Your business needs seamless, secure, and cost-effective communications. Communicating effectively across multiple platforms wherever you are located is key to today’s business world.
Investing in a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) will give your business the edge it needs to compete in realtime in an ever-changing communications environment.
Understanding what UCaaS providers can and should offer is the first step you need to take when evaluating your UCaaS options. You’ll want to develop a strong grasp of best-practices and the types of services available before you move forward in deploying UCaaS.
To help you get a handle on UCaaS providers, we’ve put together a guide to the checkpoints worth comparing between providers. Read on to learn what elements the best UCaaS providers offer.
Cloud and Physical
When you are evaluating UCaaS providers, it’s important to concentrate on the models they offer. There are three main models of deployment. These are the public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid models.
The public cloud option is the most common deployment of UCaaS chosen. It’s easy to set up, especially for small to medium companies. Good UCaaS providers that offer a public cloud option will help companies set up cloud services based on usage, payment schedules, and security options.
The private cloud option works better for larger companies. It’s more expensive than the public cloud. The added expense comes from having a network entirely devoted to your company. No resources are shared and your UC network will be completely customizable.
For larger companies that need flexibility and control, as well as larger bandwidth, a private cloud UCaaS deployment model is the way to go.
A hybrid option is often offered by UCaaS providers. This UC deployment model allows businesses to maintain some of their existing communications infrastructure. For companies that have invested in internal communications platforms recently, the hybrid model is worth considering.
If your UCaaS provider offers a hybrid model, it may be worth choosing it so as to allow your business to migrate to a full cloud UC model at your preferred pace.
Whichever model you prefer, the UCaaS providers you evaluate should at least offer a cloud and a hybrid option.
Support, Uptime, and Long-Term Viability
Choosing to move to UCaaS is, at least partly, about integrating support for your communications needs. The provider you choose should offer excellent support for your UC operations. Look for providers that offer 24/7 phone support as well as web support.
You will also want to opt for training for your team. Introducing a new communications system will mean that your staff needs to learn how to use it correctly. As your business adopts the new technology and systems that come with a full UCaaS model, high-quality training is a must.
Check providers’ history of up-time on their UCaaS network. Make sure the provider has documentation indicating a 99 percent uptime or better.
You should also evaluate the long-term prospects of the provider. Look at how long they have been in business. Make sure they are set up to support your communications now and in the future.
There is no value in choosing a provider that cannot support you as your communication needs grow and change.
Future Planning Offered by UCaaS Providers
As noted above, an important evaluation criterion should be the availability of growth support. Planning for future needs of your business should be central to your UCaaS provider. 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 that the cloud options they provide will allow for changes in your bandwidth needs.
The best UCaaS providers will offer an admin dashboard, or something similar, that enables you to control users rather than rely on the provider to do so.
Security and Compliance
One of the key components of good UCaaS is a high level of security and security compliance. Security options should include disaster recovery as well.
You’ll need to assess your own security needs, of course. Determine that the provider you want to use is set up to accommodate your security needs. Can they handle PCI and GDPR requirements?
Your business may also require a local data center. If this is something you need, make sure your provider choice checks that box, too.
When it comes to disaster recovery, look for a provider that offers it as an embedded option. A fully integrated disaster recovery option is preferable to one that is an add on.
Customization and Features
UCaaS providers offer a lot of different features. Look for a wide range of options for your UC platform.
A suite of features should include as many of the following as 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 fairly standard. However, third-party integration is one that you will want to focus on.
Your business already uses a lot of standard office platforms. A good UC provider will integrate these systems into its UCaaS solution easily and efficiently.
You should also ask questions of providers regarding their investment in new features. Look to see if they are building new features or investing in disruptive tech and capabilities. You want your provider to develop its own platform as much as possible.
Compare UCaaS Providers
When determining whether to invest in UCaaS providers, make sure you conduct a full comparison of the many options on the market. Keep in mind the above guide. You’ll want to look for a provider that checks as many of these boxes as possible.
Pay close attention to your own needs. Just because a provider offers lots of features and customization options it doesn’t mean they will suit your needs. Match what you need with what a provider excels in and you’ll find your UCaaS needs are supported now and in the future.
For unrivaled advice about Unified Communications as a Service talk to one of our solutions experts today. Our full suite of UCaaS will cover all your needs.