Questions to Ask your UCAAS Provider

April 22, 2016

 

I spent nearly a decade working with small to mid-sized enterprises in designing unified communications and contact center solutions.  When the emergence of the cloud landed on us the discussion changed and it changed fast.  

 

All of a sudden, the entire competitive landscape changed and it seemed like every provider was doing about the same thing.  From feature sets to redundancy, all the providers (and there are thousands of them) had essentially the same story so it became very difficult to separate the solid UCAAS providers from the rest.  

 

So we spent a lot of time with multiple providers and thought about some real questions that every business should ask their UCAAS partner.  These are questions that typically aren't asked by customer and they range from technology to financial stability.  

 

Contact our team at Atlas IP today to help navigate the process and cut through the fog of the sales and evaluation process.

 

Here is a list of questions that you must ask and is formatted similar to an RFP which we typically use as a frame work for a UC evaluation: 

 

Corporate Information:

  • Please include a copy of most recent audited financial statements.

  • If publicly traded, please list stock symbol:

  • State of Incorporation:

  • Parent company (if applicable):

  • Date of incorporation:

  • 2015 Revenue:

  • 2015 Expenses:

  • Long Term Debt:

  • 2015 R&D Spend:

  • Major ownership stakeholders and percentages:

  • Locations:

  • Total Number of Full Time Employees:

    • Engineering:

    • Support:

    • Customer Service:

    • Training:

    • Project Management:

    • R&D:

    • Admin:

    • Sales:

  • Average customer size:

  • Largest customer: (please list company name and description)

  • List 5 customers of similar size to our organization:

 

Company name:

                         Address:

                         Contact name, phone number, email address:

                         Description (number of endpoints deployed, date installed, etc.):

Company name:

                          Address:

                          Contact name, phone number, email address:

                          Description (number of endpoints deployed, date installed, etc.):

Company name:

                         Address:

                         Contact name, phone number, email address:

                         Description (number of endpoints deployed, date installed, etc.):

Company name:

                         Address:

                         Contact name, phone number, email address:

                         Description (number of endpoints deployed, date installed, etc.):

Company name:

                         Address:

                         Contact name, phone number, email address:

                         Description (number of endpoints deployed, date installed, etc.):


Support:

  • Please describe escalation procedures:

  • How do customers contact support?

  • Is support ever outsourced?

  • What are the hours for support?

  • How many support staff are available after hours?

  • Are there any additional charges for calling into support?

  • How often do you release a software update?  Is service impacted during the update?

  • Please include detailed Service Level Agreement to include the following:

    • Uptime

    • MOS

    • Resolution target time

    • Escalation process and timeframes

    • Consequences for service provider for SLA violations

 

Technical Information:

  • How many data centers:

  • D.C. locations:

  • Describe Redundancy and Failover:

  • Security and Compliancy:  List compliancy standards your solution adheres to: (e.g. HIPAA, ITAR, PCI)

  • Do you white-label / private label your technology?

    • If so, is it BroadSoft, asterisk, MetaSwitch, or other?

    • If white-labeled, is the platform owned and operated by you? Or is it supported by a third party?

  • Documented uptime over past 5 years:

  • Have you had any customer affecting outages in the past 3 years?  If so, please describe steps taken to resolve issues.

  • Please describe what makes your company different than other providers in this space:

  • How do customers connect to your platform?

  • If an MPLS is in place, can customers connect into one or multiple data centers?

  • If connecting over the top of internet connections at each location, what steps do you take to ensure high quality voice?

  • Do you have NNIs with multiple carriers?  If so, please list:

 

Feature / Functionality:

  • List different profile types and prices with detailed descriptions to include the following:

    • Mobility application

    • Desktop or browser based softphone and UC application

    • Unified communications tools

    • Outbound usage

    • Inbound toll free rates

    • Fax to email

    • Audio conferencing

    • Web collaboration / video conferencing

 

Implementation and Project Management:

  • Describe project management methodology:

  • Who is responsible for installation of IP phones? Are there costs associated with this?

  • What tools are used for project management?

  • Please include a project plan for this project including estimated timeframes:

  • Please describe members of project team:

  • Describe costs associated with implementation:

  • Describe training plan.  Onsite or remote.  Are there costs associated with this?

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