As much as marketing teams like to talk about it, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) isn’t plug-and-play. That’s because UCaaS solutions and deployment options are so diverse. Your UCaaS platform may be delivered by a traditional telecom provider, PBX vendor, a VAR, MSP or CSP, or some other cloud-based service provider. Because UCaaS solutions and customer requirements are also so different, you need a game plan in place to map out what’s best for your business. Let’s dive into some of the ways UCaaS implementations can get complicated fast and highlight what you can do about it.
- What about hybrid cloud deployments? What’s clear today is that there is no standard approach to unified communications. Many businesses are adopting cloud solutions based on their desire for flexibility or enhanced managed support options from MSPs or CSPs, regardless of the company size or where they are along their digital transformation path. And, while public cloud deployments may still be the go-to method of UCaaS deployments, hybrid clouds represent the fastest-growing deployment segment. (Source: Fierce Telecom). For many businesses, hybrid UC deployment scenarios are attractive because businesses can leverage existing technology investments and assets, and they have the flexibility to deploy the cloud strategically where and when it makes financial sense. A hybrid cloud deployment model also enables teams to enjoy greater scalability and more granular control over their voice and UC solution, including options for setting additional security parameters of the cloud environment.
- Are you in a highly regulated industry? If your company is in the financial industry or healthcare field or even accepts credit card payments from customers, you should also consider a hybrid cloud UCaaS deployment. Demonstrating compliance with a hybrid cloud UC system means that industry rules – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), or others – are traceable and built into the business communication process. These features can help companies stay accountable and maintain data privacy and security.
- Do you have internal IT support? On-premise UCaaS deployments are generally deployed by PBX vendors who host hardware and other systems in a data center on-site. In many cases, on-prem UC solutions require in-house expertise to set up, troubleshoot, or make changes to the UCaaS systems, which can impact performance and uptime. A significant advantage of relying on a public cloud UCaaS model and an MSP or cloud provider is that deployment support, performance, uptime, and system maintenance is the responsibility of the MSP’s IT staff. Outsourcing these tasks is especially useful if for SMBs who want real-time, integrated voice and collaboration capabilities along with the flexibility and scalable delivery model of a cloud-based solution. Many of these public cloud UCaaS solutions paired with popular pre-built integrations – Salesforce, Office 365, and G Suite – may be the right choice for a cost-conscious SMB looking to make a move to UC. With public or hybrid cloud delivery model, per-user or per month licensing model includes management and maintenance costs. Not only that, these models enable teams to scale solutions so that they can reap the benefits of UCaaS much more quickly.
- Are there industry-specific requirements you should consider? Regardless of the industry, some of the most requested UCaaS capabilities are voice, IM, video, document sharing, and mobile capabilities. Beyond that, companies tend to vary on what unified communication features are most useful based on their size and employees’ comfort level with technology. For instance industries such as marketing and design, retail, technology, and hospitality that have a larger percentage of younger workers, tend to leverage messaging, video and collaboration technologies with UCaaS apps more frequently. This trend is compared to industries that employ more experienced workers – finance and insurance, who prefer voice technology and phone conferencing. These industries also usually have higher compliance obligations because they’re handling confidential data, so more traditional and secure communication is preferred. Compared to SMBs, larger enterprises also look for UCaaS solutions that have greater customization and integration options as well as built-in usage analytics so they can tweak the application to improve adoption and increase ROI.
Finding your perfect match
In 2020, the verdict is in: UCaaS solutions are helping companies create a more efficient and productive work environment, built on faster information sharing and enhanced collaboration. By assisting businesses to connect anywhere, anytime, and from any device, UCaaS is a significant driver in becoming more competitive. But, UCaaS is also a complex solution and has multiple deployment options and feature sets, all with pros and cons. If you want help sifting through UCaaS options and coming up with a plan for your business, talk to Telapprise. We’ll help you identify your top priorities and objectives for unified communications, find an optimal solution, and help you quickly realize your return.