17 Considerations for Hosted UC Service Providers Looking for a Quicker Go-To-Market

Traditionally, service providers have built their customer facing applications in-house to ensure they had both commercial and development control.

Today’s service providers, however, are increasingly actively seeking to incorporate third-party developed products into their core services. This not only speeds up and boosts their go-to-market offerings, it also gives them a competitive advantage in a saturated market.

Selecting a suitable third-party vendor is therefore critical, since mistakes can be extremely difficult to rectify. So, what are the right questions to ask and what due diligence needs to be undertaken?

Top considerations for those looking to develop new partnerships and build third-party apps into a voice offering

Firstly, be clear on what you want:

1.  Do you need a loosely tacked-on product / service or a fully ‘baked-in’ service offering under your own brand?

2.  If you have international or global aspirations, can the vendor offer relevant capability including localisation, language support and round the clock support?

3.  Can the vendor support your own internal demands and challenges?

4.  Can the vendor’s solution scale in line with your own business growth projections?

Be sure to have proof of their offering:

5.  Does the vendor have proven products and deployments in similar organisations to your own, or perhaps bigger?

6.  Is there evidence of previous integration and capabilities with service providers’ OSS, BSS, billing and CRM systems?

7.  Check that the vendor’s proposition is capable of being sold, billed and supported through multiple direct and indirect sales channels.

8.  Seek a partner who can offer exceptional product support and sales training.

9.  Ask the vendor to demonstrate a solid and viable roadmap that can be integrated with your own.

10.  Where possible, seek a vendor who is financially independent and stable with a long-term business strategy – a change of vendor ownership, direction and commitment can have a devastating impact on your business.

Review product features in depth:

11.  Seek a vendor who can offer a suite of products. A modular fully integrated solution makes it easier to increase and enhance the offering over time.

12.  Ensure the vendor can meet your stringent security and testing regimes. Inherent security must be in place for call recording compliance, testing regimes, documentation, release management, DR, customisation and so on.

13.  The vendor needs to offer a fast ‘go-to-market’ solution which does not compromise on quality over scalability.

14.  Select a vendor who offers both APIs and a customer management portal for easy management by resellers.

15.  The vendor should be able to deliver valuable insights and reporting on your customers from product up-take, attach rates, product choice, utilisation through to revenue intelligence.

And don’t forget to consider company values:

16.  Always look for a passionate, innovative vendor with service at their heart. Look at vendors with a strong reputation for being good to work with.

17.  Not least, ensure generous margins are available so everyone in the chain, from service provider through to reseller, can achieve a meaningful income that makes selling and supporting worthwhile.

One thing is for sure, selecting the right vendor is more important than ever before, especially as it is becoming much more difficult to swap out a vendor down the line. In the world of cloud voice and Unified Communications (UC), partnerships can be for life if chosen thoughtfully.

Tollring is one of a small number of third-party vendors in the cloud voice and UC market that has developed its solutions natively in the cloud, designed specifically for the cloud. Tollring is expert in analytics, reporting, recording and fraud management, with a highly scalable and proven, fully integrated suite of applications.