Let's talk about Cloud unified communications. We sometimes call it unified communications as a service, but basically it's delivering unified communications as services in the Cloud or via the Cloud. What are the five things that you need to look for in a provider that's going to provide you some sort of unified communications capability?
You want to make sure that the provider has a lot of flexibility in the types of solutions they can deploy for you as well as giving you a lot of flexibility in terms of what you want to configure.
Not all business are created the same. Not all businesses even have the same needs over the course of time in a given year. Some businesses have seasonal peaks and valleys. You want to be able to flexibly ramp up or ramp down the types of unified communications you're going to want to use for your employees.
If you have a lot of contact center agents on a given season, you want to be able to ramp up that number of users and then take that back down again later on.
One of the key advantages of communications now is the ability to deliver communications to anybody anywhere on any device. You need the ability to have all those services in the Cloud and then deliver those down to any connected location: your desk phone in an office in one location or in an office in another location, onto your smartphone as an app, your smartphone, or in a variety of other mechanisms.
Maybe you need it delivered to an instant messaging and presence client like Lync or Jabber. You'll want to make sure your partner has the ability to deliver these mobility to your system.
You want to take advantage of the economies-of-scale that Cloud UC gives you versus on-premise UC. With on-premise UC have to buy all the equipment yourself and deal with all the maintenance contracts and all those support agreements and everything else.
With Cloud UC you can push all that up to the Cloud vendor, someone like West Unified Communications Services, and we take all that on. So we're the ones that are maintaining all those things, upgrading them and making sure that they're all up to date. This allows you to take advantage of the latest and greatest technology as it comes out.
When you go to the Cloud you don't want to lose control from an It perspective. You don't want to just say, "I'm going to outsource everything to the Cloud and then it's up to the Cloud provider to control everything."
You still want to have the complete transparency and ability to get in and manage everything related to your users, your numbers, your circuits and everything else that comprises unified communications. You want to make sure a vendor has that element of control through some sort of unified portal that allows you to log in and take a look at everything going on in your environment.
You don't want to get someone who just started in this business, frankly. You want to get someone who has a track record, has been in the industry for a while, has a proven set of customers - hopefully customers that are still with them and retained over the years.
West Unified Communications Services has 95% or 96% customer retention in this area. You want someone who has service that stands behind the solution that they sell and almost becomes an extension of your IT department. I've never met an IT group that doesn't have a to-do list a mile long, so this lets them chop off some of that to-do list.
When it comes to tasks and processes around telecommunications, outsource it to someone like West UC that does unified communications in the Cloud. This way your IT team can focus on other things that they need to get done.