Adoption of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) is going through the roof, according to a recent Synergy Research Group market report. Data from the second quarter of 2018 shows annual growth of 29 percent. UCaaS has always been popular with smaller companies that don’t have resources to purchase and manage an on-premises UC solution, but large enterprises are now embracing UCaaS to drive collaboration across the organization.

Moving unified communications systems to a cloud platform makes good business sense for a lot of reasons, from minimal upfront costs and management overhead to greater flexibility and seamless scalability. However, moving UC to the cloud doesn’t mean all potential headaches disappear into the cloud as well.

First, you need to make sure your network infrastructure can support UC applications. This isn’t a slam dunk, especially if you’re moving from a traditional PBX system to UCaaS. Do you have the bandwidth and performance to support real-time voice and video communication? Is your network capable of handling the additional traffic without disruption to mission-critical applications?

Once you’ve verified that your infrastructure is up to the task, you’ll need to evaluate UC providers. There are a lot of moving parts in a UCaaS solution, and not all providers will offer the services and/or expertise required in all areas. This is due in large part to the lack of a standard definition for UCaaS or a standard method for measuring a provider’s capabilities. Organizations considering UCaaS need to first identify and prioritize their biggest needs and then look for a provider that can satisfy those requirements.

After you’ve chosen a provider, you’ll need a comprehensive service-level agreement (SLA). Not only do you have to make sure your SLA details all agreed upon services, availability and performance levels, but you need a process that ensures the terms of your SLA are being met. An SLA that can’t be enforced has limited value and can leave you with little recourse if something goes wrong.

As intuitive as many UCaaS solutions can be, end-users will need to be trained. They need to understand the solution as a whole and the communication tools within the solution, such as voice, video, instant messaging and presence. Ideally, UCaaS will be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, so users will need to understand specific tasks and expectations related to the CRM. Many organizations take a phased approach to adoption, beginning with a few features that users want and need the most before embarking on a full implementation.

UCaaS often includes a cloud-based contact center, which can introduce another set of challenges. You might have different carriers for different types of traffic, which can lead to finger-pointing and delay the resolution of issues. Compatibility issues between contact center tools and UCaaS must be addressed before you move forward with implementation. Also, some providers separate contact center calls from administrative calls and treat them differently, which can affect call routing, tracking and recording. It’s important to understand how these systems are handled in advance rather than scrambling to find a workaround after the fact.

IPC designs, deploys and manages UCaaS solutions, integrating important business applications to optimize communication and workflows. Let us help you avoid the challenges of migrating to a UCaaS solution so that you can improve the quality of collaboration, enhance the customer experience and maximize your ROI.