Decision-making on Unified Communications (UC) at any and every level can be extremely difficult.
As the adoption of UC grows exponentially, comparing providers may be difficult due to the lack of a standardized definition of UC and the wide variety of offerings. UC also encompasses a broader scope of services that is harder to tie to tangible business outcomes compared to traditional telecom services since UC expands to integrate with business processes, increase mobility, and enable collaboration. Finally, most companies are looking for a complete overhaul of their technology. While UC does not completely replace what currently exists, it can solve many of the pressing issues a company may face. With that knowledge, how does a company actually make a decision regarding UC?
Tech Target has been working on a series that explores the pivotal criteria required for making a decision on a UC solution. They’ve come up with three principles for selecting UC products; define the value proposition, consider the deployment models, and inspect the strength of the partner ecosystem.
- The first step in determining which platform is right for your organization is to clearly identify what you want to accomplish and how much control and management responsibility your IT staff wants. UC technology is extensive and continues to evolve on a daily basis, so defining a value proposition can be tricky. The value proposition essentially becomes a “moving target” due to regular and consistent feature roll-outs, so identifying the business uses for UC are important. Tech Target explains, “Without a clear sense of purpose, the value proposition will be vague, and management will have a hard time justifying the investment.”
- On-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid UC are the three deployment models you will need to select from. They each have their advantages and disadvantages based on each individual company’s needs and requirements within a UC solution. As Tech Target explains, “Not every [UC] vendor supports both on-premises and cloud-based UC equally – so if hybrid is your focus, both capabilities must be evaluated carefully.”
- UC vendors have a broad spectrum of dependency upon partners, and the dynamic the vendor you select has within those partnerships is pivotal to your company’s success. The article explains, “The most important reality to understand about UC is its fluid in nature, which makes it very different from phone systems in terms of making buying decisions. The partner ecosystem will be a key indicator of how well a vendor’s offerings can meet the needs of your business going forward.” Examples of this are the many differences between Broadsoft based UC providers. They are not all created equally, and the feature set can vary based on their partnerships and what release they are on.
These are great suggestions on how to go out about selecting and buying a UC solution. The truth of the matter is that most businesses are exploring more effective communication via UC, so a lot of people are facing the same purchasing decisions. The technology you choose could either bolster or hinder your success.
The Unified Communications realm is not something that a company should wonder into unsure. ARG has some additional steps for choosing a provider as well as tips for successful implementation and ongoing management.
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