How many backs does your organization have to pat in a given month? No, we're not talking about customer appreciation initiatives or "Employee of the Month" awards. Instead, the question's all about distributed organizations and their need for consistent, efficient relationships with communications solutions vendors. Communications is a fragmented landscape at the local-provider level, and managing multiple locations usually means stepping into the fray. At best, this inherent complexity makes maintaining a consistent presence needlessly challenging and expensive.
Here, the operative term is "needlessly." Cloud communication technology has made smart vendor consolidation more plausible and accessible than ever before, even in large, distributed organizations. Though cutting the cost, complexity, and effort from your communication vendor dealings may sound like a pipe dream, seeking out a single vendor — and thus drastically reducing the number of vendors you deal with per location — may be more practical than you think.
One Back to Pat — and No Fingers to Point
As a trend, vendor consolidation's growing popularity clicks with the average distributed business's need to perform as a single, cohesive organism. Though they operate autonomously in some ways, stores and other businesses under a shared banner are inextricably linked, and communications solutions vendors serve as the backbone that connects them. The numbers that come back to the home office for end-of-day metric reporting transmit over their wires, as do customer calls transferred from one location to another.
Because of this need, businesses have traditionally installed multiple vendor products at each site. A single store may have a primary and failover broadband connection, numerous phone lines, fax capability, and more. And though an individual site having problems with a single provider can be a big enough challenge on its own, things get really confusing when more than one provider could be to blame. Say one location has been experiencing choppy voice quality, with different vendors providing its VoIP and its internet connectivity. Resolving the situation without each side pointing a finger at the other is about as likely as hitting the lottery twice in a row.
In this situation, the advantages of having a single back to pat are obvious. When your vendors are consolidated into a single entity, resolving even complex challenges often requires a single call to a single company. That's true whether a single location is experiencing the trouble or the bug is affecting the organization as a whole — a big step up from the detective game that is dealing with numerous communications solutions from numerous vendors.
Improving the Daily Grind
Consolidating vendors is by no means only useful when problems arise. On a day-to-day basis, whittling down the number of backs that carry your communications can introduce financial and operational efficiencies no web of local providers could touch.
First up are volume discounts. Moving your communications to a cloud-based provider means service is available wherever a suitable high-speed internet connection can be found. Where a single VoIP provider may charge you the full commercial rate for your individual location's lines, those same services can now be lumped in with other sites using the same service. In turn, this opens the door to deep per-line discounts that only grow with the number of licenses you purchase.
By the same token, consolidating services also lightens the load for your payables department by streamlining important activities such as invoice verification. It also ensures any possible billing questions or concerns are resolved with minimal contact time spent.
Knowing what to expect in terms of quality and availability is perhaps the biggest and best perk of having a single communications vendor. While 10 different vendors might offer 10 different feature sets and service-level agreements, keeping numerous sites under the same vendor's umbrella allows your company to keep a consistent slate of features at every location. Further, it provides the same quality and availability guarantees to all locations, allowing the company to keep a baseline expectation for all its shops.
If this doesn't sound like a big differentiator on paper, it's huge in practice. Keeping its communications products in a centrally controlled cloud platform allows the vendor to make and meet friendlier service-level agreements than an individual provider may be able to. It also effectively enables the company buying the product to change and add services on demand, with little of the legwork needed when changes are being made across a network of providers.
To be sure, cloud technology is hardly a new thing for distributed businesses, which have flocked to cloud-based everything precisely because it does allow centralization across locations. In this sense, communications are a perfect match for the cloud treatment. They enable a greater level of quality, control, and simplicity in a time where organizations will do anything to stay consistent everywhere they have a presence. If your network of vendors is giving you fits, consider using the cloud to consolidate all those backs you have to pat. With all the advantages it has to offer, you'll be glad you did.
To learn more about how consolidating your communications vendors can help your company, contact Vonage Business.