Even before the events of 2020, cloud communications technology like Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) were experiencing rapid growth for several reasons, including:
- Evergreen technology – Businesses are guaranteed access to the latest functions and features of the technology immediately.
- Reduced complexity – No need to have the specialized talent in-house. By outsourcing your technology needs, the provider becomes the specialist.
- OPEX vs. CAPEX – Because UCaaS is “pay as you go,” the costs to provide communications solutions to your team become an operating expense, leaving the capital expenses for other mission-critical needs.
- Unparalleled flexibility – Users are no longer “tied to the desk” and enabling true hybrid functionality.
COVID-19 was very disruptive and to more than just our physical health. COVID-19 brought the qualities of resiliency and adaptability to the forefront, showing even the staunchest of naysayers, just how critical cloud solutions were to the long-term success of a business. Frost & Sullivan’s recent whitepaper on How to Select a Trusted Partner to Optimize Your Cloud Communications Investments said, “Going forward, lessons learned from the pandemic will influence expectations of how cloud technology investments can support rapidly changing business priorities.”
The survey in the Frost & Sullivan paper looked at IT Decision Makers across the world and asked them about their plans to adopt cloud communications technology solutions such as voice, video and chat/SMS, the foundations of UCaaS.
As of December of 2020, Frost & Sullivan found that businesses had largely adopted components of unified communications:
- Survey results show that 38% of businesses plan to deploy in the next two years and 39% have deployed IP Telephony solutions
- 54% of businesses surveyed have deployed video conferencing solutions, with 29% planning to do so within 2 years.
- Instant messaging solutions such as chat or business SMS (text messaging) have been deployed in 44% of businesses surveyed and 35% plan to over the next two years.
What To Look For in a UCaaS Provider
The advantages to deploying a cloud communications technology like UCaaS solutions are substantial and time-tested, and the great remote work experience only helped to convince even the staunchest of opponents. The choice of a provider is also a big decision that involves a fair amount of forethought. Key things to look for include:
- 4G Failover Support – Instant failover support that provides continuity of services should the data connection that services your telecommunications solution has an outage. Outages can occur for a variety of reasons, just like traditional POTS lines (which are being phased out and no longer sold) such as a natural disaster, accidental cable cut or human error. Having 4G cellular backup that seamlessly maintains your connection keeps your business running in case your main connection goes down.
- Mobile Application – In today’s business world, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, working in the office is rare. With most working from home, and no access to the traditional desk phone, having a mobile application that can function the same way a desk phone does is critical.
- 24/7 Customer Service Access – Telephony services are not just necessary from 9-5. Neither does your business only operate during the day. And issues can arise at any time. You need someone who is available to you day and night to help you get back up and running as soon as possible.
- Boutique Service and Solutions – No two people are alike…just as no two businesses are alike. In the same way, neither should your business communication implementation. The cookie-cutter approach does not best serve every business. Ensure your solution meets your business’s unique needs.
There is another reason you will want to consider cloud-based unified communications moving forward – POTS Lines are in the process of being phased out as telecommunications companies switch from analog-based technology to digital-based technology. This means that communications solutions that rely on POTS lines will soon no longer work. As you reassess your communications needs moving forward, now is the best time to look into POTS Line replacement solutions as well.