From the most popular posts, we aggregated the top tips for selecting a new VoIP platform. We tried to be as objective as possible, because most of the vendors are making these tips in their own favour.
Most of these points are written for end/business users. We added some tips for distributors were the voip platform is (or becomes) a critical element in their core business.
1. What is your (and your customer’s) business restraint?
Identify where you are experiencing challenges in the use of your current PBX? Is it the lack of flexibility? Do you experience high maintenance costs or do you see that other vendors simply have more elegant and easy to use platforms? Are you able to easily bill your invoices?
2. The platform itself
- Features – What do you need to solve these restraints?
- Quality & Scalability
If you are not quite familiar with VoIP features, investigate what all the features mean. (we will blog about it later). Modern PBX platforms go well beyond plain voice. Think about: messaging, video conferencing, presence and collaboration, all in one suite.
Be aware: most platforms don’t tell you a lot about how their redundancy is designed. Do they use multi tenant setups for example? Think about not only what you need today, but what you might need tomorrow.
3. Integration / vendor-lock-in
- Can I built custom features and integrations with other systems (via an API)?
- Who will be providing your voice service?
- Additional systems: Are there out of the box billing and customer portals available?
- Is there affiliate functionality for your sales channels available?
If you really want to go beyond standard features, look for a platform that has the ability to program additional software on top of it with an API. In this way you are able to make tailor made applications. On the most important questions you should ask: How can I send out invoices and reward channel partners? The billing and customer portal play an essential role in it. The trunk provider determines your calling quality and calling rates.
4. Business case
- Investments (implementing)
- Cost of operations (running)
- Revenues (what profits can I make from the service)
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Some platforms require a lot of resources to implement. Therefore it can have an enormous impact on your organisation and the amount of cash that’s needed. Ask for one fixed price, to be sure investments are not exceeding budgets. When checking the running cost, carefully examine features that are included. Also determine how much time it cost to manage and support the platform.
- Contract Terms & duration
- SLA / Support
- Time to market
- Additional switching costs
If the provider really believes in their own solution, there are no long term contracts associated with it. Really important, if in the end the solution does not fit your needs. It’s also good to know what your supplier is doing after you decided to use the platform. Are they offering any kind of SLA/Support? How long will it take before the system is up and running and are there any hidden costs (like training, or other systems that you need)?