Moving Unified Communications to the Cloud

For today’s enterprise companies keeping communication channels operating smoothly is necessary to the success of the business, whether the organization targets the B2B market or deals directly with consumers.

A few short years ago, delivering reliable voice communications was a much less complicated process. An enterprise simply acquired a PBX system serviced internally or by a carrier, or it could choose to use a service provider’s hosted service. Fast forward to 2018, and the voice communications landscape has changed, thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of the cloud. There is a dizzying array of products available – and many of them capitalize on the trend toward Unified Communications (UC), or bringing together telephony, enterprise messaging, presence, online meetings, video conferencing and more on a single platform.

One subset of UC products is Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) which is finally gaining the attention it deserves. It enables businesses to tap into its potential for higher collaboration and audience engagement at a lower cost. For example, UCaaS platforms are subscription-based and therefore allow the enterprise to move the communications cost center from CAPEX to OPEX. There is no upfront capital investment in hardware and, since the UCaaS provider delivers support, enterprise IT managers can forget about maintenance issues. UCaaS is also more cost effective at delivering the same experiences as a PBX system, as the enterprise no longer needs dedicated rack space or energy-related expenses for on-premises equipment.

Another UCaaS benefit is that it plays well with the digital transformation of the workplace. Today’s mobile workforce is composed of tech-savvy employees who require ubiquitous access to the network and their tools via multiple devices, at home or on the road. UCaaS can deliver these benefits and more, helping teams to be more collaborative and customer responsive – leading to more engagement and company profitability.

Other UCaaS benefits include:

  • UCaaS is quicker to install than on-premises equipment. Since it’s cloud-based, it can scale as needed and easily allows for UC resources to move to different locations. This is especially useful for enterprises with branch offices or pop-up facilities.
  • UCaaS providers usually offer tighter security measures to detect threats and vulnerabilities than the patchwork on-site systems it replaces.
  • UCaaS’s subscription-based model gives enterprises predictable billing cycles, simplifying accounting.
  • UCaaS offers low latency and faster connections.

According to industry analyst Amy Lind at IDC, more than half of the country’s enterprises will be using UCaaS by 2020. The firm also predicts that, within the same time frame, more than 75% of employees will be using mobile devices. This strong shift to mobile technologies almost requires companies to begin to look at Unified Communications solutions, if they aren’t already doing so.

Here are a couple tips to help you prepare for making the transition to UCaaS:

  • Create a list of your requirements. What functionalities are most critical?
  • Determine how much network access the UCaaS provider will require, and how this might impact your security.
  • Find a trusted third party to help navigate the available options and costs, and to broker the best possible contract.

The last point is arguably the most important, as there are other requirements (such as SLAs) that will need to be investigated to deliver the best UCaaS match to your needs. StrataCore has deep experience in helping clients make the switch to UCaaS – call us to talk about your options.

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