Juggling three or more business services from several companies can add up to one unnecessary headache to manage. The solution to this problem may be as easy as getting all your services from the same company where possible.
Bundling IT services is an option offered by some service providers that will allow you to combine different services into one bill. It frequently includes Internet, TV and phone services. Some offer additional complementary services such as online security software, a basic web hosting package and even email addresses. Beyond that, you get into networking service, dedicated Ethernet and more.
Will I Currently and in the Future Have the Right Levels of Each Service?
The first thing you need to consider is what you need — not only right now, but in the future as you grow.
Can your service provider deliver the essential services you need now, affordably?
What about growth? Will you able to grow with the service provider? As your company grows from, say, a small business with a couple of employees, to one with 25, 50, 100 or more – will your service provider be able to provide enterprise-grade services that scale seamlessly, yet at prices a smaller organization can afford?
For phone service, consider what you need, especially if you have such special needs as a call center or remote workers that need to be tied in with the central phone system.
For television, consider both your business and client needs for the service. Does the package you have provide you the latest financial updates, weather reports and news? Does it provide for the right type of lobby entertainment whether there are small children or an adult audience? These small considerations can make a large impact on clients who may be in a waiting room setting.
For high speed Internet access, pricing usually varies by download speed. But your speed, really your bandwidth, is one of the most crucial tools in any office or business environment. Where time is money and your ability to get work done is dependent on the size of the internet pipe versus the number of users sharing it, finding a bundle with that extra speed is not just a desire, it becomes a necessity.
Consider These Benefits of a Single Provider, Single Bill
Service providers who can provide multiple services, can bring considerable benefits. Good reasons to buy a package of services from one provider include:
Yes, it’s possible to cobble together a number of services from different providers. But then you miss out on the benefits of a single provider — one of them being fewer administrative headaches. When your business is growing, every hour you spend on administration is an hour you don’t have for other activities that lead directly to business growth.
In small businesses, in particular, where you don’t have a deep management team — but rather have a few people wearing multiple hats — there’s quantifiable benefit to keeping your administrative activities as streamlined as possible.
It’s more efficient when you have one company to deal with. Typically you achieve a lower learning curve, easier to manage billing, and less complexity overall. Rather than hassle with multiple phone calls, multiple services and multiple bills to manage every month, enjoy a relationship with one company.
Faster to Set Up
Slow speed of implementation is one of those bottlenecks that can negatively affect growing businesses. The more time spent investigating and scoping out services from a multitude of providers, and making sure any services that need to interact together do so seamlessly, the longer it takes to implement a system.
With one provider, everything is simpler. You often gain speed to put in place new services.
Ability to Scale
It’s not just the initial implementation you want to consider. Your growth plans need to be taken into account.
At various points, as your business grows, you may be looking to update, expand capacity or add on new services. The more different service providers you are dealing with, the more complex it can be to upgrade and expand. You want the ability to scale growth – not put unnecessary obstacles in your path.
So as you review service providers, look at their ability to provide the kind of services that will help you grow fast, as you need them. The right service provider can not only help you scale with high quality Internet services, but also connect multiple locations together seamlessly, and assure the performance you need without prohibitive equipment and labor expenses.
That way you don’t have to keep investigating new providers, but can make one phone call to get the ball rolling to meet future needs.
Service providers may offer discounts if you buy several services from them.
Service providers have an incentive to want to get one customer to buy more from them, and will offer discounts to make sure that happens. Just like with your own business, acquiring new customers costs money. So, maximizing the number of services provided to a single customer helps keep their internal costs in line.
That means, you have your service provider right where you want them: Offering you the best deals. Bundling IT services gives you more price leverage with your service provider. Buying one service here, and one service with another provider, may simply not get you to the same overall price benefit.
One Final Piece of Advice
If you are interested in bundling IT services, take extra time to research your business needs. Pay close attention to your calling habits, the amount of bandwidth you need, etc. Bundling IT services can save you a ton of money and time – but only if you are careful to seek out the exact package that best fits your individual needs.
Be sure to compare total costs, including hardware and any activation fees. Ask others what they’re paying, check ads and websites, and call. Calculate your costs — and this can be a great way to simplify your work life and deliver better results for your company.
The lesson: Do your homework! It can pay off.
Bundle Photo via Shutterstock
It makes perfect sense when, as you said, it’s possible. Too bad that is often isn’t or one aspect of the service is inferior to what you can get from another company.
As an experienced purchaser, I would recommend you first check the different parts regarding quality, price and lead-time, before your bundle. The sales people always want you as a buyer not to break apart the package in order order to be able to compare apples with apples.
It may even help if you simply call your IT service provider and express your needs. For all you know, you may get a bundled service that is created especially for you. Tell them that you will be their long term client and you may even be able to secure some discounts.