Hastened by the remote-work requirements brought on by COVID-19, many companies have made the transition into a digitally-oriented business model – presenting a real opportunity for channel partners offering cloud-based unified communications solutions.
But as the market demand escalates, partners who outfit those companies need to determine how to help customers gain the full advantage of cloud communications.
Partners should keep certain guidelines in mind when selecting a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) system for their customers. “Unified Communications as a Service ... leads to buying decisions that require a very different set of purchase considerations compared to on-premises solutions,” confirms Rebekah Carter of global UC media news site UC Today. “When making the move to the cloud, companies need to think carefully about how they’re going to bring the best possible technology into their landscape.”
Here is some advice and market information from experts in the media that can help partners and their clientele get the most out of UCaaS:
Find UCaaS Solutions That Fill a Market Need
First, let’s examine the scope of this opportunity. According to sources such as Tech Target, Computer Weekly and others, statistics consistently point to a growing market for UCaaS implementations. For example:
Nearly two-thirds of respondents in a 2019 Nemertes Research Group Inc. workplace collaboration study said they are using UCaaS or hosted services for all or part of their UC needs. 43% of the responding organizations that still use on-premises UC said they were evaluating a move or planning to move to the cloud.
The installed base of UCaaS subscribers will grow by an average annual rate of 26% over the next four years, according to Synergy Research Group.
Focus on the Features Offered by Unified Communications
“The UC landscape is constantly evolving, and businesses are increasingly searching for more capabilities as a result. Because of this, it’s important to evaluate the features that your UCaaS provider can offer and determine whether they fit with your requirements,” says UC Today’s Carter.
A versatile list of features should be a priority in implementing a UCaaS solution: presence management, interactive voice response (IVR), intelligent call routing, omnichannel communications, and mobility tools all included. A UCaaS solution can accommodate a richer palette of features than on-premises systems, since much of the basic infrastructure of a hosted system is virtualized. UCaaS also allows a solution to easily support upgrades as the latest innovative features are introduced – a common phenomenon in this fast-paced technology sector.
Channel partners should get to know their customers and become fully versed in their unique requirements. Partners must ask questions that can help identify those business needs that may not be obvious and then suggest the appropriate technologies that can produce value and improve the ongoing business processes for those customer organizations.
Look for Smart Integrations
Finally, integration with powerful third-party industry applications is a requisite for an effective UCaaS solution. “It’s much easier to transform your communication stack if your UCaaS tools can integrate with the systems you already use,” Carter recommends. “Most UCaaS providers are offering integrations today with leading management and communication tools. Some are also looking into the world of APIs and SDKs for greater extensibility.”
Look for practical integrations, such as with customer relationship management (CRM) or back-office systems. UCaaS services that integrate with recognized providers such as ConnectWise can help create efficiencies, reduce human error, and automate menial tasks such as data entry.
As the business community continues on its course toward a more cloud-based, hosted-services economy, UCaaS will continue to demonstrate its relevance to this environment. Savvy channel partners should study the needs of customers and then bring these capabilities and productivity-boosting features to the table as part of a more compelling, scalable, and cost-effective solution.
Identify the Best Way to Offer Unified Communications to Customers
Identifying the right unified communications solution is a key part of providing your customers with the tools they need to remain connected to their business from anywhere, but it’s also only part of the solution. How you offer your customers UCaaS solutions can make just as much of an impact on your business as the products you provide your customers.
Download our exclusive guide to learn how profits, long-term relationships, and more can change depending on whether you join an agent program, offer a private-label cloud communications solution, or build your own offering.