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The first step to successful UCaaS adoption

January 23, 2017

Gaurav Anand   

Vice President and Regional Head, Americas

More and more enterprises are beginning to feel comfortable about taking the plunge (or at least dipping their toes) into the cloud. The cloud has made seamless, borderless collaboration a reality, allowing people to access to the applications and data they need to get their work done, no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Now, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is gathering momentum in enterprises, with industry analysts expecting the market to expand to US$79.3 billion by 2024. This growth is driven not only by wide-spread cloud adoption, but also the pervasiveness of IP telephony globally and the clear cost benefits that UCaaS brings to enterprises.

Enterprises’ concerns with UCaaS

Leading players in the cloud communications space, such as Microsoft, Cisco and Google, are all investing in this nascent but rapidly growing market to accelerate UCaaS take-up globally. Despite the industry-wide push, many enterprises are still to embark on their UCaaS journey. Common questions they have include:

  • Will UCaaS applications be reliable and secure enough?
  • Will they really deliver a seamless, high-quality user experience?
  • Will the old systems work with the new UCaaS platform? Will UCaaS adoption mean that all equipment and applications need to be replaced? What about the significant investments that have been made to systems previously?
  • Can UCaaS be truly global?

In my conversations with CIOs about the UCaaS adoption barriers they face, many have also mentioned the need for a reliable, secure network, the right monitoring tools and metrics, end-user buy-in, and regulatory compliance. There is also a misconception that a big bang deployment is the only way to adopt UCaaS – however this can be risky and hugely disruptive to the business.

A step-by-step approach starting with SIP Trunking

The best way forward for most enterprises is to take a modular approach to UCaaS. They should start where they can make the biggest impact and transform how employees are able to work together. This step-by-step approach also enables enterprises to ‘sweat’ their existing assets for maximum ROI, instead of replacing all existing tools with new ones. Each part has to deliver tangible benefits in terms of productivity gains and user experience, and be future proofed for the continued evolution of the enterprise’s UCaaS journey.

When starting to think about UCaaS, the first decisions that enterprises need to make include choosing the platform (e.g., Microsoft, Cisco), the medium (e.g., cloud or on-premise) and the connectivity (e.g., regional best of breed or global one stop shop).

The connectivity component is crucial because it determines whether the enterprise WAN infrastructure is able to support the UCaaS deployments globally. So, it is often prioritized over the decisions around the medium and the platform. Most enterprises tend to opt for centralised data centres as aggregation or policy enforcement points on their global backbone for their WAN infrastructure. This then dove tails well with a strategy to also deploy SIP Trunking and associated enterprise voice capabilities at these locations.

That is why a global, modular platform offered under one service level agreement from a global network service provider can make a huge different to the success of an enterprise’s UCaaS journey. Industry analysts at Ovum Research echo this view: “SIP trunking has become one of the major ingredients for multinational corporations who are consolidating and centralizing their global voice and IP Telephony assets and moving towards unified communications.”

SIP trunking is therefore an enabler for UCaaS – be it in the cloud, hosted, on premise or in a hybrid environment. Its benefits are clear:

  • SIP trunking enables enterprises to get immediate savings from on-net audio, and quickly reap benefits from unified conferencing and eventually from unified communications too, paving the way for significant productivity and efficiency gains
  • It ensures a great end-user experience globally
  • SIP trunking with multi-modal features such as video enables people to collaborate across platforms and geographies more seamlessly than before
  • SIP trunking and associated voice and PSTN access is vendor, platform and technology agnostic

As the fast pace of technology innovation continues to shape how businesses operate and people collaborate, even just by dipping their toe in UCaaS enables enterprises to boost their productivity and agility in the global, digital marketplace. It all starts with SIP trunking.

What benefits do you see the next generation of UCaaS bringing to enterprises? Let us know in the comments below.