Navigating the UCaaS Market — Solution Comparisons by Business Need

We’ve got good news and bad news for customers considering unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS). The good news is the market is exploding and innovative products are more readily available to businesses than ever before. The bad news is just that — innovative products are more readily available to businesses than ever before. UCaaS market saturation creates a “more options, more problems” conundrum for customers — how do you cut through the noise to identify the right solution for your business?

No matter if you’re a global enterprise or a 10-person startup, the best way to approach this question is by starting at what you need your phone system to do, and this article is designed to help you through the process.

Let’s explore some of the common business and collaboration pain points organizations experience and help align those issues with the right UCaaS solution.

Breaking Down UCaaS Needs

For Small Businesses

Common Pain Points

  • Overspending
  • Feature limitations/capabilities
  • Unreliable service/uptime
  • Lack of device interoperability
  • Lack of scale

 

UCaaS Requirement

  • Cost-effective, subscription pricing
  • Professional call management features
  • Easy and fast activation, with plug-and-ring-ready phones
  • Convenient online access for admins and users

For Mid-Sized Businesses

Common Pain Points

  • Complicated systems
  • Unreliable service/uptime
  • Security/compliance limitations
  • Limited onboarding support for users
  • Too many disparate collaboration systems

 

UCaaS Requirement

  • Flexible custom settings and workflow configurations
  • Intuitive admin and user interface
  • Innovative features such as Business SMS and Google/Box integrations
  • Mobility via smartphone apps and desktop clients

For Enterprises

Common Pain Points

  • Too many locations, too little integration (between branches and with contact center)
  • Complicated systems
  • Disjointed platform management processes
  • Insufficient integration between systems and devices

 

UCaaS Requirement

  • Reliable and flexible platform; easily add locations, departments, users
  • Centralized system; one solution for all users across multiple locations
  • Robust; advanced call management and workflows, integration with business software and cloud services
  • Smart communications reporting and analytics

Comparing UCaaS Solutions

For Small Businesses

High costs, feature and performance limitations and a lack of scalability are challenges most small businesses face when it comes to their phone systems. Because of this, these organizations should gravitate toward providers that can offer high quality-of-service (QoS) and the flexibility to grow with business demands.

8x8 and NetFortris are two providers with a proven track record in the small-business vertical. 8x8, in particular, offers award-winning voice quality over the public internet as well as top-notch contact center services for small businesses. NetFortris offers a strong hybrid UCaaS option for businesses interested in keeping some of their collaboration infrastructure on-site. One thing to note if you’re a fast-growing business — NetFortris’ sweet spot is around the 1,000-seat mark. If you expect to grow beyond that, a larger-volume provider might be a better fit.

Mitel also offers a highly flexible, browser-agnostic solution via its MiCloud Connect product. This solution might be worth considering if you have a remote, device-enabled workforce.

For Mid-Sized Businesses

Most mid-sized businesses are in need of intuitive, easy-to-manage systems with enough flexibility and support to meet the needs of a user base greater than 50. 8x8 and Mitel’s UCaaS offerings align well with these needs. Both have proprietary UCaaS technology that integrates with widely used systems like Salesforce, Google G Suite and Microsoft Dynamics. Despite market-leading VoIP technology, 8x8’s audio and web conferencing capabilities may be limited for mid-sized companies with larger user bases and multiple branches. Another provider to consider in this vertical is Evolve IP, which offers unified communications technology through BroadSoft as well as a host of other cloud solutions to augment collaboration, like infrastructure-, desktop- and disaster-recovery-as-a-service and Microsoft Exchange and Office 365. Evolve IP also has its own U.S.-based software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) product, a great option for geographically dispersed businesses.

For Enterprises

Large enterprises face a unique set of collaboration challenges. Not only do they need greater technology unification and simplicity, but they need robust features, analytics and reporting. Big players like RingCentral, 8x8 and West offer powerful enterprise-grade UCaaS solutions. Pay attention to third-party costs and dedicated tenancy, however. RingCentral’s third-party contact center offering, while excellent, can be pricey, and the costs for West’s single/dedicated tenant solution run higher than their multi-tenant product.

Considering UCaaS? Get a Second Opinion — or Three or Four

Hopefully this solution comparison is a great primer for a conversation about bringing UCaaS to your business. But let’s be clear — this is a starting point. This information is most useful when it’s leveraged into a deeper discussion with objective, vendor-neutral experts — and the more you can speak to, the better! If you’re early on in your UCaaS evaluation journey, your primary goal should be to gain as much market insight and product knowledge as possible, and Select Communications is here to help.

Give us a shout if you’re ready to take the next step in your UCaaS journey. We can lend a thoughtful ear to the needs of your business, objective insight into possible solutions and a free analysis of your current phone system!