Evaluating Cloud based Unified Communications Platforms
It should come as no surprise to anyone in our modern world that communication has changed. How we communicate, where we communicate and the devices on which we communicate—all have morphed and evolved. This is very true of the systems that deliver communications as well. Many companies are finding that their investment in legacy systems has come to an end. Not only are these systems costly to maintain, many providers are no longer supporting key applications.
It is time to look at a much lower cost Unified Communications platform. SAVVY Technology is here to help you in your evaluation process. We think of you as Goldilocks. We know the appropriate system cannot be either too robust, or too minimal. It must be, just right.
Assessment and comparison is Savvy Technology’s particular specialty. Let’s back up for a moment. Before you look at how you are going to evaluate a system and how it is going to be implemented, let’s look at WHY.
Why are you buying this platform? To answer that, you need to define your business drivers. What are you looking to accomplish that you cannot do right now? Equally important is a question you may not be able to answer completely: What is possible that you cannot even imagine right now?
Here are seven areas to define when considering Cloud based Unified Communications:
- Cloud Adoption Curve
Where is your firm on the cloud adoption curve? Are there in-house systems you will need to maintain, or are you looking to fully embrace a 100% cloud solution? Which solutions would ideally integrate with your new cloud-based UC system? You need to take a hard look at your mission critical IT systems and determine which need to be maintained and integrated into your new UC system.
- Geographic Footprint
Is your firm global in nature? North America only, or including EU and APAC? Are you opening offices in emerging markets like the Philippines, Czech Republic, India, for example? Your company’s current and future office geography/footprint will play a major role in assessing which potential UC providers will be able to fill your needs. The bigger the global requirements, the shorter the list of providers that will be able to come to the table.
- User Requirements
What are the demands from your employees, your evolving business model and the agility needs of your company to be mobile phone ready? You need to consider all the scenarios in which employees may be, or may need to be, remote workers. You also need to assess how much your employees rely on their own phone devices to conduct business.
- Productivity Enhancements:
What do your employees need to make them more productive? How will UC make your business more effective and efficient? Do you need to simplify your workflow, have more transparency? How diverse and mobile are the people in your business sphere? How can collaboration be enhanced both internally and externally?
- Compliance Requirements
One of the biggest areas to evaluate is your privacy and regulatory compliance standards. New technology cannot disrupt that and no matter what miracles it might perform, if it puts your business at risk, it is not worth it.
- Cloud Adoption Curve
You likely have geo-specific regulations to consider and ones such as HIPAA or GDPR. Your new system must meet those requirements as well and it must support your privacy and security standards.
- Uptime Requirements
Any new solution must also meet your SLA parameters. Is your business highly sensitive to any server downtime? It may require an assurance of a 5 nine uptime: that your system is fully operational 99.999% of the time — an average of less than 6 minutes downtime per year. Your requirements may be a little more flexible and only need 4 nine uptime: that your system is fully operational 99.99% of the time — an average of less than 53 minutes downtime per year. Determining these parameters will qualify or disqualify some application vendors based on their ability to guarantee hitting that requirement.
- Security Requirements
The greater access provided by a UC system raises the potential for security risks. Your evaluation should include applications with protection from common threats to your infrastructure. Those can include:
Unauthorized access – allowing the non-authorized to get into applications.
Hacking – compromising attempts from either inside or outside the corporate network.
Denial of Service – various strategies meant to bombard your systems and render them inoperable.
Mobile threats – when end-user devices attached to your network are not secure and put your data and information at risk.
Theft – when hackers exploit your system to make scam phone calls, and/or costly calls utilizing your phone system
- Support Requirements
You also need to be assured of the right amount of support you will be requiring. What is the upfront support of the various application vendors? What does their backend engineering and migration process look like?
In summary, this evaluation process for business needs should help you construct a solid requirement base. It will narrow the field of available solutions to those that fit your ‘must have’ list. This will enable you to start your journey in getting the appropriate UC system in place.
How do you proceed? Without a smooth process and solid evaluation that leads to immediate system up-time, your implementation will be filled with delays, application failures, failed SLA standards and a group of users distrustful of what additional implementation is to come. Setting yourself up with an optimal evaluation, immediate application uptime, and greater service levels, not only inspires user trust, but enhances user enthusiasm.
Engage with SAVVY to achieve the latter. We can take your requirements list and determine the target vendors to potentially meet your needs instantly. We have the data, the matrix and the tools to map out your perfect application blends to create your Just Right solution.
Your ideal UC platform needs to be, and can be, developed to be a perfect fit – not too extensive, not too limited.
Let’s call this the “Goldilocks effect”. With us, that is exactly what you will get.
Savvy Technologies provides game-changing Technology solutions that transform the way a business performs and operates into the future. Through big picture thinking and a relentless attention to detail, Savvy manages each step of the vendor selection process to ensure the best fit and highest value solution is selected and implemented. When you win, we win!
(For ideas and information on how to have a successful Unified Communications Platform roll-out, catch our next blog!)