The Vertical Snapshot: A Look into a Vertical System Installation

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Blog posted:
04/25/2019

Since I began at Vertical Communications, the company’s core values of superior service and support, dedicated project management, and process driven project management has been emphasized during every project that has come up. I’ve learned that every employee is dedicated to these core values, and that they’ve led to a multitude of happy customers and industry-wide recognition. But I’d never gotten to see the Vertical team in action – until now. This month I had my first opportunity to be onsite during a Vertical cloud installation. And wow, talk about a seamless transition!

The migration was scheduled for 2:00 P.M.! 2:00 in the afternoon on a MONDAY of a full-on work day. The start time surprised me. Most providers will insist that the cutover from an old to a new phones system occur after hours. This is to protect themselves from unforeseen issues during the installation, but sometimes it means that their customer comes in on the morning after the transition to a system issue, which disrupts their workday. The customer chose the mid-day cutover, and avoided paying for overnight hours worked at the same time. 

In this case, this was a manufacturer that is open Monday-Friday, 7 A.M. -5 P.M. with a call center, and a manufacturer that prides themselves on customer service. Despite what I thought was an unusual transition time, Vertical confidently move forward.

Vertical had all of their ducks in a row. Prior to the cutover date, Vertical had thoroughly tested the system, worked with the customer to ensure that the system worked the way they expected it to, and had conducted training for all communications users in the company. The cloud system was pre-programmed, the phones were provisioned and set out, and Vertical had personnel on-site. While many cloud providers remotely transition communications, Vertical has personnel onsite whenever possible. This differentiator helps guarantee that the cutover goes right the first time, and that any glitches are immediately interpreted, handled, and rectified. Vertical has a nation-wide dealer network, allowing for a dealer to be on hand for any transition.

Precisely at 2:00, the phones were unplugged from the existing Ethernet cable and plugged into the new phones. Each phone registered itself with the system. With a few minor tweaks and no down time, the system was up and running! There were no failures and no issues; Vertical smoothly transitioned the company from their old system to a new system in the middle of their work day, without any interruptions to their business.

Vertical’s engineers and the customers’ IT team worked together like clockwork.  They had a punch list for checking the installation, strong communication about and throughout the process, and a post-installation meeting to discuss the progress, along with any changes that had been requested or recognized throughout the installation.

To guarantee that the company’s employees knew how to access their new system, everyone with a softphone received an e-mail with log-in instructions.  Those with a physical phone also received a hard copy document with the capabilities of their new desk phone. The Call Center team had training on the new 8x8 system and how it would integrate to Salesforce. 

So how did they do it? How did Vertical roll over a busy call center in the middle of the day on a Monday and successfully transition them to a new center? Really it begins the day Vertical responds to any RFP, and then really flies into a high gear after you’ve signed your contract.

Solution Design

During Vertical’s “Pre-Purchase Discovery” period, a Vertical Solutions Engineer (SE) partners with you to architect and design the new system. The SE stays in close communication to tailor the new system to your unique needs. The SE then stays on through the life of the project and the transition to ensure what is promised is delivered.

Superior Project Management

Once you sign your contract, Vertical goes into over drive, starting with Professional Project Management. Superior project management means that both you and Vertical have a clear-cut understanding of the scope of your installation. Vertical pairs every customer with an experienced project manager who can break down exactly how long an implementation will take.  This is more than a “time multiplied by the number of phones” type of equation. It also factors in additional features, multiple locations, and even distances between phones and buildings. Vertical’s knowledgeable project managers have the expertise to determine how long and what challenges may arise in laying phones in all varieties of environments.

Vertical’s Project Managers also have deep experience in the nitty gritty details that are often unapparent to you, and even to some technicians. Vertical’s Project Managers have the knowledge and experience to plan for the little things- like building access, background checks, access to locked offices and rooms, and more.  The understand network topology and configuration. They even have training knowledge and plans to help you and your team get off the ground.

