It’s not a secret that premise-based communications have fallen to the wayside in recent years, with the rise of cloud office and contact center platforms. Those that remain on-prem face a number of growing challenges from end-of-life scenarios to global shortages of switches and other equipment. Perhaps the largest challenge, however, is what to do about on-premise support contracts.
PBX Partner & Direct Support Levels are Diminishing
While enterprise-level organizations that are still on-prem may find comfort in having a support partner, the return on investment simply is not as lucrative as it once was. Support levels from many partners have diminished as the industry has pivoted to cloud, and those who have remained solely focused on premise-based support have been forced to make some hard layoffs within their senior IT leadership to stay afloat.
Additionally, direct support from on-premise manufacturers in 2021 is primarily delivered via overseas contact centers designed for basic troubleshooting. Yet when a critical problem arises, the escalation process of getting a senior IT agent that can actually help is slow and tedious. What was once delivered in hours through direct support can now take weeks or even months of senseless escalations.
To put this in perspective, we frequently encounter new clients reaching out to us for help even though they’re already under direct or partner support. They complain that procuring keys is incredibly difficult and the hardware delays are threatening to bring their critical, everyday operations to a complete stop. Again, these are companies paying very good money on an existing on-premise PBX contract with another partner and an overall lack of responsiveness is crippling their business
Some would argue that part of those agreements is to deliver steady feature and security updates to their platform, but the remaining premise-based providers have ceased R&D for those platforms years ago. Updates have become much less frequent from some platforms and have completely stopped from others as they’ve reached end-of-life and end-of-support.
Continual Price Increases from Manufacturers
The “icing on the cake” for many companies is the steady increase in pricing for their support agreements due to the increases being pushed by the vendors to compensate for the drop in sales. It’s comparable to the decline of home telephone a decade ago- as fewer users take advantage of the infrastructure, pricing has to increase to maintain the overall network. That’s why support agreements have skyrocketed in price despite offering only a fraction of previous support levels.
With a sharply declining quality of support, feature updates, hardware availability, security updates, what exactly are we receiving from a PBX support contract these days that warrants drastically increased pricing? The answer is simple- there is no return on investment to be found.
What Converged Technology Professionals is Doing About it
At Converged Technology Professionals, we’ve always tried to be true to our customers and look out for their best interests. Our leadership has debated this topic from every possible angle, and we realize that traditional PBX support contracts have very little to offer to the majority of our customers in 2022 and beyond. For that reason, we’ve decided to adapt to the market and offer time and materials contracts for both new and existing customers.
What’s a time and materials contract look like? Instead of the standard support contract where you receive unlimited IT assistance for a fixed annual price, we simply bill you a standard hourly rate for various types of support. A contract still creates a formal partnership where you can turn to us for guidance and consultations, plus on-site or virtual support whenever it’s required. It eliminates the growing fixed costs that premise-based vendors are charging for very little in return.
Because that’s the real crux of the matter here; if we offer “official support” via our premise-based partners, then we’re required to charge that vendor’s fixed pricing and pay them handsomely for the privilege of serving you. We don’t get any benefit from that relationship either and it’s ultimately wasting your organization’s money.
We know that this decision will not be popular among our many friends and colleagues within the industry, but we do feel like it’s a necessary addition to our offerings in order to serve new and existing clients’ best interests. Nothing will change internally for our clients on existing on-prem support contracts, but we will happily discuss a switch to time and materials at any time while also continuing to help you plan for the future.
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