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Are you comparing apples to apples?

When looking for a notification solution, it can be tough to sort through the marketing hype and figure out how one solution really compares to another. What one company calls “elastic” may be what another calls “expandable” or “scalable.” Is there a difference between “infinite” and “near-infinite”? Is anything really infinite? Even terms like “on-demand,” “real-time” and “ease-of-use” can mean different things to different people.

When marketing terms overwhelm or over-promise, it helps to go back to basics. For notification, this boils down to three things: reliability, redundancy and reputation. If the product and company have all three, you won’t go wrong.

  • Reliability means that you can count on the solution to be available when you need it and to perform as expected every time. Don’t be afraid to ask around or do an online search to see if the product you are considering has had any recent failures.
  • Redundancy means that the company has backup systems and plenty of them. Are their datacenters geographically diverse to provide the best protection against regional interruptions? Do they use VoIP or standard telephone lines to deliver alerts? If one SMS vendor fails, do they have a backup vendor in the wings?
  • Reputation is the gold standard for any product or company. What do others say about them? Have they been around long enough to establish a solid reputation? Have they had failures, and if so, how did they recover from those failures?

If you narrow your search to products that have all three characteristics—reliability, redundancy and reputation—then you can really compare apples to apples.