Crafting and Adhering to a Project Plan

Vertical doesn’t stop at project management. They’ve created a reliable, six-step project plan that guarantees the success of any installation.  In Vertical’s opinion, these six-steps are the secret sauce to a 2:00 PM installation. They’re the foundation to our award-winning implementation.

Step 1: Project Kickoff Discovery

Step one is different from “pre-purchase” discovery, which is when you discuss the scale and features of your phone system with a sales rep. Project Kickoff Discovery allows you to come to an agreed upon definition of success with your phone provider. During Project Kickoff Discovery, Vertical reviews:

  1. Overall Design and Configuration – Read more here.
  2. Network Topology for voice – Read more here.
  3. Physical Installation – Read more here.
  4. Training Planning and Options  – Read more here.
  5. Implementation Gotchas  – Read more here.

Covering these five steps are pivotal to the success of any installation. They cover the deep-dive that your project manager and technicians need to make sure they can move through the installation without any surprises.

Step 2: Scope of Work Document

After they’re through the project kickoff discovery, Vertical’s Project Managers write a clear and concise Scope of Work (SOW) document. It includes all the details required by the customer. It makes sure that both Vertical and the customer is on the same page.

Step 3: Scope of Work Strawman Document

Next, Vertical Project Managers create a SOW strawman document. In this document, initial milestones are defined. The project manager and the customer also confirm who is responsible for each milestone, whether that is the Vertical team or the customer’s IT team. This step eliminates confusion.

Step 4: Scope of Work Timeline

Now that everyone is on the same page, the project manager creates an SOW timeline. All parties then attend a meeting making sure everything is reasonable and everyone is on the same page. The SOW timeline is signed by both Vertical and the customer to make sure everyone is good to go.

Step 5: Scheduling

Now that all parties are on the same page and both Vertical and the customer has a clear cut definition of success, the project manager begins scheduling technicians to work. Vertical never begins scheduling prior to this point, as errors and miscommunications are likely to occur.

Step 6: Kickoff Meeting

Before Vertical gets started on the installation, the project manager meets with the customer one final time to discuss any outstanding details. They also schedule check in meetings.

And that’s it! Once the six project planning steps are out of the way, work can begin on the phone system. These little details are what make their installations a success, and for any company to be able to cut over at 2:00 PM on a Monday- without skipping a beat.

Conclusion

I was so impressed with the Vertical Team after I was onsite for my first installation. Their precision, professionalism, and positive attitude blew me away.  (Who cuts over a Call Center at 2pm on a work day?) While I’m still on the learning curve for all things Vertical (but ramping up fast!), I’m drinking the Kool-Aid more every day.  This is an amazing example of the Vertical Difference, and how and why Cloud or UCaaS and CCaaS are building up steam in the market. 

If you’re looking for a new communications solution, Vertical can help. They will apply the same level of dedication to you as they did to this company. With decades of experience and solutions from 8x8, Mitel, and Ericsson-LG, Vertical ensures that we can provide the right communications system for whatever your unique needs are. Get in touch with Vertical by calling 877-837-8422. Are you a consultant, and interested in connecting your client with Vertical? I can help. Email me at CCP@vertical.com


Author Bio

Fran Blackburn


Meet the author, Fran Blackburn! Fran is Vertical Communications' Vice President of Consultant Marketing. Fran has worked in technology for the majority of her career. With nearly twenty years at Cisco, as well as twelve at Intecom, Fran knows technology backwards and forwards. These days she is a one of Vertical's resident technology experts! Fran is also the past President for the SCTC VAC, STC VAC, and CTCA SLG. When Fran isn't working with consultants or diving into a technology project, she enjoys exploring the outdoors. She spends her time snow-skiing, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and scuba-diving. Fran and her husband are now experienced parents to two grown children, a daughter and son. Their kids keep them hopping! She is also currently raising two Alaskan Malamutes and they are a big part of her entire family.