System Specification and Sourcing

The specification, sourcing, procurement, and implementation of telephone, voicemail, call and contact centre, and related systems, typically involves substantial capital expenditure and significant exposure to risk.

Our consultants have implemented more than a half a million lines of telephony and associated switching systems. Accordingly, Communications Options has developed a methodology aiming to de-risk the process, and to ensure that the optimal system is implemented at the best price.

This methodology has several key components. We create precise system specifications based on the client’s requirements through a process of in-depth interviews with users and decision-makers, and other key personnel. Our specification documents translate business requirements into telecommunications system requirements. Our specification documents are technology and vendor neutral: our approach is to consider all types of proposed solutions that meet our clients’ requirements.

Based on the specification, we identify appropriate potential vendors and then manage a formal Request for Proposal process. We recommend the optimal system and vendor, and negotiate pricing and service levels. We project manage the system implementation.

Recent projects have included IP Telephony solutions across corporate WANs and VPNs, hybrid IP Telephony and TDM solutions, and IP Centrex. On numerous occasions, we have advised our clients that they can deliver the specified requirements using a combination of their existing equipment and a number of low incremental cost services, and without substantial investment in new systems.

The risks for companies when purchasing new systems are considerable:

  • The system bought may incorporate functionality that the client does not need but nevertheless pays for, or conversely may not incorporate all of the functionality for the client to achieve what it wants to achieve from its telecommunications.
  • Poor configuration, as well as poor network, support, or maintenance design, can mean that resilience and diversity paid for and engineered into the system do not provide any risk management and business continuity benefits in practice.
  • System vendors often provide pricing that is way out of line with (up to seven times) the market rate.
  • Vendors can cut corners in installations, meaning that the system is poorly configured to maximize the productivity of the system users.
  • Vendors’ project management methodologies can be designed to minimize their own exposure to risk, rather than their client’s.
  • Rectifying poor configuration when the installation is signed off is often chargeable and disruptive.
  • New systems should be implemented in parallel to the systems that they are replacing, so that pre-testing can take place and the risk of downtime is minimized when cutting over from the old system to the new. Cut-overs should take place outside of business hours to minimize the impact of any downtime that does occur.
  • Metrics are often not put in place to determine whether the new systems are delivering the benefits that they were bought to deliver, so even though the business case for the new system was understood, it cannot be validated.
  • We manage the entire process, from system specification to acceptance testing, in order to mitigate risks and minimize costs.

Reference clients for the service include Delfont Mackintosh and Drive Assist.

We charge for the service on a time and materials basis or on a fixed fee basis. Our fees are usually covered by the benefits of our involvement in pricing negotiations alone.

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To learn more about what we can do for you, call us on +44 203 586 4266.