Melissa Swartz | No Jitter | August 19, 2020
Licenses, connectivity, and devices are some of the main components to consider.
Essentially, this is the cost of connecting to the cloud. There are multiple options here, so you may have to think broadly to capture all of the costs. Examples include:
- Internet connection
- Backup connection
- Appliances or gateways
- Software or management tools
- PSTN access (if you provide the connection)
- Local and long-distance calling charges
- Home internet for remote workers (if company-paid)
Significant charges for DID numbers, 911 services, taxes, fees, and surcharges usually aren’t included in vendor quotes. These can add up to 20 to 35 percent of your overall monthly cost. The best way to get an accurate number for these costs is to see an actual bill from the service provider. It isn’t always easy, so be prepared to press them on this.
- Cost of training your support staff
- Cost of internal resources required for onboarding users or a new solution
- Asset tracking and shipping costs
- Configuration changes
- Device upgrades or changes (do you need more laptops for remote workers)?
- Costs associated with existing services. Be aware of existing contracts, when they expire, if they automatically renew, and whether there could be termination penalties if you cancel services early.
Potential Budget Busters
- Contact center costs and call recording solutions can vary widely based on your requirements. There can be add on capabilities, such as workforce management, and quality assurance, that can change your costs, as well. This area requires investigation and careful documentation of your requirements to determine accurate budget projections. Cost per seat can vary from $60/month to $300/month, depending on the contact center needs.
- If you’re moving to a cloud solution and aren’t already in a VOIP environment, you must ensure that your infrastructure and network configuration are ready to support VOIP. This is one of the biggest gotchas when moving to VOIP or cloud for the first time. Switch upgrades may be required, and implementing Quality of Service (QoS) and e-911 can be time-consuming.
- Don’t forget to include the costs of analog devices and faxes. You’ll need adaptors or gateways to convert them to IP, or you can move to a fax server. In my experience, there are always more of these things than you think there will be.
- There may be a cost for getting rid of your existing system, so be sure to include decommissioning costs in your budget.
Read more about the hidden costs you might encounter.
- Services you no longer need, such as audio-conferencing services or circuits between sites. Additionally, as your usage of collaboration applications increases, your usage of PSTN services may likely decrease as the traffic shifts. That means you should analyze your traffic and see if you can cut back on the amount of PSTN services for which you are paying.
- Moving to a centralized SIP trunking environment if you haven’t done so already, as this can save a lot of money.
- Using videoconferencing to reduce travel.
- Reducing real estate costs with remote workers
- Choosing a cloud solution where you won’t be paying for a maintenance contract on your existing equipment.
- Moving to VOIP, so you no longer have to maintain separate cabling and infrastructure for voice and data. Users may be able to move phones themselves, saving your staff time.
If you want the job, you need to look knowledgeable and professional with your proposal.
Many times, the project plan created by the vendor’s project managers is not complete in scope. It does not address all of the tasks required of all the involved parties.
We would be well-served to learn from lessons of the past and include an evaluation of a provider's financial stability during the buying process for hosted services.
Understanding a client’s business is more important than talking about the latest whizz-bang device.