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This guest post is written by Irwin Lazar, VP and Service Director, fromNemertes Research. Irwin develops and manages research projects, conducts and analyzes primary research, and advises numerous enterprise and vendor clients. He is responsible for benchmarking the adoption and use of emerging technologies in unified communications and collaboration, covering the collaboration space as an analyst for over 15 years. In this blog, he shares expert advice on how to choose the right UCaaS provider for making that successful switch to Unified Communications (UC).
Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offers small businesses the opportunity to purchase an integrated set of communications and collaboration functions, all from a single provider, on a per-user subscription basis. Via the cloud delivery model, UCaaS eliminates capital costs associated with equipment purchase, as well as PSTN access contracts. As a result, more than 14% of organizations are now using UCaaS, mostly small and midsize businesses, though adoption is growing even within the large enterprise market segment.
The UCaaS landscape is increasingly competitive, leaving buyers with a dizzying array of potential choices. All typically provide a base set of calling features and conferencing, while more advanced services may include videoconferencing and contact center capabilities. Selecting the right provider for your needs requires evaluating not just the feature set, but also the following capabilities:
Nemertes’ research shows that agility and fast access to new features are replacing cost as primary cloud adoption factors, but cost is still an important criteria in selecting a provider. Evaluate not just license costs, but also costs of endpoints, additional management capabilities, and additional add-on services. Consider evaluating total cost of ownership, including acquisition, implementation, and on-going support, over a five-year period to conduct your analysis
2. Endpoint Choice
Today’s workers, especially within the SMB, are more mobile than ever, relying on tablets and smartphones as much, if not more, to communicate and collaborate with peers. Thus, the ideal UCaaS partner will offer broad support for all possible endpoints, providing the same capabilities and user experience no matter the device
3. Ease of Use
Collaboration features provide no value if they are difficult to use and therefore are not widely adopted. Evaluate potential providers based on not just the capabilities they provide in their UC application, but in how easy and intuitive those features are to use. Consider having non-IT workers test applications to obtain their feedback on the ease of using competing solutions
4. Breadth of Support
The right UCaaS provider must be able to provide services in all regions in which you operate within. Ideally, they should provide extra value capabilities like the ability to obtain virtual phone numbers in remote markets, 7x24x365 technical support, and the ability to easily integrate existing communications platforms as you conduct your migration
Communications aren’t effective if they’re not integrated into the other business applications that you use. Evaluate potential providers on their ability to provide functions like click-to-dial from within your customer relationship management apps, enable customized call routing and message notification, and integrate calling into your contact management and email platforms.
Additional factors to look at are your provider’s support for encryption, integration with your mobile management platform, and the vendor’s roadmap to ensure that they are constantly delivering new value-added features to their customers.
Fortunately, it’s a buyer’s market these days for UCaaS. Conducting your due diligence, and evaluating providers based on their ability to deliver a low cost, easy-to-use, well supported and customizable solution that supports a wide variety of endpoints is your key to ensuring that you make the right purchasing decision.
Interested in learning more about choosing a right collaboration tool to drive efficiency for your small business?
Join us for a live webinar with Irwin Lazar where he will be exploring the topic — “Accelerating Collaboration For Small Businesses” on February 6, 2019 at 11:00 AM PST. He will be joined by Todd Carothers, EVP of Sales and Marketing, CounterPath. During this 60-minute session, Irwin and Todd will discuss recent developments in collaboration technology, the must-have robust feature sets and strategies to facilitate team communications in small enterprises. Register NOW and save your spot to benefit from their expert insights!