Why Lifecycle Management is so Important
By Marko Spremo
Chilling Choices to Make or Break Your Company
A well-documented technology lifecycle management plan is crucial to making the most of your technology and telecom services. Most issues that arise down the line originate from not having such a plan in place – and from not being able to ask the right questions up front.
Without knowing the potential pitfalls, timeframes or expectations set forth by your technology and telecom vendor(s), you can land yourself in one scary situation—and not just because Halloween is right around the corner.
Terrifying Tales of Caution
As a client, you rely on vendors to answer your questions properly, even if the vendor doesn’t know what questions to ask in return or how your existing services integrate with other products and services.
Unfortunately, the majority of vendors don’t ask or obtain enough detail about your current vendors because they’re more focused on signing you up for their own services. Instead of supporters, you end up with users in the room, promoting nothing but their products. Telapprise acts as our client’s advocate at all times, ensuring your experience with a vendor isn’t anywhere near as nightmarish as we’ve made it sound so far.
Here are a few true tales of Telapprise clients whose own experiences were a bit too ghoulish for our liking:
- Spooky Single Solution Promises
A client was told by their new vendor that they would be able to migrate all of their services under one bill and single solution. This vendor promised them nothing would change except where the bill came from. They [the vendor] even told the client’s CEO that the company could save 30% on their existing services if they decided to pull everything under one entity.
What they didn’t tell them was that by signing the contract they were agreeing to a new 3-year term, all locations and services under 1 bill, and while this may have collectively saved them SOME money, it also meant the client had to rip out everything they currently had with their existing provider. This included removing their ETFs (early termination fees), having to replace their equipment, and not being able to keep their current IP addresses. This error would have cost them over ½ million dollars.
Lesson Learned: Know what questions to ask
- Morbid Migrations
Another example of a deal gone wrong involved a client and a UCaaS provider. This provider promised to get a new service up and running and into migration within 30 days. They even offered the client a special incentive: sign today and you’ll get a deal in Q4. Unfortunately, porting a phone number from one carrier to another within 30 days is nearly impossible and almost never happens. That’s why one year later the implementation still wasn’t complete and the client was still paying for the old system on top of the new one.
The vendor promised to take them from $150K to $60K per month and increase their access speed to ensure there was enough bandwidth for voice and video. However, the client didn’t know it wasn’t fiber, it was a combination of Ethernet over Copper and wireless that wasn’t going to guarantee the required bandwidth. This meant the actual cost reduction wasn’t true as they had to add more expensive services to guarantee the required bandwidth for quality voice and video.
For a true product migration timeline, you need someone who knows what they are talking about and who will ask the right questions about what it takes to successfully pull one off.
Lesson learned: Know exactly what you’re getting into and purchasing
- Failed Implementations
One horror story that’s shorter than the rest but just as alarming comes from a client who signed and paid for a new service, only to find out after 14 months of failed implementations that it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. By the time the client realized the service would never work the way it was intended, it was too late. They legally had to pay for the ultimately useless service. When they questioned their provider, the only answer they received in return was, “we can’t migrate the service because you aren’t giving us the right information.”
Not only did the provider not know how to port the information from the existing carrier, but the client was caught in the sticky web of a deal gone horribly wrong.
Lesson learned: Make sure the vendor knows what they’re doing
- Scary Service Suspensions
Every once in a while, a client will forget to pay their bill or pay it under the wrong account. Simultaneously, bills sometimes get sent to the wrong billing address within a company and the wrong people end up getting those ominous “don’t let your payment be late” warnings. This is exactly what happened to a client recently.
On their second day back to the office post Covid, and with over 500 employees moving back in, they were shut down. The provider claimed it was because they didn’t pay their bill. Telapprise got them back up and running, but they still had to pay a certain amount within 24 hours of notification. 24 hours later they were shut down again even though they made the payment and the issue was notated on the accounts with the provider.
While finance was paying the bills, the actual service location was invoiced for new charges each month. Since finance never received that particular invoice, finance never saw the outstanding balance that kept getting late fees and surcharges added until service was ultimately shut down for non-payment, because finance didn’t know to expect the invoice and the site location never forwarded the information to finance for payment. Unfortunately, this happens way too often within organizations when there isn’t a defined lifecycle management process and tool to identify these issues.
Lesson Learned: Implement Lifecycle management to catch issues like this before they become a problem
- Creepy Carrier Claims
Our last hazardous tale comes from a vendor who told our client that they could get a circuit installed in the UK within 30 days. Telapprise warned them it would be 60-90 days minimum and talked to the carrier and client to try to clear up any misunderstandings.
This may be an extreme case, but the carrier intervened and promised the client they could get the circuit installed in 30 days. It actually ended up taking 21 months to install on a 24-month lease. Rather than having actual service at the location, the client had to use cell phones to do all of their business.
Lesson Learned: Always know the potential pitfalls of working with a new vendor
Frightening Fine Print and Nasty Negotiations
Even though reading the fine print and negotiating a better deal can be daunting, it’s always worth the trouble where your company is concerned. One client was promised they would save $50K a month by entering into a deal with a new provider, but they didn’t read the fine print. In the end, they had to pay full list price for all the new hardware and the client paid 250K per month for double billing.
Another client saved $36K only to pay an extra $1M due to miscommunications during the negotiation process that caused implementation delays. In many cases, IT not only handles the technical requirements, but the budget and initial contract and pricing negotiations. In trying to meet technical requirements, sometimes IT doesn’t include finance or procurement early enough in the process, which can cause delays, cost overruns, and making decisions in too short of a time frame since not all parties are involved early enough in the technology lifecycle. It’s not enough to just look at the line item costs when making a technology transition or migration to a new provider/technology. Ultimately, an accurate TCO/ROI has to be developed for the entire project, not just the comparison of the technologies. Too often, key items are missed and cost overruns and delays occur.
Telapprise helps bring people from all departments into the same space and bridges the communications gap so that there are no misunderstandings or missed information internally, as well as externally with the provider(s). We work efficiently and never leave out details during the negotiation process so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Your technology lifecycle management plan is important, and you shouldn’t take anything at face value. Telapprise can help you fully read through and understand all documents brought forward by your new provider before you accidentally agree to something by signing your rights away. Once you commit to a vendor without reading the fine print, you’ll find yourself in a situation that can feel a lot like a Halloween horror story: hellish and just a bit ghastly.