It seemed most appropriate to me that I start off the first blog posting in the Best Practices section with my thoughts on purchasing new communications solutions. Regardless of the economy, companies across the globe still face the need to purchase communication, regardless of the need – contact center, enterprise communications, branch offices, remote employees, voice mail replacement, or whatever.
After almost 11 years at Interactive Intelligence, it still amazes me that many organizations still take the single-box approach. By that, I mean that when a IT Chief looks at acquiring new communications solutions, they continue to choose single solutions for each of their communication needs – one box for voice mail (or UM), one box for ACD, one box for presence, one box for this and one box for that.
Throughout the years, this has become an increasingly ineffective and inefficient way to bring the organization into the future of IP communications. The problem is that for many of the IT Chiefs, that was the way they HAD to purchase solutions for years. The good news is that just isn’t the case any more.
Take a more holistic approach and evaluate your ENTIRE communications plan in addition to your business goals and objectives that cover the next 3-5 years. Just as you align your IT purchasing decisions with the business objectives of the entire company, so should you do with your communications solutions.
Then, look at solutions that can deliver upon your communications needs both now and into the future – not just 1 or 2 years, but 3-5 years, even – dare I say it – 10 years into the future. This forces you to look at making sure that the solution that you are purchasing can grow with you and can absorb your communications needs as they come into view.
Invest in a platform that is software-based and open to allow you to integrate to your existing systems and back-office applications. Hardware centric systems lock you into the proprietary demands of the vendor selling it and the high costs associated with it.
Lastly, in light of today’s economy, look deeply at the ROI of the solution you choose. If it doesn’t provide a quick, solid ROI, then run away from it. Run far away.
Remember – choose wisely or spend foolishly.