According to a recent survey 36 percent of you have deployed or are in the process of deploying some element of Unified Communications (UC). If not, you’re likely in the evaluation process now, and surely you’ve seen the slew of reports touting the benefits of cloud computing.
Although the implementation and delivery of UC services continues to evolve, we remain familiar with the general benefits: increased productivity, efficiency, collaboration, connecting mobile workers, integrating communications into business processes and applications… The list goes on. Among that list is the “marriage” of UC with cloud services, which has resulted in Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS.
So, why consider UCaaS? The main drivers in your decision are likely to fall into one of the following categories:
- Eliminate front-loaded capital costs: You likely understand the economic benefits of cloud computing; we’d all like to reduce, and if possible, eliminate hardware costs altogether but still receive all the features and benefits of our applications. With the clear services expectations of UCaaS, you have a simplified business case to present to your CIO and CFO. For example, UCaaS provides clear per-user costs, which simplifies the service you offer your organization, and the consistent and predictable costs of UCaaS reduces repeated trips to the CFO’s office in search of additional budget for capital intensive projects.
- Standard suite of UC offerings: With UCaaS, standard UC features are offered on a per-seat basis. The monthly seat cost includes all hardware needed to support the UC functions. These software offerings typically have varying functionality (basic, standard, or premium), and include anything from IP telephony to unified messaging, audio and video conferencing, web collaboration, mobility, presence and IM, all the way to full featured contact centers. While UCaaS typically consist of a standard set of offerings, you should look for an offering that doesn’t require all users to be at the same level. The lobby phone shouldn’t cost the same as the applications delivered to the CEO. This flexibility, along with the ability to add on additional features to meet specific needs, ensures that you’re delivering a service that’s valued by the organization.
- Availability of hybrid models: This model blends Cloud and on-premise approaches to deliver a customized solution for your organization. UCaaS offerings that allow you to blend both on and off-premise components offer the most flexibility and often satisfy cloud critic’s concerns about resiliency and reliability. For organizations that want the peace of mind of a Disaster Recovery strategy, a hybrid solution could offer cloud services as a primary and a DR instance on-premise. Also, under the right circumstances, a hybrid approach could also allow you to leverage existing hardware, thus extending the life of previous investments.
- Broad service offerings: When researching your decision to implement UCaaS, you will notice the long list of providers who support UC services. The provider you choose will be critical, as they will play an active role in deployment and support of your system. Most IT organizations are looking to enhance the services they offer and extend the ability of the existing IT team. So when it comes to support, the provider you choose should offer local assistance that is available to you for installation and ongoing onsite support. The following are additional components to keep in mind to ensure the true value of UC is delivered: additional consulting and managed services, a broad range of UC offerings, in addition to the ability to integrate business applications and processes with communications infrastructure.
We hope this provides some additional insight on things to consider when looking at Unified Communications as a Service. To learn more and see how NEC delivers UCaaS click below.