As a delivery manager for Allstream, I’ve learned that one of the biggest pain points for customers is the implementation process for a new telecom service. This is often a stressful time. IT managers are always under a lot of pressure to ensure the new service is installed on time and without disrupting the business. Even when everything goes right, the process is still stressful for many IT managers.
Here are six things you can do to make your implementation process as painless as possible and also get the most from your service provider.
1. Make the best of the first call
In my job I coordinate the efforts of up to 25 Allstream employees – and several service providers and vendor reps – to deliver a new service. But as far as you are concerned, you’re dealing only with me. That means we need to communicate clearly and effectively with each other, especially at the start of the implementation process.
We begin that communication with an extensive phone discussion about your order details. This is done to ensure there is no discrepancy between what you thought you were buying and what was submitted in the order. We also discuss any possible implementation delays and how we might mitigate them. This is an extremely important call, as every step in the implementation process from this point on is based on the information we collect here. If you come to the call with a plan for how you want implementation to work and a vision for where you want to be afterwards, we have a better opportunity get you there.
2. Tell us your access restrictions
You need to inform us of any site access restrictions or any particular terms and conditions that you want our technicians to work under. Those terms could be as simple as, “Don’t come to our office on a Wednesday” or “Only come on Wednesday.”
You should also tell us if one or more of your sites is not manned and how many days advance notice you’ll need to have someone onsite for the technicians. These restrictions have a definite impact on implementation and need to be discussed up front.
3. Know your network
It’s crucial to determine how this particular solution is going to work within your network infrastructure. You need to consider the complexity of the solution: Are we just turning up an Internet connection for you or do we need to do testing first? Is it a single- or multi-site implementation?
Work often needs to be done on a network infrastructure before a casino online new solution is implemented. It’s important to discuss those network changes with the solution engineer before implementation and to define what you need to do and what we need to do. Then you need to pass on that information to the right people within your organization.
4. Share your implementation plan
Many of our customers are mid-size to enterprise businesses with multiple locations and connections. Because implementation is carried out at all of these sites it is crucial for the in-house contact person to pass on all implementation details to any staff involved with the process. The main contact person must channel information down so each site knows the overall plan and what is expected of them. Too often our technicians show up at a site only to be told by staff members:
“I didn’t know about this! I don’t know why you’re here, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”
Failure to inform the right people about implementation can result in sizable delays.
5. Being aware of technical issues
Our technicians need to have the right technical information before they arrive at your site. If we put together your order thinking we’re doing an optical handoff when it’s supposed to be electrical, or if the technician is carrying an LC connector when an SC connector is required at the site, then the job will not get done on the specified day.
These mix-ups often happen because the person who purchased the solution was unaware of the technical specs at different locations or did not know that technology changes had been made recently. Or it could be that they knew about the changes but forgot to tell us. Either way, unforeseen technology issues can sometimes require an entirely new solution design, which puts us right back to square one.
6. Defining expectations and possible interruptions
Most implementation scenarios do not interrupt essential services, but if they do you need to inform everybody well ahead of time what to expect. In most implementation scenarios you can run your services in parallel while the new solution is being installed. You can do this for a day or so to make sure the new solution is working before you cut it over, but make sure that the relevant people, especially in IT, know what is happening and for how long.
If you found these implementations tips helpful or have any questions please include them in the comments section below.