Selecting the Right Unified Communications Service Provider for Your Business
Unified Communications (UC) is a service that enables your company to streamline your communication requirements by having a single provider deliver and manage everything from Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), to video-conferencing, Internet services and voice messaging. Aside from simplifying your points of contact, UC offers a number of other benefits including, device remote access, cost-efficiency and security.
While UC itself offers many advantages, it is important that you carefully consider the provider before making a commitment to their service. To assist you in your decision-making, we suggest that whichever provider you decide to go with, they fare well in the following areas.
One crucial aspect to look for in a provider is that it is able to offer all service solutions under one roof; hence, the term unified communications. It is commonplace for many companies to encounter the headache of having to deal with a number of different service providers in order to satisfy all of their communication needs. Not surprisingly, this can result in inefficiency and higher costs, amongst other inconveniences.
The cloud-based communication service provider that you decide to hire should simplify things for your IT department (or whomever will be managing these services). Your communication features (Internet services, email, mobility, voice and audio / videoconferencing), technical support and training should all be consolidated and appear on one bill.
Experienced, On-Site Tech Support
Selecting a provider with an experienced and qualified, on-site (not outsourced) technical support team, that is available 24/7/365 is imperative. You will also want to ensure that your provider has cloud-based experience, specifically. Many are surprised to learn that some of the better-known companies have only been in the cloud-based system business for a couple of years.
Additionally, you will want to confirm that the provider’s tech support team is industry certified by Broadsoft, Six Sigma, Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom.
Lastly, and upon installation of your new system, you should be provided with an account manager who is dedicated to your company to assist with any questions, concerns or support-related issues.
Security is, without a doubt, a top priority for any company. In light of this, it would be wise to select a UC service provider that possesses a network with the highest security standards, and also one that meets your company’s own security policies and priorities.
Furthermore, you will want to hire a UC provider that has an active recovery strategy, with full accessibility, in the event of a (man-made or natural) disaster. It is also important that your provider have a Network Operations Center that is fully mirrored, and able to ensure that your system is able to continue operating in spite of an attack.
Finally, your potential UC provider should have a lightening quick response rate to any service interruption, and ensure that minimal, if any, disruption is encountered by your business.
One of the most enticing reasons for companies to make the switch from traditional premise-based systems to cloud is that it is extremely economical. To be explicit, companies can save as much as 40% with a cloud-based Unified Communication provider when compared with a conventional premise-based provider. Expenses associated with a cloud-based system are significantly lower because there is no need for costly computer hardware, long-distance charges or application licenses.
When making your decision, you should not come across any charges for local service message units. However, you will want to see lower charges for long-distance calls, especially between office locations, as well as very competitive international calling rates.
Moreover, it is important to make note of the fact that you can save a large amount in short-term expenditure costs and long-term upgrade and maintenance costs, the more services that you move to a cloud-based system.
While you will have much to evaluate and several important decisions to make when deciding on a UC provider, you certainly will not be alone. In fact, and according to a recent Gartner Report, a whopping 48% of Information Technology executives anticipate that cloud-based systems will be the principal model of Unified Communications by the year 2017. Furthermore, and based on findings at Researchmarketing.com, the market of Unified Communications is expected to balloon 77% from 2014 to 2019. It is also projected that its revenue will grow from $13 billion to $23 billion over the same 5-year span.
Ultimately, this translates to a rapidly increasing demand and necessity for Unified Communication features (unified messaging, audio/video conferencing, screen-share/web collaboration and IM/presence) in the workplace. And, now that you know what to look for in a provider, you are ready to make a well-informed switch.