Your Journey to the Cloud: What to Look for in a UCaaS Service Provider
The writing is on the wall for premises-based UC solutions and it has gained plenty of momentum as of late. In fact, the trend seems undeniable. The recent Unified Communications as a Service Magic Quadrant announced from Gartner predicts that 90 percent of IT leaders will no longer spend for new premises-based UC infrastructure by 2021 – dramatically up from today’s 50 percent.1 The reason is obvious. From reliability and availability to features and functionality, portals, dashboards, and analytics, the long-term value proposition offered by UCaaS is far superior for fast-growing global organizations.
With the course for the future clearly set, the prevailing question is how should enterprises best prepare and adapt? After all, this sort of sea change will require significant shifts in operations, resource allocation and current investments. The journey to cloud-based services from conventional PBX systems will be demanding and complex and calls for laser-focus from the end-user and service provider alike.
A Solid Partnership
CIOs and other tech decision-makers cannot afford a misstep when it comes to transitioning UC functions to the cloud, so choosing the right partner is crucial. Flexibility, agility, and customization will be essential to prepare for what’s next in UCaaS, which runs counter to the capabilities of typical legacy providers. To be successful, the arrow inherently points to more nimble, boutique providers who have the capacity and expertise to carefully phase the migration, coupled with high-touch service to guide the way.
Creativity is also key, in terms of leveraging an enterprises’ existing technology in concert with the latest cloud-enabled functionally to facilitate a hybrid approach to UCaaS. To be strategic, companies should primarily focus on a service provider that applies the end-users’ current needs with the latest set of features and dedicated personnel resources for superior support.
In this BCStrategies.com podcast, I explore hybrid deployments and phased implementations more in-depth.
Anticipating the future is also critical when choosing an integration partner and service provider. Where will the organization be in five years? Make sure the network infrastructure in place can easily be updated to take advantage of new applications and enhancements. In the end, the network should be able to adapt on the fly to help an organization remain competitive, particularly when launching major initiatives such as digital transformation for the enterprise.
The workplace and workforce of tomorrow will need seamless network connectivity to stay connected and effectively fulfill ambitious business objectives. IT teams need to be empowered to add innovations such as automation and artificial intelligence so human and machines can interact as optimally as possible.
Successful Migration Strategies
A successful migration to UCaaS will yield long-term business benefits including enhanced productivity and improved efficiencies. When selecting a provider, look for the following:
- Global availability with localized experience
- Network connectivity flexibility
- Ability to use a service provider’s high-performance network, or a broadband connection
- Ability to easily add new locations as needed
- Strong SLA guarantees
- Reliable in-sequence packet delivery with no loss or jitter, and 100 percent uptime
- Built-in disaster recovery and auto failover
- Global hybrid deployments for phased implementations
- Advanced functionality with detailed analytics
- Seamless integration with contact center and security solutions
- Broad selection of SaaS application with business process integration
While features are key, the integration process can ultimately dictate the success or failure of UCaaS implementations. A boutique firm that can adapt to the unique needs of the end users offers a huge advantage. Cookie-cutter implementations and impersonal service and support simply won’t get it done in an era when customization and flexibility is so desperately needed to remain competitive.
1Source: Gartner “Y18Q3 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide” by Daniel O’Connell, Megan Fernandez, Rafael Benitez, Bjarne Munch, Christopher Trueman, Mihai Nguyen. October 10, 2018. G00342303
Dean Manzoori is Vice President of Product Management for UCaaS at Masergy. He brings over 25 years of IT experience in a variety of roles including operational management, strategic planning and business development. Dean holds a BSEE from California State University, Long Beach with Great Distinction and an MBA from Pepperdine University.