Selecting your new Internet Service Provider (ISP) should be a straight forward task.
However with thousands of providers, tens of carriers, unlimited price and Service Level Agreement (SLA) combinations, it’s often more challenging to make the right decision.
EY have recently highlighted on this very challenge with a report on the state of consumer broadband. They report on that the complexity of bundling, not being able to leverage these, and too much choice and complexity of services is making consumers confused and dissatisfied.
We see this also in business connectivity, with the sheer choice of underlying connectivity options.
With connectivity now the lifeblood of many organisations large and small, the right decision is never more important than it is today.
Get it wrong, and you could be locked in for a 3 to 5 year period with a provider that is not right, on a service that is not delivering.
Get it right, and you will be concentrating on your own business underpinned by fantastic & reliable connectivity.
What you should be looking for
Whilst your specific organisation and personal goals may differ from others, there are a number of key factors that underpin the decision making process.
We highlight these below and expand on how they are important talking points with whoever you are engaging with.
- What are your impressions of the ISP. Does the sales person and technical team you speak to understand your business, your requirements, the services available, or are they just reading from scripts and limited in their grasp of the services they can speak to you about?
- Is the information you find on their website and support centres giving you the reassurance that once you are a customer, they will be able to work with you as you require?
- Do they have a public network status page that you can subscribe to, with incident reports and postmortems?
- Do they have a track-record backed up with recent relevant case studies and references?
- How long have they been in business?
- Who are the key management team, directors and owners? Are they are faceless organisation?
- Do they run their own ISP core network, or are they just resellers? The latter group don’t have to understand much about the connectivity they sell which may be acceptable for 90% of the time, but if there are any challenges, complex requirements or difficult support or provisioning cases, the potential lack of knowledge, bluff and buster may cause serious concerns.
- Are you able to speak to other technical contacts with the organisation pre-sale to answer any specific complex questions you have?
- Do they demonstrate a track-record in helping others with complex, unusual or challenging requirements?
- Do they host information on their support centre and website that provides expert advice, tips, and general information?
- Definitely an important factor, as you’d rather be spending your precious pounds on other revenue-making expenditure; so is the pricing in the right ball park?
- Although some providers will only compete on price, and just adopt a COST+ model, is this ISP ticking the other boxes? They may be cheap, but what about trust, expertise, monitoring, and customer service?
- Do they run their own network and have direct control, or are they a reseller and have to escalate every request through others?
- If you want to make changes to your service in life, will they have to communicate through endless middlemen to facilitate this?
- Customer Service
- Is there a culture expressed pre-sale that customer services is high on the ISP’s values?
- How does the ISP look like in terms of size, departments, staff turnover, management and director structure?
- Will you have an account manager, or be offloaded to a call centre that doesn’t know you or your business?
- Monitoring, Tools and Insight
- Does the ISP offer extensive monitoring that you can also access to ensure that the services being delivered are performing according to specifications?
- Additional value added services
- Does the ISP also offer value-added complimentary services such as VoIP, mobiles, firewalls and other related telecoms and IT services?
- Are there promotions and benefits to engaging with the single supplier?
- Are the technical Quality of Service (QoS) reasons to work with a single supply in the case of VoIP?