Mama Always Said, “You Get What You Pay For” – The True Cost of a “Free” Network Assessment

Blog Writer Full Disclosure

I am not sure my mother ever actually said, “You get what you pay for.”  Also, I am not sure I ever really called my mom, “mama”. Still this sounds like something mama would say.

Conflicting Values

In almost every business transaction, there are competing perceptions of value between the seller and the buyer. The seller is trying to maximize their margins, while the buyer is trying to solve a business challenge at the best possible price. In the world of hosted UC, this can be seen in the importance of preparing an enterprises environment for hosted UC traffic. The value of a UC hosting business is in its monthly recurring revenue (MRR). A UC hosting provider wants to get as many users on their system as quickly as possible. Furthermore, they want their customers to spend money on their monthly service rather than on preparation costs. To a UC hosting provider, there is nominal value in a network assessment because it increases the cost of moving to a hosted model and the hosting provider does not recognize that part of the customer cost.

To the enterprise, however, the user experience is the biggest value driver. Most enterprises realize that moving to a hosted UC provider is extremely risky if the network is not ready to handle the UC traffic. What is the point in putting of all of your users in a hosted UC provider’s data center if your network cannot handle the traffic? Sophisticated enterprises recognize the value of thoroughly assessing their network’s ability to handle the traffic before moving their users to a UC environment, whether hosted or on-prem. To take it a step further, these enterprises will take the time to invest in any necessary network remediation to ensure their environment is maximized to support the traffic.

Paying a Freemium

It’s a real word. I promise. There is no red squiggly line in my Word doc. I am going to reference the Wikipedia definition because it includes the words “portmanteau” and “neogolism.” Freemium is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality, or virtual goods.The word “freemium” is a portmanteau neologism that was coined by Jarid Lukin in 2006. 

This is the traditional definition of Freemium. The cynical definition is that if a product or service is free, you are going to end up paying in the end because the free version does not bring any real value or because any support or follow-up necessary to bring that value is charged at a premium. There is a 3rd model of freemium where one company in a value chain expects other companies in that chain to give away their product/service for free or at a minimal cost.   This model is dangerous because the company that is getting the most value out of a transaction is forcing others to get little or no value. If your network assessment provider is not getting anything for their efforts, how much effort can we expect them to bring?

Start with the Essentials

Before any enterprise deploys a hosted UC service, they need to assess their network. At the very least, they need to confirm that the network connections between their major locations can support the expected voice, video, and collaboration traffic. If it’s possible, the enterprise should also test the network connection between the hosted provider’s data centers and the customer locations. For this basic network assessment, enterprises should choose a partner that understands networks and understands UC traffic so they can design an appropriate assessment. Enterprises should also make sure that their partner is using a network assessment tool that thoroughly tests the network’s ability to effectively handle the expected UC traffic.

Advance to the Next Step – Remediation

Knowing whether the network can handle the anticipated traffic is only half the battle. If the enterprise network CANNOT handle the UC payload, then the enterprise needs to take steps to remediate any issues in their network. If the enterprise has the internal networking capabilities, this can be done in-house. Otherwise, it is important to select a partner that has deep skills on network design and administration, but understands the unique and complex nature of UC traffic as well.

Making Hosted UC Worth The Investment

Hosted UC offers potential tremendous value to the enterprise. The promise of hosted UC does not remove the need for a capable network infrastructure. If anything, it magnifies that need. Leveraging a capable partner to perform a network assessment with a proven tool is well worth the investment.

Shameless Nectar Plug

Keep an eye out for coming announcements from Nectar about who we consider the top partners for helping you make sure your network is ready for your hosted UC strategy. To learn more about Nectar and our solutions, contact us today.