Frost & Sullivan research clearly shows that unified communications is here to stay, with almost two-thirds of companies reporting that UC (Unified Communications) is deployed within their organization. But the nearly 2,000 IT decisions makers we recently surveyed for our annual Digital Transformation study also tell us that they continue to struggle to align their IT strategies with their business goals, effectively handle security and privacy concerns, and manage a web of multi-vendor solutions. Companies are also looking for cost-effective ways to ensure their network stability and reliability, and improve the state of their digital presence across the enterprise.
On the other hand, decision makers also wrestle with the top drivers for IT investment, which include reducing operational costs, boosting creativity and innovation, improving collaboration, accelerating decision making and attracting and retaining a strong workforce.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Solutions
Unified communications and collaboration tools can help to both mitigate these challenges and support corporate goals for investment. But many organizations struggle to provide a complete array of UC tools to all end users, across campuses and home offices, geographies and time zones. This is where UCaaS comes in: Unified Communications as a Service.
By moving communications and collaboration applications to the cloud, companies can see significant, measurable benefits across a range of areas. No wonder more than half of all companies have shifted to a cloud-based model. Furthermore, within companies that have deployed UCaaS, 16% report that all their employees are on the platform and 30% say at least half of all employees get their UC apps in the cloud.
Our research shows that both users and non-users expect to gain operational efficiencies and reduce costs by adopting UCaaS.
- 43% of current users and 40% of future users report that UCaaS is easier for IT to manage
- 36% of current users and 43% of future users expect to reduce costs with UCaaS
- 39% of current users and 32% of future users perceive UCaaS as more secure than premises-based solutions (they’re not wrong about that, most businesses cannot match the redundancy and fail-over protocols in place at leading UCaaS providers)
IT decision makers say that cloud computing is highly effective, especially when it comes to data storage and analytics, meeting the need for flexibility and scalability, getting access to advanced features and freeing up IT staff for more strategic work. But not all UCaaS solutions are alike.
As you evaluate potential UCaaS providers, make sure to look for key criteria:
- Reliable, secure performance. With more than 50 percent of employees routinely working remotely, and with companies competing on a global stage, make sure your cloud-based solution can deliver on its SLAs.
- Cap-ex savings and cost consistency. If you want to reduce up-front investment and move to an Op-Ex model, make sure your chosen provider offers a subscription model in which prices are consistent.
- Access to advanced features. Businesses look to cloud-based UC services to deliver cutting-edge capabilities as soon as managers and end-users want them. Make sure you’ll be able to turn on advanced functionality as needed, without incurring unexpected costs or needing a contract renewal.
- Rapid time to deployment. To stay competitive, you need to move on a dime. Make sure your chosen cloud-based solutions can be up and running in hours; that users will always be on the latest version of the software; and that it is easy to configure for new users and use cases.
- Flexibility and scalability. Cloud-based UC services let companies add and remove new employees as needed. This supports fluctuations in staffing needs and helps growing companies quickly catch up to larger competitors. Make sure your solution provider can offer the kind of flexibility and scalability your business needs today in any location, and on any network or device.
- Support for remote workers and multiple sites. Few businesses can afford to have IT staff at all their corporate offices, and none can personally support home-office and traveling workers. Look for a cloud solution that can be deployed and managed from anywhere.
- End-to-end solution set. A single provider makes management a breeze and ensures consistency across applications and platforms. One of the biggest challenges IT managers face is handling the myriad tools in place at their organizations—some of which are brought in by employees themselves, without input from IT. By deploying a single solution with end-to-end capabilities, companies can give their employees everything they need to get work done—all while streamlining contracts, billing, support and management.
UCaaS delivers a wide variety of benefits to businesses as they fight to stay competitive in an increasingly global, collaborative and always-on world. Make sure your chosen solution can deliver leading-edge capabilities without the need for up-front investment, is easy to deploy to all employees, offers access to advanced features, helps maintain security and compliance, and delivers 24/7 management and support everywhere you need it.