Recruiting top talent, adding new customers, remote collaboration – all of these activities require having an effective business communication system. But if you’re relying on conventional PBX telephone equipment, or your business is hosting a Unified Communications (UC) system in the house, you may be missing out on some big-time benefits. UC solutions delivered as-a-service (UCaaS) bring companies voice calling, messaging, conferencing, and collaboration tools all rolled into one platform. And, with a cloud-based delivery model, maintenance and management of UC systems are the responsibility of the provider, in most cases. This arrangement frees up internal IT teams to focus on other responsibilities, which can be a lifesaver for many small and medium-sized companies.
So if your business is planning to make a move to UCaaS this year, how do you get there? What steps should you take? Let’s dig deeper.
- Find the right provider – For your UCaaS deployment to be successful, you need to find the right provider. Teams should begin their search by looking for service providers that have experience catering to the company’s specific business needs. Are you looking to deliver a unified customer experience? You may need a UCaaS system combined with Call Center as a Service (CCaaS). By integrating multiple modes of communication through a single platform, businesses can close communication gaps between different areas of the company and deliver a higher level of customer support. Plus, CCaaS platforms can help even small companies meet omnichannel marketing goals, providing more seamless customer experiences. If this sounds like a goal for your business, consider UCaaS providers or Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that have contact center experience too. Or, does your company have a small IT team and need assistance with implementation, network testing, or other premium support options? More than a UCaaS provider, find an MSP that bundles additional services with your cloud-based communications platform.
- Consider a hybrid deployment – Even though your organization has decided to move its communications system to the cloud, you still may want to consider the benefits of a hybrid migration. Usually, a hybrid deployment includes a blend of UCaaS and analog phone technology. This deployment model is attractive because many companies still require devices built for the analog era, such as fax machines, credit card machines, or elevator or alarm systems. If that’s the case, verify that the cloud communications vendor can support a hybrid migration. If you’re considering a hybrid deployment, also keep in mind many telephone providers are starting to phase out support of analog Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Customers should talk to providers about other options for replacing copper telephone connections. For instance, options are available that convert legacy landlines to a 4G LTE POTS-replacement solution, all at a much lower cost than fiber lines or moving to an ‘all-digital’ communication solution.
- Map out features and mobile needs – A seamless roadmap to UCaas implementation requires administrators to understand how the system will be configured based on inventory and internal requirements. Team leaders need to know how features will be set up and used, including auto-attendant, Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) systems, extension dialing, transfers, call routing, and virtual voicemail capabilities. The UCaaS systems should also meet your mobile needs delivering communication services to anyone on your team, anywhere, and from any device. When planning your move to UCaaS, make sure it can provide access to all UCaaS features – voice calling, conferencing, IM, collaboration tools – to a desk phone, laptop, or smartphone as an app. With all the features available from one platform, your team can move from one channel of communication to the next without interruption.
- Access your network infrastructure – Regardless of the size of your organization, any UCaaS deployment is likely to increase bandwidth needs. Making a move to cloud-based communications may require an organization to look at fiber connectivity or evaluating optimization technologies, including Software-defined WAN. SD-WAN. SD-WAN solutions bundled with UCaaS options can make configuring and troubleshooting issues simpler down the road.
It’s not risk-free, but it is worth it
While switching from a legacy PBX business phone system to UCaaS isn’t exactly risk-free, in many ways, it’s safer than relying on an aging copper telephone lines and the public telephone network. And, because UCaaS solutions are cloud-based, businesses can make sure that employees are connected and productive wherever they are, whether it’s from a branch office, pop-up facilities or teams are mobile.