Be careful what you wish for: cheap isn’t always cheerful

Simon Howitt, Chairman, InTec Business Solutions

There is a saying, be careful what you wish for. And when it comes to tech, this is certainly the case… when what is so often wished for is more advanced technology and better service, at a lower price point.

In the reseller market, we’re unfortunately seeing a growing trend towards dealers unscrupulously driving down prices in order to win a bid. And as technology becomes increasingly complex – in a market that is evolving more rapidly than ever – price wars are an inevitable consequence.

Conversations are revolving around price, rather than functionality or service levels.

Technology itself is not (usually) an expensive commodity. But buying departments should remember that it is not the price of raw materials that matters. They are not just purchasing scrap metal or plastic or fibreglass. But rather they are procuring a service. And good service comes at a cost – a cost which should be reasonable and fair, not necessarily ‘cheap’.

The growing market for cloud-based PBX (telephony) and VOIP (voice over internet protocol) solutions are driving sales of hosted voice technology.

More and more businesses are looking to take advantage of convergence in this area and the subsequent increase in functionality this offers end-users. Through solutions like Skype for Business, users get a more streamlined experience with benefits including:

  • mobile integration

  • interconnectivity between email

  • voicemail and presence

  • and business continuity

And there can be huge cost benefits to the customer too: international call costs can be better controlled; scalability options mean businesses only pay for the licenses they need; and there’s much lower upfront capital expenditure.

But whilst it’s important for companies to do their homework – around both functionality and cost – in this market, if you buy cheap you probably won’t end up feeling cheerful.

Unless you want a really basic product, with basic functionality. In order to implement technologies that help employees work smarter, companies need technical consultants that REALLY know what they are doing, whether that’s helping to choose a solution that meets business needs, working with the right suppliers to procure kit, or physically implementing tech infrastructure. Taking the time to choose the right dealer or reseller and doing a deep-dive into the experience and solutions that are on the table, is likely to result in a far better investment – in both time and money – compared to simply comparing prices.

In partnership with Hale Communications, at Intec Business Solutions we’ve recently worked with one customer to implement an end-to-end solution for hosted voice. This particular customer had previously been offered a *fantastic* price by another reseller – a price that had been driven down in an unfortunate game of ‘how low can you go’. Unfortunately for the customer, they didn’t realise that as the cost had been driven down, so too had the services on the table. The business switched its hosted voice as planned, but as the migration progressed the consequences of poor (and cheap) service became apparent. They were left with a significant amount of down-time, during which they were unable to operate business as usual, which ultimately impacted their customers and their bottom line.

Costs that had been saved on the migration up front, were negated by the repercussions of a job NOT well done.

In the end, the service that the business ended up with wasn’t even in line with business requirements.

And whilst we’re always happy to win new business – in this case stepping in to implement a solution that WAS fit for purpose – in a situation like this, no one wins.The customer has been left out of pocket, the reseller that drove down their prices has suffered reputational damage and our focus must initially be on rectifying the damage to business systems, rather than demonstrating our ability to get the technology right first time.

Simon Howitt, Chairman of InTec Business Solutions, says: “Finding the right solution for the customer will always be our primary aim. Deploying the solution by implementing the right product will always be the task in hand. Finding the best commercial price will always be important, but finding the lowest price at any cost won’t!

“If you go down that route, you just end up with dissatisfied customers.” So buyer beware. Be careful what you wish for… if what you’re wishing for is to get more, for less.The old adage remains: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

At Intec we help businesses to get the most out of the technology they provide to their business users. And our aim is to get it right first time. We can’t promise to be the cheapest, but with access to industry experts, offering end-to-end tech consultancy and support services, we can promise that you will get business-grade, market-leading solutions that improve the way you work. Get in touch today for a free consultation.

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