Steps to Buying Unified Communications

Step one

  • Identify the needs of your organisation and users. Ascertain who uses what systems, mobiles, IM etc. and how they are used as well as individual or departmental requirements.
  • Understand your requirements. Discuss with a number of solution providers or suppliers how unified communications may best benefit your organisation.
  • If possible, see a live demonstration as to how unified communications systems work and how it might meet the demands of your organisation.

Step two

  • Unified communications is potentially a complex area and the more devices used the greater the complexity involved. It is important that any supplier has a deep understanding of your network, communication infrastructure, and applications.
  • It is important that any unified communications installation optimises your existing technology as far as possible rather than replacing them. It is also important that any infrastructure you have in place is able to meet the current and future demand of UC in order to minimise investment.

Step three

  • Identify the right provider.
  • Use Conjungo’s ‘Find a Unified Communications Supplier’ search facility.
  • Who has the experience of working with a company of the same size and profile as yours?
  • How many similar installations have they made?
  • Ask for references – ensure that the company is capable and reliable.
  • Ask to speak with a couple of their customers in order to see what benefits they have realised.
  • Get a credit check to ensure that they are financially stable. You can get this directly from the supplier details found in your Conjungo search.

Step four

Request a proposal from 3 or 4 of your preferred suppliers.

Step five

Select a proposal.

  • Who best demonstrates that they understand your business and your requirements?
  • Is the solution flexible and scaleable and therefore able to meet future demand? You don’t want to find out later that by investing a little more money now will save you money later.
  • Is it cost effective? Does it demonstrate clearly the functional benefits – rather than telling a list of particular features, does the proposal clearly show what the benefits are? There is no point on spending money for system with features that are of no benefit or that you will never use!
  • How much do the software (licences) cost?
  • How much will software support cost?
  • Can any savings be made by agreeing a multi-year contract for support?
  • How will your potential supplier support and maintain your system afterwards?
  • How much will this cost?
  • Have you spoken to a couple of your preferred supplier’s customers?
  • Agree on financial terms – you may be required to pay a deposit but do not pay the whole amount in advance of delivery.