The pace of innovation in Unified Communications (UC) has increased rapidly over the last few years, and technology vendors are now focusing their R&D activities almost entirely on cloud delivery.

For this reason, when considering UC, it is advisable to evaluate cloud-based options, understand the choices your potential partner is offering and be sure that you are comparing like with like. Here are the three key areas we suggest you investigate...

1. Delivery

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) supports the same functions as on-premises UC, the key difference is that it has a cloud delivery model. There are two types of cloud delivery architectures to consider.

Multi-tenant is where all customers share a common software instance and simply consume a partition of a larger system. If a manufacturer updates the platform then all customers are obligated to change at the same time. Updates are pushed to all users simultaneously, so IT teams need to ensure users are trained or support is available at the time of the update.

Multi-instance is where customers have their own dedicated software instance. If a manufacturer releases new software, customers can control when to make the update and schedule it so as to minimise business impact.

Both architectures have the same key characteristics such as shared infrastructure (data centres, racks etc), shared tools (provisioning and monitoring), the elasticity to dynamically scale up or down, and simple per-user-per-month pricing.

However, enterprise customers generally prefer a multi-instance architecture which offers better control, customisation and sophisticated integration capabilities for business-critical applications like contact centre or CRM. In addition to this, multi-instance systems will usually have an enhanced feature set.

2. Support

Multi-tenant platforms are operated by a service provider and then typically sold on to resellers, which means that multiple parties are involved in supporting them. The reseller may have no direct access to the solution that they provide and so response and incident rectification times can vary, due to the additional layers of administration. Multi-tenant systems rely on either your own IT team or your reseller for system administration.

Multi-instance solutions are operated by a service provider and typically supplied directly to the customer as a fully managed service. This means that the provider has full control and end-to-end visibility of your solution to resolve incidents quickly. Multi-instance systems are supported by a provider enabling your own IT team to focus on other business priorities.

Whichever solution you choose, ensure you discuss and document what support is included and what the response and rectification times are together with the process to ensure you don’t have undue delays. If you are buying through a reseller, ensure they have the appropriate level of skills and quantity of engineers to provide the support you need.

3. Reliability

There are two approaches to connecting to your UCaaS service. The Internet is typical for many providers however, user experience may vary and the quality of calls should be considered. Private connectivity as opposed to the public Internet assures call quality and enhances security.

Reliable communications are essential for most businesses, so it’s important to check whether a provider’s SLAs offer end-to-end support and provide proactive monitoring and management. A fully managed UCaaS solution from a reputable provider will deliver a fast, reliable and secure service, giving you total peace of mind.

At Bistech we consult with customers on all the areas outlined above plus many more, to deliver exactly the right UC and UCaaS solution to suit your needs today and into the future. Our flexible approach offers different deployment and financial models and our proven track record means your business-critical communications are always in safe hands. Talk to us – 03330 11 22 55.