Turn the Big Changes Telecom and IT Vendors Make Into Advantages
Massive shifts are taking place in the business telecom industry. Minimize their impact and turn the moment into an opportunity.
Everyone involved in business telecom works hard to keep up with the changes in the industry. We track changes in technology, try to get ahead of future business requirements, and look for flexibility in our contracts for the changes we can’t yet see on the horizon.
Then, just when it seems we’ve played the game well and have all of the pieces in the right place, something out of our control happens.
The vendors change the rules.
Some of the biggest challenges in telecom and IT come from mergers or other major changes that vendors make to their services. Major shifts in their service models ripple out to every client and change the rules of engagement.
Here are some of the latest changes facing business telecom clients.
Legacy telecom technologies are being sunsetted and discontinued by carriers.
Many of the largest carriers in the nation are forcing major changes for business clients.
Lumen is working to move business clients from what was the Century Link MPLS to the Level 3 network that was acquired a few years ago.
AT&T finally announced discontinuation of support for their PNT network in favor of their AVPN flavor of MPLS.
Multiple carriers have announced they will no longer support “burstable” solutions for internet and traditional MPLS networks.
All of these changes come with a timeline and either a forced or coerced methodology for moving clients. (The coercion comes from the fact that investment, coverage, and support will continually degrade on non-primary networks to the point that there will be on choice but to move.)
If this affects you, here are some of the ways you can respond.
Look for opportunities to align your technology to the future. If the carrier is going to force a move, evaluate whether it’s time for you to move to a new provider - or even to a new technology (For example, MPLS to SD-WAN).
Look for leverage. Carriers want you to move as soon as possible. This presents a classic opportunity for your company to create leverage. You can negotiate for the provider to pay for the migration. You can also significantly reduce your rates and even ensure your new contract has enough flexibility for you to take action if service levels deteriorate down the road.
Ensure your technology and contracts align. Don’t let carriers paint you into a corner with contractual commitments that are based solely on your new environment.
Avaya, Mitel , CISCO, and others are moving to the cloud.
Traditionally, business have used premise-based solutions to enable their telecommunications solutions. The premise created the “brain” for the system and the carriers provided the network (the “central nervous system”) to deliver communications from a centralized point of intelligence. Now, providers are looking to move from traditional on-premise, capital-based selling models to residual OPEX models in the cloud.
There are good reasons for moving to the cloud: flexibility, financial benefits, and resiliency to name a few. As a result, businesses with on-premise PBX solutions feel the clock ticking down to the day when it’s no longer a viable solution.
For example, at Avaya, their company’s focus has shifted to their recent partnership with RingCentral which created the powerful new Avaya Cloud Office product. This means investment on any research and development for the on-premise PBX systems has all but ceased. The only fully-supported option moving forward will be a move to the cloud.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that companies need to consider the right timing for:
Making a move (planned or forced)
How to get leverage out of their existing investment in systems and upgrades. (Have these been written off? Can concessions be negotiated in making the move?)
Furthermore, you’ll need to assess whether you have the staffing to accomplish the move or whether you need a third party. You’ll also need to consider whether the contracts you have in place limit your ability to make a move without a penalty.
Zoom, MS Teams, and others are changing the face of the telecommunications landscape.
New entrants into a marketplace create a great opportunity for disruption of status quo. They change the rules for everyone, and that can be great for meeting the changing face of the business landscape. It can also create gaps in service caused when the people implementing the new, disruptive service lack of background in traditional technology.
The transition to new technologies like Zoom and MS Teams can be painful if you haven’t paid detailed attention to the growth and modification of your current environment over the last 20 years. We see clients all the time who have disruptions in service when migrating to cloud-based UCaaS simply because they didn’t have a good idea of how their phone system was configured.
For example, if trunk groups have been implemented and modified over the years and are not captured up front, it can cause breaks in call flow post-migration despite the enhanced flexibility that comes from working in the cloud.
The advent of cloud also creates significant concern for clients around security. The nature of the wide area network (WAN) can add increased requirements given the introduction of numerous access and end points. Workers need to be able to access resources from work, home, coffee shops, etc., and changes in any one area have significant impact on the rest and must be reviewed with an eye towards an overall strategy.
