Why Is It Important to Compare UCaaS Providers?
Your business needs seamless, secure and cost-effective communications. Connecting efficiently across multiple platforms wherever you are is key to today’s on-the-go business world. Investing in Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) will give your company the edge it needs to compete in real-time in an ever-changing communications environment, but how do you find the best UCaaS provider?
According to Gartner, UCaaS supports six communications functions, cited below:
- Enterprise telephony
- Meetings (audio/video/web conferencing)
- Unified messaging
- Instant messaging and presence (personal and team)
- Communications-enabled business processes
When evaluating your UCaaS options, it is critical to understand what the best UCaaS providers can offer. You will want to develop a firm grasp of best practices and the available service types before you move forward with deploying this cloud-based model.
This post will guide you through the checkpoints worth comparing between potential partners to help you get a handle on UCaaS providers.
When you are evaluating UCaaS providers, it is essential to concentrate on the models they offer. There are three main models of deployment: the public cloud, private cloud and hybrid models.
- The public cloud option is the most common deployment model for UCaaS. It is easy to set up, especially for small to medium-sized companies. The best UCaaS providers offering a public cloud option will help companies install these services based on usage, payment schedules and security options.
- The private cloud option works better for larger companies. It is more expensive than the public cloud. The added expense comes from having a network entirely devoted to your company. You will not share your resources and your UC network will be completely customizable. For larger companies needing flexibility, control and larger bandwidth, a private cloud UCaaS deployment model is the way to go.
- The best UCaaS providers offer a hybrid option. This UC deployment model allows businesses to maintain some of their existing communications infrastructures. The hybrid model is worth considering if you recently invested in an internal communications platform. If you are not sure about how fast your business will scale communications, this approach may be the best choice because it will allow your business to migrate to a full cloud UC model at your preferred pace.
You don’t have to make this decision on your own. Rely on your trusted UCaaS provider to select the more applicable model to fit your company’s unique needs.
Support, Uptime and Long-Term Viability
Choosing to move to UCaaS is, at least partly, about integrating support for all your communications needs. Your chosen provider should offer excellent customer and technical service for your UC operations. Look for providers with 24/7 support over the phone, online and even onsite when other options aren’t enough.
You will also want to opt for a provider that offers training for your team. Introducing a new communications system will mean your staff needs to learn how to maintain and operate it correctly. As your business adopts the latest UC technology and techniques, high-quality training is necessary. If you opt for a managed UCaaS solution, your provider will be responsible for all network maintenance and support.
Also, check your potential providers’ history of uptime on their UCaaS network. Make sure the candidates have documentation indicating a 99 percent or better uptime.
You should also evaluate the providers’ long-term viability. Look at how long they have been in business to ensure they can support your communications now and in the future.
There is little value in choosing a UCaaS provider that cannot guide you as your communications needs grow and change, especially now since COVID-19 made unified communications a more critical issue for companies everywhere.
According to a report by Forbes Magazine, “After the global Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent rapid shift to remote work, practically overnight UCaaS no longer became a nice-to-have investment but rather a key pillar for business success across the majority of industries. In fact, according to a recent report from Avant Research & Analytics (via Computer Weekly), general interest in UCaaS increased by 86% immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Future Planning Offered by UCaaS Providers
As noted above, a critical evaluation criterion should be the capability of your chosen provider to grow with you. Your UCaaS provider must focus on planning for your future business needs. Does their platform allow for easy scalability?
Make sure your chosen provider can increase or decrease users without costly changes to the system. Also, check the cloud options they provide will allow for changes in your bandwidth needs.
Top providers will offer an easy-to-use admin dashboard, enabling you to control users’ access and permissions rather than relying on the provider to do so.
H3: Related: Unified Communications vs. VoIP: Which Is Best?
Security and Compliance
One of the critical components of good UCaaS is a high level of security and security compliance. These options should include disaster recovery as well.
You will need to assess your own security needs, of course. Evaluate if the provider you want to use can accommodate your needs in this area. Can they handle PCI and GDPR requirements, for instance?
Your business may also require a local data center. If this is something you need, make sure your provider choice checks that box, too.
Look for a provider that offers embedded disaster recovery. A fully integrated disaster recovery feature is preferable to one that is an add-on.
Customization and Features
UCaaS providers offer a host of different features, but when trying to find the best, you should look for a wide range of options for your UC platform.
An ideal suite of features should include as many of the following, depending on your business needs:
- Audio conferencing
- Video collaboration
- Desktop sharing
- Mobile apps
- Integration of third-party platforms and software
- Geolocation routing
- Personal meeting rooms
- Web collaboration
- Text messaging
- Instant messaging
Most of the above are relatively standard, however, third-party integration is one you will want to strongly consider.
Your business likely already uses many default office platforms. The best UCaaS providers will integrate these systems into their UC solution quickly and efficiently for a more streamlined network.
You should also ask your potential providers about their investment in developing new features. Look to see if they are building new additions or innovating disruptive technology and capabilities. You want your provider to keep their platform as modern and future-focused as possible.
Compare UCaaS Providers
When determining whether to invest in UCaaS providers, make sure you conduct a complete comparison of the many options on the market. You will want to look for a provider that prioritizes your company’s best interests and checks as many of these boxes as possible.
Pay close attention to your business characteristics. Just because a provider offers a bunch of features and some customization options, it doesn’t always mean they will suit your specific requirements. Partner with a provider that takes the time to get to know your business to customize every aspect of your network to fit your current needs and scale as you grow.
For unrivaled service and implementation of Unified Communications as a Service, talk to a BCM One solutions expert today. Our full suite of UCaaS solutions will adapt and scale based on your company’s needs. Get in touch now.