Per the research firm Global Insights, the
market for Unified
Communications (UC) technology will reach nearly $100
billion during the next five years. Such a huge forecast makes
sense, as UC is not necessarily one product but an interconnected set of
devices and applications that a business uses in concert with the goal of
boosting collaboration and productivity between workers.
Voice services such as conference calling,
visual services such as videoconferencing
and text services such as instant
messaging are the typical pillars of a digital UC platform. And
today, cloud-based UC – a technology configuration in which most or some of the
applications are hosted by third-party providers – is one of the
fastest-growing segments in the communications industry.
Why? Because cloud-UC – also called Unified
Communications as a Service (UCaaS) – offers the familiar business advantages
of other cloud computing options:
mobility and availability
equipment and support costs
Of course, cloud-UC shares challenges with
other cloud services, too, such as administrative complexities and cybersecurity
concerns. So, like other areas of emerging
technology, we advocate our readers take a deliberative approach to
adopting UCaaS. Here’s a 5-step process to guide you:
- Start with User Needs
A large part of the appeal
of cloud computing in general is the ability to use only the technology you
need, when you need it, without having to own it. This means any cloud-UC
journey should begin by assessing user requirements. Conference calling
probably is a given. But how prevalent is instant messaging in your workplace?
And is the organization ready for videoconferencing? How mobile
is your workforce? Are we providing devices? Or can employees bring
their own to work? One simple, effective way to find answers to
these questions is an employee questionnaire.
- Review Cloud-based UC Components
Basic elements of UCaaS typically include:
over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
email, social media and presence
- Conferencing and collaboration services
(audio, video and web)
your organization need all these components? Check your user survey for
- Evaluate Existing Equipment
Many companies have
considerable investments in on-premise communications infrastructure. And a lot
of these systems are working just fine for individuals and the organization.
Maybe you don’t need a full cloud-UC solution. A hybrid
approach could be best for your users and your business.
- Make Cybersecurity and Business Continuity
UC systems will be an
integral part of your business operations, which means UC must be an integral
part of your business continuity planning and should be approached with a cybersecure
- Don’t Go It Alone – Many
IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) specialize in UC, cloud, mobility and
other emerging technologies. We can help
you find one that fits your business.