"The major factors that are driving the [Unified Communications (UC)] market are low cost of ownership as compared to other communications tools, pay-per-use model, growing mobility trends and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), single platform integration of all communicating services, rapidly growing demand by SMBs, and continuous service support options." – Research and Markets
It’s been said over and over, but cloud-based UC continues to make strides based on the benefits of scalability, collaboration, and less capital outlay. So it’s no wonder that seemingly every Request for Proposal includes Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). While the technology’s inception occurred just a few years ago, most businesses have adopted some kind of cloud-based services in their overall IT strategy. Based on this, transition to UCaaS is a natural progression.
But just because there is high demand for the solution doesn’t mean that, if you build the product, customers will come. Providers must focus on key market drivers and develop offerings that answer customer pain points while differentiating from the countless other competitors.
Key Market Drivers to Cloud-Based UC
Companies have unique reasons for needing a telephony change, but aside from that, providers should direct their attention to these consistent drivers:
- Staying Competitive – The fact is, many businesses are relying on legacy technologies that can’t keep pace with the necessary strategic innovations that keep organizations competitive.
- Innovation Can’t Wait – Premises-based solutions have long lead times, so if your company is trying to be competitive, you will most likely seek a faster alternative. With a provider built cloud model, deployments are fast and can be quickly expanded for endpoints and applications.
- Tight Budgets – Convincing company leaders to hand over money from a strapped budget for capital expenditures is a hard sell. Companies are looking instead to solutions that use operational expenditures, rather than high up-front costs.
- Limited Staff or Expertise – Being short-staffed or lacking technical expertise aren’t just issues facing the SMB market. Even enterprises need solutions that are easily managed and supported without dedicated staff.
- Need to Simplify – Traditional telephony is considered to be outside of the native IT infrastructure. CIOs want to simplify by choosing a solution that allows delegation of all related telephony and data responsibilities.
- Application Sprawl – Managing the onslaught of applications that come along with UC can be a headache for companies. IT leaders need a way to manage the solution, without dedicating their own resources.
- Escaping the Upgrade Cycle – Costly upgrades to legacy premises-based equipment causes problems for the tight budgets we mentioned. Businesses want to have passive upgrades that happen in real-time or outside of business hours so that productivity is not impacted.
How to Be “Leading Edge”
Providers that only create a UCaaS offering based around key market drivers are likely to get some business due to impactful marketing or a lower price point. But to truly capture the market, the solution must be leading edge.
What does that mean? It has to answer problems that businesses didn’t even know existed in the upgrade.
So what is that exactly? Business continuity with survivability.
As applications and UC functions increasingly move to the cloud, providers and customers must take precautions to ensure that seamless business operations continue. Businesses accustomed to on premise solutions have a comfort level with controlling their specific environment. But hosted, cloud-based solutions don’t have the same guarantees. If customers experience dissonance in business continuity because of this, it can create dissatisfaction and eventual churn.
To ensure business continuity that allows for customers to enjoy the benefits of UCaaS, providers should always include a feature for business continuity with survivability with their offering. With the promise to guarantee high availability, providers not only bring value over their competitors, but also have a chance to monetize the feature that makes them leading edge.
Make Business Continuity with Survivability Part of Your Comprehensive Business Continuity Offering
Using EdgeMarc Intelligent Edges, providers have an insurance plan on their communications solutions. With survivability, if a WAN connection, feature server, or other network element goes down, there is always a backup. During an event, when the feature engages, the intelligent edges operate as a local PBX to manage station-to-station calls and other advanced features.
To learn more about how Edgewater Networks’ intelligent edges can help you provide a high-value, differentiated UCaaS offering, read our white paper Resilience, Survivability, and Fault Tolerance for UC Start at the Edge.