Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) is an increasingly attractive alternative to on-premises communication platforms. Shifting UC applications and services to the cloud eliminates a lot of heavy lifting — the infrastructure is established, the support mechanisms are in place and fewer IT resources are required to manage it.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy.
First of all, it is important to remember that unified communications (UC) isn’t an app or a simple phone upgrade. It is a collection of distinct communications technologies that must be tightly integrated into a single platform and accessible from a multitude of devices. Engineering a UC platform is a complicated process. Moving it into the cloud will certainly mask some complexity, but it doesn’t eliminate it.
The cloud is not some sort of silver bullet. Despite industry hype and promises, cloud services can be fraught with pitfalls and drawbacks for those who don’t do their homework. From a technology perspective, organizations need to look at service levels, performance, data access, security and flexibility.
There also is a tendency to overlook the internal IT environment when considering a move to the cloud. The in-house IT infrastructure does not go away with cloud computing, however. The cloud merely shifts the emphasis from one area to another.
With UCaaS, the internal network becomes the lifeline to applications and data. Because employees connect to the application via the WAN, any network bottlenecks are amplified. It is important to ensure that the network is operating optimally and that there is failover to a secondary telecom carrier in case of an outage.
For these reasons — and more — organizations migrating to a UCaaS solution should strongly consider enlisting the services of solution provider with specific experience in IP communications platforms. These professionals have a proven methodology for UCaaS implementations based upon industry best practices and developed over diverse customer initiatives.
Additionally, the solution provider will have skilled network engineers with advanced technical expertise in wired, wireless and cloud networks. Expertise in network provisioning, bandwidth planning, transmission rates, Quality of Services characteristics and more are key to ensuring that in-house equipment and network stay up and running.
Application integration and customization are often-overlooked aspects of a UCaaS initiative. Much of the value of UC comes from integration with key business applications such as CRM, ERP, sales force automation and supply chain management. A technology solution provider with integration expertise can ensure that your essential apps work together.
An experienced technology solution provider will also bring project management capabilities to the table. From the initial stages through final testing and training, a solid project manager improves your chances of getting the project completed on time and within budget.
Mobile, cloud and collaborative technologies are changing the way we work and the workplace itself. UCaaS is a powerful tool for enabling these changes by allowing users to collaborate and communicate across various platforms. For those embarking upon a UCaaS migration, working with a qualified solution provider can help ensure you gain all the benefits that UCaaS has to offer.