Categories : Insights & Trends, Technology Assessment

Bluewave | September 26, 2022

5 Ways to Ensure You’re Hiring the Right Advisory Firm, Plus the Ultimate Checklist

The heart wants what the heart wants, but if you’re still buying telecom and IT services directly from carriers, service providers, or digital transformation vendors, you’re doing yourself a disservice. See how using a technology advisory firm can work for you.

If you’ve been there, you know that telecom and technology strategy can be time-consuming and confusing areas:

  • Managing technology requirements.
  • Vetting service providers.
  • Evaluating proposals.
  • Measuring the ongoing optimization of solutions.

Not only is it a headache, but it can also erode the effectiveness of the solution or technology and its impact on your business processes. So, as we transition to a new normal in the business world, we all need to get the most value out of our technology solutions and budget, strategize a little more, make sure we’re choosing the right solutions from the right vendors, and really make sure we’re moving in the right direction.

Have you considered using a technology advisor? The right advisor is side by side with you through the entire technology lifecycle to guide you to the right solutions. Plus, counterintuitive to how most purchasing works, you are likely to pay more if you buy directly from a vendor without an advisory firm in the mix. Technology brokers and advisors have better buying power, so you get more for less, plus savings in time and effort throughout the buying and implementation process.

TIP: You’ll never get to company hero status if you keep the status quo. Another way? Hire a strategic technology advisory firm that will get you precisely what you need, from the right vendor, at the right price.


  • Stop the cut-and-paste of your old solutions hoping for a better outcome
  • Stop patching legacy solutions that are tired and obsolete just because you think you don’t have the time to modernize
  • Stop wasting your staff’s time sifting through vendor noise to find the right solutions for your business
  • Stop “phone anxiety” of chasing down vendors for status updates and billing questions
  • Stop paying for things that you canceled last year (yikes!)
  • Stop with the delayed timelines and budgeting overruns
  • Stop thinking you’re getting a better deal by going directly to a service provider. You’re not!

Read on for the five ways to ensure you’re hiring the best strategic technology advisory firm.

1) Is your Technology Advisor a Strategic and Transparent Partner or a Plain Old Telecom Broker?

Technology decision-makers are experiencing information (and sometimes misinformation) overload. With too many choices, there is no effortless way to make informed technology buying decisions.

From CIOs to heads of customer experience, we’re all under increased pressure to do more with less through our technology investments. But unfortunately, the traditional process of buying a single product from one service provider brand does not place client needs and requirements first. Sure, you can go direct, but the process doesn’t lend itself to making optimal choices for your desired outcomes.

Choose an honest, transparent partner when looking for a technology strategy consulting firm. As we like to say in business, make sure there’s one hand to shake.

And make sure you’re working with a team of experts that know the IT, telecom, and technology solutions ecosystem inside and out—experts across the board. This team is likely called Solutions Architecture, Technical Project Management, or Sales Engineering. When you have these SMEs leaning in on your project, you’ll better understand what specific solutions can do to achieve your business goals and have much greater negotiating leverage with the chosen vendor. In addition, these unbiased teams will ensure the solution does what they say it does.

Anyone can call themselves a telecom advisor, so keep an eye out for less sophisticated players. If you don’t hear a lot of acronyms and things like UCaaS (you-cass), CCaaS (see-cass), Cloud, CX, Cybersecurity, SD-WAN, SASE (sassy), then run. You are not dealing with a modern telecom advisory firm—refer them to the Mad Men props department.

Whatever you do, make sure they pull back the curtain to reveal the business value of every emerging technology solution without bias to ensure you get competitive pricing, terms, and service levels.

Other ways to ensure you are working with a Strategic advisor.

2) Do they have an Efficient Process?

On the surface, technology and telecom seem simple enough. Your business selects the ideal carrier or service provider, signs on the dotted line, and deploys the technology assets and infrastructure your team needs to stay connected.

Then when there’s an issue, you realize all those promises were smoke screens. The sales rep has moved on, your account manager has ghosted you, and no one is answering your calls or emails. Your escalations request goes to a call center rep that asks you for a service ID even though they already have all your data.

An advisor works on YOUR behalf, not the vendors. Engaged advisories will work as an extension of your team, helping you strategize and set goals, negotiating to get the best terms, holding service providers accountable, ensuring projects are within budget, project managing implementations, tracking your assets, and deciphering billing issues.

If you don’t spend quite a bit of time planning before the buying process, you’ll spend a lot of time in the “project rescue” phase. If someone puts a contract in front of you to sign without a vetting process and a presentation of findings, go elsewhere!

We think the strategic advisory function is like a pit crew getting the driver to the finish line. You’ll work with a specialized group of people that will swarm your business to get you to the finish line in the shortest amount of time.

