Network Engineer at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Nov 10, 2021
We had a period where everything was great with the UCaaS solution. Then, we moved to a new building, and it was still good. After that, we had a period of two years, and I don't know why, where the phone system would just be down. We had problems with BGP between the data centers connecting, and they couldn't figure out why. Their technicians would keep bouncing the questions back to us. It was very unsatisfactory for a while, and the executive management was very irritated. This is why we have started to look for another solution and are in that process now. They have been a lot better. We haven't been in the office, but they have been a lot better over the last two years. We had a lot of phone calls with our account management team and some other service management to let them know what poor service we were receiving, which was very unexpected because prior to that we had great service. Having an engineer tell me, "Well, you need to check your BGP. Oh, it must be your router. Oh, it is your firewall." No, it wasn't and the experience was frustrating. Then, they said, "That's not acceptable. We are going to remedy that." Maybe it was a training issue for the people that they were using after hours. I don't know, but they seem to have gotten this issue resolved now.
Network Manager at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Dec 13, 2021
There is a little bit of a downside when you go through a provider for UCaaS, the downside being that you no longer have direct access to the system itself. That is something we had when we had it on-prem. There's a learning curve to using the CDW portal. Originally, the interface they provided to manage the solution was poor. However, they have upgraded that and the new solution is much better and much more powerful. It's a slight negative that you don't have direct access to the system, but the new management system probably provides enough support. Other than that, the only complaint I have is regarding their mean time to resolution for some non-critical issues. We're a little more involved in managing the system because the people we have are technically proficient enough to do it. CDW does struggle with getting some of those lower-priority tasks done in a time that is acceptable to us. Sometimes, it's just easier to do things ourselves because we can get them completed quicker.
CAD/CAM Support Specialist at a engineering company with 501-1,000 employees
Nov 9, 2021
Another key factor in why we chose to go this route was that we have one place to call for support. We have one person that we deal with at CDW and that person handles things within CDW for us. It takes a lot of stuff off of our plate, internally.
In terms of services delivered on time, anytime that something has not been on time it's because we're holding it up on our end. It's not because of them. Sometimes we can't keep up with the tasks. We have four people on staff who are actively using the CDW services. They are me as the director of educational innovation, my associate director of tech services, our help desk administrator, and our network sysadmin. It's also important that we still have ownership in the day-to-day management of our communications systems. They're supporting us, overseeing things, and not the other way around. The balance they've struck on this is great. I don't feel they're ever going to do anything to a system that I don't know about. But at the same time, if they need to intervene, I know they can and will do so in a way that's appropriate.
It meets our needs. I would rate them as 9 out of 10.
My advice is that you should expect that you're still going to need to be involved in interfacing, but that's a general comment that applies to all external providers. You can't expect that you're just going to be able to outsource a phone system and not have anybody internally who understands the business requirements. You need someone who is able to relay that kind of information to the service provider. They manage a lot of different companies and they're not going to understand what the requirements of your particular business are. You always lose some efficiency when you have to go to an external partner. You have to interface with them because they don't necessarily understand your business. That efficiency loss would probably be there with any partner. We don't have the internal employee base to support our system in the same way, so CDW's service has made us more efficient because we would have had to go to an outside partner no matter what, to support the large system we have. It gives us agility and ease in managing changes in our system. The fact that Managed Collaboration is a partner that can manage a hybrid environment with multiple vendor platforms is not something we need to leverage right now. That could change though. We would like to look at using Microsoft Teams for unified communications and would leverage them for that, down the road.
I would price compare based on your project. Have an interview with every company. This is the same advice that I give anybody. No matter who you are going with for services, you should make sure that you interview them, ask a lot of questions, and see if they meet your needs specifically. I don't really want to do phone setup nor management. Although, they have delegated that to us. Recently, I would give them an eight out of 10.
Before you completely commit, make sure that your internal network structure will support the specific phone equipment that CDW would be providing you with. We ran into a problem where our specific firewalls had some incompatibility issues. Other than that, I have no other issues that somebody should watch out for.