Scott HanwellMarch 11, 2021

Thinking of Cloud Communications? Here’s How to Match the Right Solution to Your Needs

The Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market has exploded in recent years, accelerated further by COVID-19. The majority of people are still working from home, and most of them say they’re performing well or have at least remained neutral in terms of work performance during the pandemic. Even with a vaccine in full swing, many organizations are planning around UCaaS to enable “work from anywhere” for the undeniable benefits it brings:

  • Cost savings: UCaaS reduces costs in terms of licensing, staffing, hardware, third-party management services, equipment maintenance, and power necessary to maintain on-premises platforms. In our latest UCaaS Buyer’s Guide research report, 56% of those adopting UCaaS report identifiable cost savings with an average annual reduction of $304 per user per year compared to on-premises calling platforms.
  • Productivity improvements: By shortening repeatable processes and improving the speed of daily operations, employees can reduce time spent chasing information and improve overall organizational agility. Almost 55% of UCaaS adopters report associated productivity improvements, with an average gain of 23%.
  • Revenue increases: UCaaS has massive revenue-generating potential: improving the ability of salespeople to respond to opportunities, enabling them to leverage improved forms of customer engagements, and more. Nearly 30% of UCaaS adopters report increasing revenue through the use of UCaaS, with an average gain of nearly $4,000 per year.

As we move to a new world of work that freely flows between the office and everywhere else, finding the right UCaaS solution for your organization will be vital. If you’ve done an online search by now, you know that there’s a dizzying set of choices for UCaaS solutions. Avaya has worked with thousands of organizations (now more than ever with the disruption of COVID-19) on what elements of UCaaS will best suit their specific needs, handling everything from solution assessment to deployment to ongoing management.

Here’s how to keep the selection process simple to find your best match and maximize the full potential of UCaaS:

Investigate the potential of UCaaS to deliver demonstrable business value and ROI.

The UCaaS market is packed with contenders competing for your attention. Carefully evaluate providers’ key differentiators to see which align best with your needs. This includes features, external collaboration capabilities, service, and support options, enterprise app integration, contact center, and customer engagement capabilities, cost considerations, and more. Some of these are elaborated on below.

Ensure a smooth transition from your existing environment.

Chances are you’re not coming to UCaaS from a greenfield environment. You likely operate a mix of on-premises and cloud apps, perhaps newly acquired to meet the immediate needs of COVID-19. Carefully evaluate the capabilities of providers to enable a seamless transition from old to new. This includes porting of phone numbers, ensuring minimal downtime, building application integrations, supporting E911 call location management and routing requirements, and more.

Evaluate partners whose capabilities, features, and support offerings best align with need.

Almost every provider offers calling features that include PSTN connectivity, but support for additional integrated capabilities can vary. Look for a provider that goes above and beyond with capabilities like team messaging with support for contextual collaboration and app integration, and video-enabled meetings, including moderator controls and recording.

Determine opportunities to leverage APIs and custom integrations that deliver additional business value.

Most providers offer some level of APIs to enable the integration of UCaaS features into other applications (ex: integration of calling into office productivity apps like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365). Look for a provider that offers this as well as APIs that you can use to create your customized applications, workflows, and call routing with resources for easily doing so (i.e., code libraries, developer assistance, customized development services).

Plan for UC and contact center integration to realize maximum ROI.

Look for a provider that offers integration with separate on-premises or Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) platforms. Integrating UC with the contact center has been proven to supercharge success with above-average ROI and productivity gains.  

UCaaS success requires matching the appropriate solution with your critical business needs. See all of the considerations you should make with our data-backed UCaaS Buyer’s Guide published in partnership with Metrigy.

Thinking of Cloud Communications? Here’s How to Match the Right Solution to Your Needs

Scott Hanwell

A 25-year veteran of the communications industry, Scott has held positions in finance, pricing, competitive analysis, joint venture management and product marketing across the midmarket and enterprise. He is currently responsible for marketing Avaya's enterprise core Team Engagement solutions.

Read Articles by Scott Hanwell