The complexity is immense, and this is where Serviam helps to bridge the gap in coordinating all of the vendors involved from end to end.
Every Telecom and IT Vendor Rule Change Can Become an Advantage
When these massive shifts occur, they create a sense of urgency to find a solution. However, as you can see in the examples above, by taking a strategic step back, businesses can still win the day. Here are three basic strategies you should embrace.
1. Look for the New Options on the Table
A funny thing happens when one player changes the rules. It opens up new possibilities.
For example, in the case of the Lumen and AT&T examples above, there’s an opportunity to migrate to a new vendor altogether. Since the moves the companies are forcing on clients are so complex and involve installing new circuits, in many cases it can make sense to find a better fit for the company.
Even if a client stays with their existing vendor in the move to a new network, there’s an opportunity present to negotiate better rates and terms for the company as part of the transition.
With Avaya’s move to a cloud contact center solution, there can be a similar opportunity to explore new vendors. For many of them, Microsoft Teams could be a suitable alternative. However, for many businesses the sheer complexity of their call flow could make it impossible to make such a move.
Fortunately, Avaya has put another new option on the table. Avaya has recently created a new “Subscription Model” that can create a potential bridge for companies as they transition to the cloud.
It gives businesses a fixed-cost solution like the cloud and provides the updates needed to keep their PBX servers running without added fees.
It also provides 24/7 support within the cost structure.
In other words, it provides some of the key features that businesses like about the cloud model while allowing them to get the full ROI of their on-premise equipment.
For the clients of Zoom, MS Teams, and every UCaaS in-between, the opportunity is to now untangle the web and end whatever band-aid solution got them through 2020. They can now unify their communications under one platform and create a better user-experience for their employees, customers, and clients.
2. Look Past the Immediate Problem to the Big Picture
One of the things we focus on at Serviam is helping clients to step back and take a look at the complete, holistic picture of their telecom and IT infrastructure. Everything is connected, and when you look past the immediate technological problem to the full financial, contractual, and technical picture of what your company has, there’s often an opportunity achieve wins like…
Making adjustments in another area of your technology platform to make room in the budget for what’s needed.
Reduce costs elsewhere to fund the strategic moves you need to make.
Getting better service and better solutions for what you already pay.
Adding greater flexibility into your contracts for the future as you negotiate the changes you need to make.
Ensuring the direction you take will not prevent you from adapting to other technology requirements in the future.
Taking a step back and conducting a strategic assessment of your telecom and IT infrastructure can reveal incredible opportunities.
Of course, that takes time. So, you might want to...
3. Call in Some Backup
When vendors change the rules, too many businesses miss out on the opportunity to win the day because of a lack of resources. Usually, when a big change comes along, there simply isn’t time to do much than triage the immediate problem and keep moving.
That’s why Serviam comes alongside other companies to provide the backup they need to turn vendor changes into an advantage. We have the time and resources to step back, examine the options, assess the company’s environment, and help teams make better informed, strategic decisions on the best path forward.
We help them consider…
Options for moving to new vendors.
Opportunities for cost reductions or savings that mitigate the impact of their next steps.
Opportunities for negotiating more favorable contracts along the way.
We minimize the impact that occurs when vendors change the rules and instead make sure those moments turn into opportunities for companies to make big leaps forward in their technological capabilities.
We’re happy to help you discover new options and possibilities. Schedule a Consultation at serviamco.com to learn more.
Serviam’s process is simple.
We listen and assess your unique telecom situation.
We guide you through a custom roadmap to better technological and contractual solutions.
We manage your transition so you have the best possible experience.
We stay with you to make sure your vendors continue to support your ever-changing business requirements.
Our Telecom and IT Vendor Management service goes far beyond managing costs or negotiating contracts. We guide you through a holistic, future-forward telecom strategy for your company and provide you with a long-term partner who manages your vendor relationships so you can focus on the road ahead.
Schedule a consultation at serviamco.com to start forming a roadmap for your business.
The telecom industry expects you to find your own way
through a complex landscape of vendors, options, and risks.
We guide you through those risks
to the right voice, data, and internet solutions
for your business.
Then, we serve as your partner,
managing those solutions
So you can focus on the trail ahead.