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How do you evaluate a potential UC system integrator?

Industry leaders explain the factors that enterprises should consider when selecting a UC system integrator.

When an organization decides to use a system integrator to help implement a new unified communications system or...

application, there are three key considerations IT managers should use to evaluate potential system integrators.

Kevin Kramer, network and mobility consulting services leader for HP, and Rick Qualman, vice president of enterprise networks and communications services at IBM, offered advice on how to evaluate system integrator candidates at the Enterprise Connect panel "Selecting a system integrator for UC."

The first factor IT managers should consider is the lessons that system integrators learned on previous deployment projects. Kramer said any potential system integrators should address their experience with a particular UC deployment, like video conferencing or a full migration. System integrators should share information on how they completed the deployment, the problems they encountered and how they solved the problems.

"What you're paying for is reduced risk and that another organization has already found the problems you're likely to run into," he said.

If a system integrator doesn't have experience with a particular technology or service that an organization is looking to deploy, that is a sign that their services may not align with the organization's needs.

The second consideration is the system integrator's vision. This can range from a system integrator's vision for an organization or for UC in general.

"You can judge whether that's a complete vision and is right on target with what you're looking for," Kramer said.

System integrators will also offer organizations an independent viewpoint to guide them through a UC system or technology deployment, he added.

The final consideration is the organization's goals. Qualman said it's vital that an organization has a strong understanding of the goals it wants to accomplish with a deployment.

For example, he said, an organization looking to deploy video conferencing needs goals for how video conferencing will change not only IT but also costs and employee behavior.

"These all start moving you toward a system integrator who can help you," Qualman said.

Next Steps

System integrators seeing increased relevance in cloud UC market

This was last published in July 2015

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What factors do you consider when selecting a system integrator?
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I think UC "integrator" is a nebulous term. You want an AV/collaboration consultant that can divine the application and value add, typically from a vertical market perspective, plan the incorporation of legacy systems, and communicate what the new work-flow will enable. You want a cyber security/network infrastructure lead that can plan authentication and bandwidth management. You want a vendor that will deliver and test. And you want a managed services provider for help desk, monitoring, and reporting.
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