have graphical user interfaces 'GUI' accessible through a webbrowser or client making it simple to perform moves adds and changes. In most cases when onsite administrators are trained and empowered, a client is happier and their users are given more feature access. This also helps the customer to utilize their system to a fuller extent.