AT times, in the business world when the need for procurement of any new technologies arises, regardless of size, loopholes have become prevalent due to the lack of a strict adherence to due diligence given the fast-paced technological changes.
Ignorance and conscious “corner cutting” have become the norm, costing many organisations thousands of dollars. It is our hope to adequately enlighten you upon the best practices to be considered when procuring new technological assets, focussing on office telephony.
Expertise is key
The first key element to ink onto our canvas of success is have the “right person” for the job, overseeing each stage of the process.A common scenario is when a company needs to acquire new office telephony and someone less endowed in the technical nitty-gritty is assigned, and are asked by a telecoms supplier their requirements, to which they usually just state, the number of people to use the system and the number of lines for each.
True to reason, from a layman’s perspective, this can be said to be what they need. But what happens when technological changes occur and the tide of economic growth shine upon them and newer telecoms equipment is now needed within a year or so, to cater for increased demand volumes? Replacements become a profit-crunching waste. Contrary to such, if the assignment had been tasked to the right information technology (IT) personnel first, they would have provided better-informed specifications by factoring in the need for extra lines and extensions, connectivity set-ups and user features which may be needed in future.
A visit to the responsible IT department is paramount so as to ascertain, in the form of a check list, the company’s technical requirements today, those of tomorrow and relevant devices with interconnectivity ability needed. This initial planning becomes advantageous when scaling up by having flawless compatibility across network devices, so as to enjoy cost saving features to include Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), free Multi-Branch connection, Telephone Management Software (TMS), Least Cost Routing, Voice Logging, Call Centre Set-Up, Advert-On-Hold and Remote Extension Management, (work from anywhere).
These technical cognoscenti can now draw up a tender specification and forward it to procurement for gathering bids/quotations. The adjudication exercise is not only a matter of the lowest price but lowest price meeting minimum technical specifications as set out and also meeting all statutory and administrative requirements. It is highly recommended that the bid/quotation documents be sent back to IT for them to check on who meets the minimum technical requirements and procurement can then establish the lowest price, having been satisfied with bidders meeting the minimum statutory and administrative requirements.
The procurement department of your organisation has to be ever alert and look up the authenticity and service levels of the shortlisted providers. Issues of whether the providers are a registered company, have valid Zimra Tax Clearance, have an established Bank Account, have a valid licence from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) and proven track record (request for at least 3 reference letters), cannot be turned a blind eye to, on the checklist.
Having an office telephony supplier licenced by Potraz is particularly important, as it is not only a legal requirement but Potraz also ensures service provision compliance with the supplier, if you get shoddy service. All you have to do is notify Potraz. This is particularly necessary as an influx of unregistered “brief case” telephone companies has arisen on the market, posing a potential danger of financial loss to your organisation.
If your organisation is a parastatal or a government department, the telephone supplier must be accordingly registered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz), which has many specialised categories, under which your telephone supplier must be duly registered.
This exertion helps avoid dubious providers, who of late have flooded the Zimbabwean telecoms market. Your telecoms procurement check list, must be your weapon of choice to protect your organisation against these unscrupulous telecoms vendors. Check-list reports would be drawn per each shortlisted supplier, ensuring you get quality warrantied hardware and software. Award points on each item on your checklist, in order of importance. (You can request for a free PABX specification sample and due diligence check list on email@example.com).
When a decision to buy office telephony has been made ensure administrative, statutory and technical requirements are drawn up, by responsible staff in each respective department. Come up with a tender document and send the tender document to a minimum of three companies or advertise the tender in a public newspaper. After receiving the bid documents from suppliers, undertake the correct adjudication process. This ensures you get the best supplier at the best possible price, giving you peace of mind, for many years to come.
This article is published by Standard Global Communications (SGC), in the spirit of educating the business community on acquiring and managing their office telephony needs. Our articles include defining what a PABX is, how to specify the unique needs of an organisation, PABX features that reduce telephone bills, choosing a competent service provider and recommendations on after-sales support. SGC has been deploying Telecoms and Electronic Security solutions for over 20 years. Backed by skilled local and international technical teams, SGC offers custom-made solutions.
We consult on your office telephony requirements for free, design the solution, deploy and provide after-sales support. Our scalable solutions take care of your current and future requirements, integration with other network devices, help reduce costs by over 50%, increase operational efficiency and all, at an affordable cost. For more information, questions and comments, regarding this article, please Call/WhatsApp +263 772 875 577, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our social media platforms Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or our website.