The IT Bill of Rights

By James Whitemore

In today’s innovative and always-on society, communications service providers have never been more equipped to deliver a great customer experience, especially in the cloud. Yet human providers continue to experience customer churn due to poor processes, overhyped technology, and bad customer service.

If your enterprise is spending thousands, or even millions, of dollars with cloud communications service providers you are entitled to the best service and solutions possible. If you are struggling to understand the entitlement your organization has with providers, this list of the “IT Bill of Rights” should be helpful.

1) Right to Complete Visibility of an Infrastructure: As enterprises make the shift to cloud-based applications, reliance on a high quality voice and data transmission is more important than ever. But IT departments need more from their service providers than just monthly or weekly reports. They deserve and should expect real-time visibility and control with proactive monitoring and status alerts.

2) Right to Service Provider Simplicity: With the convergence of communications in the cloud, there is no longer a need for operations teams to handle multiple service providers and accounting departments to have to deal with multiple invoices. This can all be consolidated in a “one provider, one bill” format.

3) Right to Certified Technicians: Carrier satisfaction rates suffer because of the runaround customer service provides. When an issue arises, you should be able to reach certified support staff and talk to a human being right away. Most issues should be resolved in a single phone call.

4) Right to a Full Suite of Products: With the workforce more mobile than ever, collaboration is necessary. Having the right tools that work together is critical. Whether it’s messaging, presence, or Web/audio conferencing, you have the right to experience seamless consistency and for them to work the first time, every time.

5) Right to the Best Network Connection: Carriers aren’t omnipotent, which is why there are network solutions that combine multiple carrier networks in order to provide you the best possible connection in your area, regardless of your location.

6) Right to True Solutions: It’s easy for a vendor to say, “We can do that.” But can they actually deliver, or are they just hiding costs and presenting half-truths? You have the right to a provider that won’t fill your ear with empty promises during the sales cycle, only to renege on them once you’ve signed a contract.

7) Right to Clear Voice Service: MPLS networks provide flawless voice service over IP. Combine that with the fact that there are rate centers that can access nearly every U.S. city, and you have no excuse for low quality VoIP service.

8) Right to Improved Customer Service: Everyone wants to improve their customer’s experience, but not all centers take advantage of the tools needed to do so. If you have a contact center, you have the right to tools that enable call routing, monitoring, and administration while being flexible enough to successfully accommodate heavy traffic periods.

9) Right to Protection from the Public Internet: Spam, viruses, and inappropriate content have no place in a corporate setting, nor can you afford it to. Off the shelf network security isn’t enough for the enterprise, so as fraudsters and hackers are getting smarter, you have the right to a security solution that evolves with the current threat level.

10) Right to Complete Visibility: Through a hosted provider that uses the cloud, day-to-day management of the network infrastructure becomes their responsibility, leaving you and your team to focus on more strategic initiatives. You have the right to stay in the loop with visibility and access your network and communications platform at any time through provided tools.

Understanding your enterprise’s IT Bill of Rights can help you gain the most service benefits from your cloud communications provider, ultimately aiding in your organization’s success and bottom line.

James Whitemore is executive vice president of West IP Communications, a provider of cloud-based communications for enterprise-level companies. He can be reached at jwhitemore@westipc.com.

[From the June/July 2012 issue of AnswerStat magazine]