The ISM, Inc. Blog

9 Questions to Ask Your Enterprise Collaboration Solution Provider

According to Gartner, 80% of large and midsize organizations in mature regions will have deployed one or more content collaboration platforms as part of a content productivity and collaboration strategy by 2020. Moreover, group chat is gaining ground empowering teams to work better together and improve overall business KPIs. Here are 9+ things you'll need to know before choosing a partner.

  1. Does the provider have advanced knowledge of the platform and its capabilities? Does it provide an end-to-end collaboration & productivity solution or is it fragmented?
  2. Which customer interaction channels does the vendor support?
  • Telephony (PSTN, PBX, VOIP)
  • Instant messaging
  • Persistent chat
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Conferencing
  • Social networking
  • Web presence
  • Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)
  • Data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards)
  • Call control
  • Speech recognition

3. Is the solution scalable and flexible allowing you to add new functionality and services on the fly? As your organization grows and its needs fluctuate your architecture should be scalable (up/down) as needed to keep costs low.

  • Business Value > Horizontal Scale > Add multiple innovative services as the needs of the organization changes
  • Business Value > Vertical Scale > Increase existing tools and functionality
  • Hardware > Horizontal Scale > Add more servers, computing power, storage, etc.
  • Hardware > Vertical Scale > Increase existing server capacity to improve computing power and storage
  • On-Premise, Cloud, or Hybrid >  The ability to choose the path that’s right for your unique business needs is critical when some business leaders remain apprehensive about full-scale cloud migration. Will they be there when you need them with reliable and timely support for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS scenarios?

4. Does the solution meet your current business requirements and have the capacity to meet future needs cost effectively? Considerations for cost per user, as well as total cost of ownership are crucial. A cost-benefit analysis should be conducted by the vendor to show the projected increase in workforce collaboration and productivity over time. This critical step will help you make a strong business case. Considerations include:

  • Maintenance costs
  • Upgrade costs
  • Administration costs
  • Training costs
  • User adoption costs

5. Platform security and compliance measures. Is It Safe?

  • Does the platform prevent unauthorized use, and how?
  • Does it offer protection beyond the firewall?
  • What are the encryption methods used to secure your content?
  • Does it include real-time monitoring and audit logging?
  • Does it provide role-based authentication?

6. Is It Compliant?

  • Does it offer Single sign-on?
  • Does it provide multifactor authentication?
  • Is it compliant with GPDR, HIPAA, and others?
  • Does it include data loss prevention (DLP)?
  • Does it offer search and eDiscovery?

7. Have you been asked all the right questions?

  • What are the user demographics? (Location, age, language, communication style and preferences)
  • What is the impetus for the initiative? Do you want to simplify communications or add more interaction channels like persistent chat, video conferencing, and screen sharing?
  • What are your preferences in timing and approach to the migration? (Gradual, cutover, multichannel)
  • What is the primary place of use? (One geographical location, multiple locations, collocated or remote)
  • How will you measure results? Microsoft Office 365 includes a robust reporting dashboard that tracks usability over time. Companies can gain more profound business insights with Microsoft Power BI via API.

8. Is it reliable?

  • What is the vendor’s track record?
  • How long has the vendor been serving the business community?
  • Is the provider certified in this area?
  • Will you be working with a verified partner?
  • Does the partner have sufficient resources?

9. Is it all or nothing? Does the provider offer multiple vendor technologies and configurations for a custom fit? Don’t get locked into non-flexible solutions. Look for options to mix and match tools that integrate with existing systems to suit your unique collaboration & productivity needs.

  • For example: Mix and match Allworx phones with Jabber online and WebEx meetings by Cisco to compliment Microsoft Office 365
  • Does the provider have a broad knowledge of cutting-edge technologies and the possible synergies among them?
  • Does the partner provide both cost and gap analyses to identify the best solution for your business?

Integrated Systems Management, Inc. (ISM, Inc.) is a Certified Microsoft Gold Partner with broad experience in Office 365 Enterprise and Business. We provide full support for Office 365 including SharePoint, Exchange, Azure, Power BI, and SQL database. We offer consultation, migration, and adoption to Office 365.

Every business has unique communication needs. Microsoft Office 365 offers a universal toolkit: an unmatched set of integrated capabilities that are highly secure and always evolving to changing workstyle trends. As a partner we make sure that we thoroughly understand your needs. We specialize in solving challenges associated with email, calendars, enterprise social, and chat-based workspaces with secure and intelligent mobile-friendly tools and technologies.

Office 365 includes controls that help companies stay compliant, like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policy Tips, which triggers an alert when sensitive information is about to be sent via email. Meet a range of country and industry compliance requirements with Microsoft Azure and Office 365, which are independently verified to maintain compliance with a broad range of standards.

Moreover, companies can incorporate deep learning using Delve to create a mobile-intelligent network that connects applications via single sign-on. Contact us today to for free consultation and to learn more.

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