Secrets of a Salesperson #2: The Real Story on Reliability

We’ve all heard the hype. Ask any cloud carrier salesperson and they’ll tell you, “We’re the best! We are rated the most reliable service! We rank above the competitors!”

The problem is, they ALL say that.

So how do you gauge who truly is reliable?

First let’s just establish that reliability depends a lot on your “pipe,” or internet. If your internet isn’t great, then any service that travels over the internet (which includes everything provided “as a service”)… can’t be great either.  If you don’t have a big enough pipe…stuff can’t fit through. It’s that simple. But more on that in a future secret series tip… 

So, assuming that you have an excellent internet provider and ample bandwidth, lets focus on the service provider themselves. Utilizing a cloud provider means that you are using THEIR equipment at a location somewhere other than your place of business. The provider is hosting the service, whether it is phone service, a contact center service, data storage, security monitoring, call recording, or any other function labeled “as a service.”  In order to know how reliable any particular service provider will be, therefore, you need to know how they operate, maintain, and repair the equipment you will be using.

Not All Cloud Data Centers are the Same!

As we established in secret #1 : not all cloud providers even own their own service.  They are simply re-labeling someone else’s software platform.  That doesn’t mean it’s inferior necessarily…but it’s important to establish that fact first if you want to investigate the true reliability information.

Once you know who really is operating the engine that drives the machine you’re investigating, then you can find out how they function.  Just as people have very different approaches to preventative maintenance on their vehicles or homes,  so do companies when it comes to their hardware. Some cloud providers have geo-redundant plans in place that re-route services automatically if one data center goes down, so that customers never even know there was a problem. Other providers wait until a problem presents itself, and then have to manually move switches to re-route traffic.  What’s the difference?

Well, imagine the difference between replacing your tires as they near the end of their life span, or waiting until you have a blow-out on the freeway to address the issue. Taking care of it ahead of time will mean the difference between avoiding a problem completely or ending up on the side of the road needing a tow truck and missing a day of work. You choose. Would you rather have the expense and hassle of a crisis, or prevent the crisis altogether?

If you are the sort of person who chooses to prevent crises altogether, then here are the questions to ask your potential service provider:

  1. What data center will house my service?
  2. How many outages have you experienced?
  3. How do you handle outages?
  4. What is the fail-over, or redundancy plan?
  5. Can you provide a list of the outages you’ve experienced in the last year?
  6. What is your average outage remediation time?
  7. Can you provide company references?

Taking the time to interview and investigate before entering a contract is time well spent.  If you choose to invest your own time or pay an employee to do the research and interviewing, use the questions above. If any of the contender companies can’t or wont provide the answers…well, that may be your answer right there.

For comprehensive feedback on a cloud provider, also investigate what partners, dealers and resellers have to say about dealing with the company in general.  Dealers and resellers are “in the trenches” dealing with these companies every day,  so they can provide real-world feedback on dependability, reliability, customer service, and more.  Talk to a technology solution consultant – they are going to give you the real scoop, since they are advocates of the customer, not any particular brand or company.  Working with a consultant will save you time, money, and the pain of learning through experience.

Know before you buy… use these tips to cut through the hype and may you find the reliable partner that is a match for your business!





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