R & D – An Important Factor in Determining what Unified Communication Manufacture to Go with
A business phone system / Unified Communication investment should last your organization 10-15 years. This is why it is so important to evaluate your prospective manufactures’ R&D commitment to the VoIP platform they’re proposing. Examples of things to look for:
- The prospective manufacture has acquired another company (Avaya acquires Nortel®, Mitel® acquires InterTel®). Are they quoting you the acquired company’s technology? What’s their commitment to those products? Are they going to send those products out to pasture and require you to “upgrade” to the new technology (upgrade – as in forklift)? Are they going to invest R&D dollars into that technology? Get empirical evidence on the manufacture’s plans. Don’t take the sales person’s word for it. I’ve rarely seen this go well (how are you doing InterTel® and Nortel® customers?) You the customer could lose big. I’ve seen companies purchase a phone system only to have it End of Life in 8 months.
- The prospective manufacture supports 10 different product lines. Do they have a small, medium, kind-of medium, large and very large product lines? What platform gets the R&D dollars? What’s the upgrade path if you outgrow one line? Oh, you have to completely rip and replace the base system, but you can still use your phones! That’s not an upgrade path…
- The prospective manufacture sells 10 different product lines and thousands of products. Do they sell business phone systems, television sets (Toshiba®), network equipment, residential DSL routers, video cameras, wind mills, cars, etc? You think this is funny, but very true. Oddly enough, these manufactures don’t have a stellar history of providing adequate support to their clients (I’m being sarcastic).
Inflow Communications is a Portland, Oregon based company with an office in San Francisco, CA. We only specialize in Unified Communications projects. Inflow doesn’t support servers, storage, wireless equipment, etc. Our core Unified Communications product is ShoreTel. ShoreTel shares the same philosophy as we do – don’t try to do everything mediocre, do a few things very well. ShoreTel’s core VoIP technology is the same for a 10-phone office as it is for a single system, global organization with thousands of users. You simply add appliances to expand on the product. They don’t sell TVs, DSL routers, etc. Last, 27% of their revenues get reinvested back into their core platform. This is why their technology enhancements are staggering. Frankly, the competition can’t keep up. By the way, you as ShoreTel support customer, get access to all of the enhancements via software upgrades.
As an example, stay tuned to learn about ShoreTel®’s Google® and MAC integration enhancements…
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