And make sure to avoid the rip-and-replace. You know the story—where you buy the same thing you already have but from a new vendor that makes promises to do better. Rip and replace does not lead to optimization or efficiency. If that’s the promise you’re hearing, just maintain the status quo for now, and hire a strategy advisor, not a broker, to be by your side.

Most importantly, do they make buying easy by managing the entire process, from vetting to negotiating to implementation? Again, this type of precise service is what you need. Learn about The Bluewave Approach.

3) Do They Have Rockstar Teams?

Solutioning: You need advisory services that bring experts to the table that breathe telecom, IT systems, automation, and technology. I’m talking about depth and breadth. You have to have seasoned experts if you want to optimize your cloud, network, and voice communications. Many will assume that migrating to the cloud costs less, but lo and behold, cloud is much harder to track, manage, and optimize across a large organization – open bar vs. per drink.

Support Team: Ask how many people will be dedicated to your account. What are their backgrounds? What are their specialties? Are they known in the industry? You never know; you might want to poach one of them to work for your company. Just kidding! That would be illegal. OK, not illegal, just really bad form.

Communication: How often will they check in with you? Or do you get more attention from your pet rock? Telecom can be like musical chairs—are you constantly wondering who your account director is and what roadmap they are following?

Regardless of these foibles, ensure you are working with a top-notch staff with relationships with leading service providers and carriers. In addition, make sure it’s an impartial team of solutions experts specializing in network, cloud, security, and collaboration – utilizing operating models that deliver the digital strategy you need.

See if they have case studies and testimonials on their website. Also, ask to talk to some of their existing clients if you need to be sure.

4) Do They Support a Wide Breadth of Solutions?

Remember the deep and wide for their staff? Please make sure the solutions they support are also deep and wide. Your strategic advisor should work for YOU. They are agnostic and have the expertise to know which solutions work the way the vendor says. There’s a reason the best literary detectives are of the hardboiled variety. They’ve seen some things and know what works and what doesn’t, regardless of the received wisdom. That’s the expertise you need when making a significant technology transformation.

CIOs are now managing dozens of providers for traditional and Over-the-Top (OTT) services with the most considerable growth in OTT/SaaS services and more complex interoperability requirements. They can make these complex arrangements exceedingly well with a strategic advisor by their side. Gone are the days when you have to buy direct from each and every vendor. Yes, you will have different contracts, negotiations, and implementations, but an advisor managing this will alleviate any stress you would have had on your own. You’ll never go back to the old way of doing business.

To get the biggest bang and have the most success, work with someone who manages the entire technology lifecycle from soup to nuts. A strategic technology advisory firm is your best bet. They will look across your landscape and optimize based on your requirements and the outcome your business needs and deserves. Your success is their success.

5) Can They Demonstrate a Reliable ROI?

Return on Investment. Do they put their money where their mouth is? Even with sophisticated new technology solutions you choose to implement, you should always come out ahead in value and ROI. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Yes, you have to pay for what you bought, but let us tell you a little-known secret: unless you’re buying advisory or consulting services, you don’t have to pay the advisory firm. The vendor pays them. It’s called buying power and commissions. That’s why you almost always get a better deal through a strategic advisory firm. It’s like the hotel rack rate versus your discount rate. But, of course, you get the discount rate!

And since that advisor manages visibility end-to-end, they know exactly what you have, what you need, and how to guarantee an exact ROI. Most vendors will throw out an ROI or savings, but you won’t know if it’s accurate unless you look at it across the technology spectrum.

Ensure your agency is watching contracts, pricing, bills, usage, and SLAs, to ensure the return on your technology investments. Guaranteeing an ROI can be impossible for some, so make sure you ask the right questions. Otherwise, may the odds be forever in your favor.

A strategic advisory firm is only as successful as its customers’ success. If you don’t win, they don’t win.

The Ultimate Checklist

  1. Do they have a solid reputation?
  2. Does their culture mesh with yours? Will they be an extension of your team?
  3. Are they financially sound?
  4. Do they have very experienced staff?
  5. Do they have an efficient process?
  6. Do their communication channels work with your needs?
  7. Will they help you assess your current environment before leading with a product?
  8. What kind of dedicated team will be assigned to your account?
  9. Do they support a wide range of cloud and telecom solutions?
  10. Do they have customer testimonials or references you can speak with?
  11. Do they offer telecom expense management and bill pay?
  12. Can they demonstrate a reliable ROI?


Listen, if you want someone to take your order and don’t care about white-glove service or optimization or saving money, then sure, go directly to the carrier, vendor, or any telecom broker for that matter. But it would be best to have a strategic technology advisory agency when you want someone riding shotgun.

We hope you learned a little bit from this guide and resolved never to go direct to the carrier again! Good luck! And as luck would have it, this blog’s author is a strategic advisory firm. Bluewave helps companies exceed their goals. Call us for a quick chat to see how we can help your company exceeds its goals.

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