What to Consider When Evaluating Professional Services for UCaaS and CCaaS Solutions
This is the fourth in a series of posts about solving work-from-home challenges from the IT-leader perspective. Previous editions focused on business continuity, user adoption and lessons learned from the first half of 2020.
Any time you consider a significant IT systems investment, you need to think about how you are going to successfully deploy, operate, and maintain it to reap the maximum amount of long-term return on investment.
We are seeing an upsurge in customer interest for professional services related to UCaaS and CCaaS solutions - both migrations and new implementations. This makes sense with IT staffing concerns and the fact that many organizations have long IT priority lists right now. Ultimately, you want to ensure your project is delivering the best possible results, as soon as possible.
As IT administrators, we just want things to work without hassle so we can focus on other strategic priorities whether this is a new solution or a migration from another cloud provider or legacy PBX system.
The reality is that more and more shops feature IT generalists who are good at their jobs but often do not have the specialized cloud communications skillset to configure and test every detail of an UCaaS/CCaaS implementation. Earlier in my career, a colleague managed a network cutover for voice. It resulted in poor call quality and the company could not receive inbound calls. The reason? He did it with existing resources within his team, did not engage providers, and ultimately overlooked load-testing issues. Getting it right from the beginning with expert help gets you a deployment strategy to maximize success, which equates to ROI faster with SLAs to ensure correct implementation.
These projects are not always easy, especially when your project is global or involves lots of locations and users. It can be a bit overwhelming.
As IT administrators, we just want things to work without hassle so we can focus on other strategic priorities, whether this is a new solution or a migration from another cloud provider or legacy PBX system.
My advice before having conversations about professional services with your vendor:
- Know your capabilities — be realistic about what your staff can do particularly in light of other priorities.
- Define what success looks like and in what timeframe — Will it require additional services to get there?
- Understand the real deadlines — There are deadlines and then there are real deadlines. Be honest about your timeline with your vendor to align that timeline with your needs and budget.
- Involve key stakeholders in the information-gathering process — you want to have as much credible, real data to make the right decisions. Sometimes investing a little more upfront for a custom integration, for example, can solve a critical customer need.
- Consider the full lifecycle — with feature upgrades, evolving needs for things like integration, custom APIs, and user adoption, your professional services requirements do not end when set up is complete.
Of all the apps you provide to your internal customers, communications and collaboration are among the most important as it relates to innovation, customer service, and revenue generation. Within your normal constraints, UC is not an area you can afford to fail. Work with your trusted advisors, vendors like 8x8, and your internal stakeholders to set your project up for success from the outset.