Unified Communications: 6 Considerations for Vendor Selection
So you’ve done your homework with regard to unified communications (UC) and have decided that your business could benefit from the improved collaboration capabilities it offers. You’ve also explored the various UC deployment models – onsite, cloud and hybrid – and have a good sense for which you’d choose. It’s time to start talking to vendors, but where to begin?
“UC is a relatively new offering and if it’s new to you, you need to research not only what the vendors offer, but how long they’ve been in the UC business,” says telecom analyst Jon Arnold. “Some vendors have very mature offerings and others are just jumping into the game.”
Arnold recently authored a white paper that explains the market drivers behind UC, the productivity benefits it can provide, and the pros and cons of each deployment model. The paper also outlines components to consider with regard to vendor selection. A short synopsis of six of those considerations appears below.
1. Solution Architecture – Look for a partner who has the flexibility to offer and support all three deployment scenarios. In addition, make sure they offer a full suite of UC applications and capabilities, and can deliver a seamless user experience that will work across all environments.
2. Solution Development – Do they have the customer and technical support capabilities in place to answer all your questions and give you what you need to successfully deliver UC to all employees? Is the solution market ready, or simply a beta trial?
3. Their UC Value Proposition – UC is a service, not a hardware-based product like a phone system. It’s a given that pricing should be competitive, but don’t make cost reduction your primary driver. Your top priority should be functionality as the payoff with UC comes in the productivity improvements you will see. Look for a flexible licensing model that will make it easy to add features, applications and new users vs. a fixed base model that will require additional cost with each new license.
4. Features and Applications – First and foremost, the vendor must have the ability to offer more than VOIP/telephony. Beyond this, ensure that they can truly deliver an enterprise-grade telephony experience. Lastly, make sure enterprise-grade security for cloud applications – especially voice – is part of the mix.
5. User Experience – For many employees, UC will present a new way of working. Give them a reason to stick with it by making sure it’s simple and easy to use. Look for intuitive solutions in terms of the user experience so adoption can occur quickly with minimal training during both pre and post deployment.
6. Business Partner – UC hasn’t been out there in the marketplace for that long, so brand reputation and experience is key. Go with a company that’s done this before and that’s going to be around. Also look for a vendor that can deploy the solution quickly with minimal disruption to operations and workflows.
Like what you’re reading and want to learn more from Jon Arnold? Watch the webinar, “Onsite, Cloud or Hybrid: Assessing Deployment Options for Unified Communications”.
Take the Best Fit Assessment
With all the options available today, there’s no time like the present to give your phone system a second look. Today’s unified communications (UC) technologies go beyond telephony by seamlessly integrating applications used by workers every day, no matter their device or location.
If you’re struggling with which option to choose – onsite, cloud or hybrid – take our Best Fit assessment. Learn which deployment option might be your best fit when it comes to a new phone system. Completion of the assessment will automatically qualify you for a drawing to win an Amazon Echo valued at $180. Plus, you get the Jon Arnold white paper, “Cloud, Hybrid or Onsite: Assessing Deployment Options for UC”.