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Questions B2B Companies Should Ask Before Moving to Cloud-Based Unified Communications

Cloud Communications

B2B News Network by Jeff Blackey

According to Gartner, there has been a 6.6% decline in premises-based revenue over the last five years. Rather than simply replacing aging premise-based phone systems with newer ones, B2B businesses have been steadily adopting unified communications (UC) and the migration to the cloud.  These businesses are looking for mobility, flexibility and more efficient ways to collaborate and work. Cloud-based UC systems integrate traditional telephony solutions with other communication and productivity applications on an internet protocol (IP) network, and are better equipped to meet the growing demands of the modern workforce by enabling a myriad of capabilities, including audio, web and a video conferencing, company-wide chat, presence, email, file sharing and integrations with leading CRM solutions.

Cloud-based solutions are a growing and tremendously competitive market. With so many vendors and service providers to choose from, businesses need to do their due-diligence to understand what capabilities are most important to their operational needs. Asking the following questions is a good starting point to help differentiate potential UC providers.

Is in-house technical expertise needed during and after deployment and implementation?

Premises-based telephony systems can be time-consuming, complex and costly to maintain, requiring dedicated IT staff to manage the systems and servers for even the most basic of changes. Unlike equipment that just depreciates, the cloud offers simplicity and automatic updates since software is managed and updated off site. Therefore updating a system is not a hassle. Intuitive web portals give online management to IT staff and end-users. A centralized administrator can easily add or remove users, features and phone lines instantly versus days, by using online administrative controls – no need for the hassle or fees for initial configuration and installation or sunk costs in hardware.

Is post-deployment support provided to help IT staff and employees as they learn to use the system?

The best cloud-based UC solutions are intuitive systems that require little explanation. However, offering optional training sessions and plenty of resources is key to ensuring that employees feel prepared to make the transition. Businesses should develop material that clearly outlines the process and explains the benefits of transition, emphasizing the ease-of-use afforded by cloud technology. In order to address unexpected user questions or challenges, the full IT team should be on standby to assist and explain where needed. Additionally, businesses should look for a provider that offers an online community as a resource center for employees and IT teams alike to receive instant assistance and live conversation.

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