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Like most businesses, a medical supply company had heard about phone systems that communicate over an Internet connection, known as VoIP (voice over IP).
The company was using a traditional phone system, and its field sales people conducted business on cell phones. The salesforce, located in regions thousands of miles apart, met at company headquarters twice a month.
Management of the 175-employee company believed VoIP could reduce its phone bills and travel expenses, but wondered if it could afford to adopt the new technology. So managers contacted several local IT providers to find out.
The company had its answer, and its new VoIP system live, within two months.
One IT provider that the company contacted is a Cisco Certified Partner. Its expertise includes unified communications, video, and collaboration, as well as security, IT network, and cloud services.
The partner is not a superstore, freelancer, or order taker. Its value proposition, as a Cisco Certified Partner, is best-practices services and validated expertise.
Best Practice #1: Discovery
The partner went to the company and met with the office manager, operations manager, and IT director. "We do a lot of listening," says one of the partner's managers. "We ask questions that clarify what the customer's needs are--strategic, operational, and technical. We also walk through the facility to see the ways existing systems, phones, and other devices are being used.
"The truth is, every customer is unique--you can't recommend the best options for technology solutions without doing this type of comprehensive discovery."
Designing the Solution
At the next meeting, the partner presented a summary of its recommendations--including system and phone features and business applications--and cost considerations. The company liked what it saw.
At the third meeting, the partner's expertise was further revealed. The detailed proposal that the partner presented was within the company´s budget, and included these advantages:
- Network integration of voice, data, and video
- A range of IP phone models for all the employees' needs
- Unified messaging and presence
- Videoconferencing and conference bridging
- A single point of contact--the partner--for all these technologies
- Maintenance service that includes unlimited remote support of the system and all phone users
The partner had also evaluated the company's phone bills, and it identified ways for the company to consolidate and simplify its telecommunications with a new service provider.
The company green-lighted the proposal.
Implementing the Solution
The company and the partner then agreed on the timeline, installation details, and training agenda. The partner laid out and tested the solution in its own facility, then installed it at the company after hours, ensuring no downtime for the customer.
And the training that the partner did ensured that all employees were comfortable and productive with the new technology before it went live.
The Results: Savings Realized in the First Month
By replacing the phone system with a unified communications system and using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking and IP phones, the partner saved the customer over 30 percent on its monthly charges from the telecommunications carrier.
In addition, the partner reduced the customer's expenses for travel and cell phone use by over 40 percent monthly. With mobile IP phones and videoconferencing, the salesforce can take their phones anywhere and have real-time video meetings, rather than needing to travel to the office.
All these cost savings were immediate, and continue to recur monthly.
The Value of Expertise: Quick ROI
The depth and breadth of the partner's expertise, delivered through best practices, produced a quick ROI. Within 18 months, the company's cost savings will have fully paid for the product solutions and the partner's services.
In addition, the advanced messaging increases employees' productivity, the data/voice network unification and remote maintenance service reduce demands on the company's small IT department, and less travel time dramatically raises the productivity of the salesforce--all leading to higher company profits.
And the company can use the technology to competitive advantage for years to come.
How to Find Expertise
To achieve the types of results this company did, look for providers with a Cisco partner logo. All Cisco Certified Partners have been proven to successfully deploy, operate, and optimize Cisco solutions--and can become your trusted adviser on a variety of technologies.