How to Choose the Right Unified Communications Solution

The global market for unified communications (UC) solutions is experiencing strong growth as companies refine their ability to support increasingly distributed workforces. Surging demand for more efficient and innovative solutions is creating double-digit growth that will push the market value to $167 billion by 2025, according to a recent report from Million Insights.

The Challenge of Finding the UC Solution

Choosing the right solution for your company can be a challenging process, however. The market is crowded with providers who offer similar solutions with comparable features. Selecting one that addresses your specific business requirements and offers long-term investment protection will require a good deal of homework.

Answering the following questions can help clarify your evaluation process:

Where do you want the UC infrastructure to reside?

Would your organization be better off with an on-premises solution or with cloud-based UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS)? If you need to support large numbers of remote offices connected through WAN links, an on-prem solution might be your best bet. On-prem is also a good choice if you want the ability to customize the system.

If cost is a major consideration, UCaaS is your choice. It enables an OpEx spending model, allowing you to access UC technology and applications on any Internet-connected device for a monthly fee. There’s no need to purchase, configure, deploy or manage on-premises gear. Those costs and responsibilities are shifted to a service provider.

Who will be using the system?

If you must support large numbers of remote and mobile employees, you’ll want a solution that is flexible and scalable with strong video and collaboration components. You’ll also want a solution that can be updated easily with new applications to ensure that users across multiple locations are all operating with the same system.

If most of your employees work from the office, you may be more interested in systems that allow easy integration with critical business applications such as CRM, ERP, supply chain management and productivity suites. Integration features are particularly important for organizations with contact center operations.

How tech-savvy is your team?

If your organization has a deep IT team with a good deal of expertise in communication technologies, you might want a solution with advanced features and customization capabilities. For example, you may want the ability to mobile-enable video and file-sharing apps or create customized reporting apps that filter and aggregate data.

If you have neither the expertise nor the desire for that level of customization, look for a solution that is easy to use with intuitive interfaces. Cloud-based systems that feature automatic updates, easy application integration and single-dashboard management are good choices for eliminating complexity.

Does the vendor have a well-rounded portfolio?

There are dozens of vendors offering UC solutions today, although many of these are niche players that strongly focus on distinct market segments or unique functions. In most cases, you are better off working with a vendor that has a strong track record in business communications systems, well-developed offerings for both on-premises or cloud deployment, and systems with high-quality components for collaboration, video conferencing, telephony and more.

Mitel deserves a long look from any organization considering UC. Its MiVoice Business solution offers the flexibility for either on-premises or cloud deployment. You can even begin with an on-prem deployment and migrate to the cloud later. Meanwhile, the company’s MiCloud Connect platform is a fully cloud-managed UC solution with enterprise-grade voice, video, messaging, presence and file sharing. It also offers the ability to extend to a full-featured contact center platform.

Organizations everywhere are adopting UC solutions to support increasingly distributed operations with a full range of communication options. However, choosing the right solution can be a challenging process. The business communication experts at IPC can help you evaluate all the options and choose a solution that best meets your requirements.