Planning the perfect implementation: your map to modern communications

Planning the perfect implementation: your map to modern communications

The fact you’re reading this article suggests you’re considering updating or overhauling your telecoms infrastructure

Your checklist of considerations is likely to include:

  • Defining the evolving business needs
  • Involving key stakeholders
  • Managing potential risks
  • Integrating with existing systems
  • Overcoming the challenge of working across multiple sites
  • Sourcing a trusted supplier

This article provides tips on how to approach the implementation process…

Including how to define the scope of required change, how to avoid business disruption during implementation, and how to ensure smooth integration.

Strategies to mitigate risk and control budgets are also explored. Finally, the eGuide suggests questions to ask suppliers, and puts forward important considerations to ensure selection of the most effective telecoms solution.

Define the business need (and get all key stakeholders involved)

The first, and most crucial, step of the implementation process is to conduct a thorough review of your telecoms requirements. This should include a full audit of your current estate. Knowledge of exactly what systems you have in place – including their relative strengths and weaknesses – is a crucial foundation on which to base your decisions.

Factors that could constrain the overall vision for the company’s telecoms system must also be considered. These include budget, timelines, resources available to assist implementation, and service-impact analysis.

“Different telecoms solutions require different levels of input. For example, SIP trunking doesn’t require the involvement of as many stakeholders as hosted telephony. A good supplier will help you plan who to bring into the process and at what stage.”

Pulling together such detail will probably require the help of key stakeholders across the business.

Depending on the size of your business or the scale of the project, input could be required from the Chief Technical Officer, Service Delivery Management, and Operations or Sales Directors.

Such stakeholders could be instrumental in defining the requirements for any technology change.

“According to research, only 25% of business stakeholders fully commit to specific change, with the remaining 75% simply accepting or resisting the change.”

Therefore involving stakeholders early in the process is crucial to getting their full support for a solution.

Choosing a supplier: the questions to ask

Once your business’s needs are established, the next step is to choose a supplier that can deliver. But with so many out there, how do you know which is the right one?

It’s all about asking the right questions . . .

How can business disruption be avoided?

To minimise disruption, out-of-hours installs can be required along with plenty of pre-emptive testing ahead of a roll-out. Suppliers should provide trial handsets for pivotal end users in your business so they can acquaint themselves with new hardware. Suppliers should also hold a risk register – run by dedicated project managers – so that users from across the business can log faults during the testing phase. This will allow you to plan for, and mitigate, risk.

Will the solution integrate with existing systems?

A good supplier will guide you through the nuts and bolts of the integration process, as well as giving you an idea of the time involved. Ask them how much experience they have moving a similar-sized business to the technology you desire. Also ask if they can provide a customer reference and case studies.

How to implement across multiple sites?

Depending on the scale of the project, hundreds of sites across the business might need to move to new infrastructure. Transitioning to hosted telephony will usually require a phased implementation, meaning potential issues can be addressed across a handful of sites before a full roll-out. With an enterprise data solution, chances are you’ll want to implement across all sites globally on day one.

A good supplier will want to know whether you have the resources in place to support a multiple-site implementation plan. If you have a central IT function run out of Head Office, will this department be able to provide adequate support if something doesn’t go to plan on an overseas site?

Is the solution future-proof?

The process of selecting a solution that serves your business’s future growth plans requires a thorough review involving key internal stakeholders. But you also need to interrogate the supplier on whether the solution is truly future-proof. Can the solution scale easily with organisational growth? Does the supplier have dedicated technical teams ensuring systems remain up-to-date, and respond to any situations promptly and efficiently?

Asking these questions will ensure you choose a solution suited to your growth ambitions.

Supplier checklist

Five more factors to consider when choosing a supplier:

1 Service

Every supplier will promise great customer service. But what does that actually mean? Look at a supplier’s Net Promoter Score (they should make this easily available) to determine whether their service is as good as they claim.

2 Reliability

What kind of traffic does the supplier network carry? And does it suit your requirements? Ideally you want a carrier network dedicated to business rather than residential traffic. This avoids congestion issues around busy civilian periods such as school holidays.

3 Credibility

  • Can the supplier implement the service or solution you need?
  • Can they provide case studies of successful implementations of a similar service for businesses of a comparable size?
  • Do they have the resource and expertise to provide support before, during and after the sale?
  • Are there qualified co-ordinators and project managers able to deliver on their implementation promise?

These may seem obvious points, but many suppliers often fall short.

4 Stability

Do your due diligence. A supplier servicing a business of your size needs to be strong and financially stable. Credit checks are a necessity to ensure a business will be around to implement the transformation process.

5 Ethos

For implementation of services as important as business telecoms, don’t just look for a supplier. Look for a strategic partner. As with any relationship, trust is imperative. Find out about the ethos and values of who you want to work with. Can you meet their Operations Director or Technical Director? These kind of face-to-face meetings will demonstrate their commitment to delivering real value to your organisation.

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