Unified Communications Companies: Which Should You Choose?
There are many unified communications (UC) companies to choose from, both in the marketplace, and that have captured enough market share and recognition to be included in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for UC as a Service (UCaaS). 8x8 is fortunate to have been recognized by Gartner as a Leader for seven consecutive years for Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute.
Over the past few years, 8x8 has made several enhancements to our Virtual Office solution. Our Research and Development teams continue to work to improve our services, both to address the items listed as Cautions in the Gartner report and to provide greater value for both our existing customers, and prospects looking to upgrade from their existing UC service, or adopt the UCaaS for the first time.
Here are some of the criteria your business should use to evaluate Unified Communications companies that offer these services for desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
- IP telephony - Voice over IP, including softphones for desktop computers and mobile apps
- Audio and video conferencing
- Instant Messaging and Presence
UCaaS solutions are ideal for distributed workforces that can benefit from solutions which don't need much IT expertise to deploy. IT can focus on strategic projects which contribute to their company's competitive position in the market. Subscription costs models are predictable and affordable.
1. A Mature, Proven Solution
8x8 has been a major player in the UCaaS and UC industry segment for a decade. Our portfolio also includes a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, which extends the value we can provide to our customers, such as government organizations, law firms, healthcare organizations, small businesses, and large enterprises. Gartner reports that the small business UCaaS market has grown by:
- 14% in smaller deployments of 50-100 users
- 8% in the mid-sized business market of 100-1000 users
- 2% in the enterprise segment of 1000+ users
8x8 recently branded our UCaaS Enterprise Engagement Management platform as x-Series, however, the solution has many deployments across these business segments, including many deployments of between 1,000 and 5,000 users. TechTarget recently named X-Series as a winner of its Network Innovation Award.
Choosing a proven, award-winning solution is typically a safe bet and a smart move.
2. Scalability for New Users and Locations
8x8's X Series UCaaS solution makes it easy for our customers to add new users and new locations around the world. If a company acquire other business or expand quickly, X Series is ideally suited for globally distributed locations and workforces.
Some Unified Communications companies have solutions which are better suited for white labelling by ISPs, others like 8x8 are purpose-built for companies to use them "out of the box."
3. Business Continuity and Recovery
8x8's hosting infrastructure is fully redundant, so if there is ever an outage, there are backup resources which can be brought online, so there is no single point of failure or interruption of delivery. UCaaS solutions also allow users to transfer calls on the fly from their computer softphone to a mobile device, and for users to work from alternate locations. This can either be for convenience or productivity reasons while on the road or if there is a local ISP failure due to a disaster or other interruption.
A UCaaS needs to have a robust network, capable of handling vast amounts of throughput and have redundancy in case of failure. Disconnected businesses in the digital age are at great risk, so prevent that from happening by partnering with a UCaaS provider with redundant, high capacity networks.
4. Training and Onboarding
The 8x8 Academy is an excellent resource for administrators and users to learn how to manage and use the different functions of X-Series and to attend special events about getting more value from UCaaS and CCaaS. There are several recorded training resources, as well as live sessions to enable our customers to ask questions and have them answered by a subject matter expert.
As with any new communications service deployment, it will only be as successful if users are comfortable adopting it, and weaving its use into their day-to-day lives. Training and onboarding are critical for this to succeed.
5. Administrative Portal for Management and Analytics
To manage user access related to UCaaS and CCaaS, an intuitive administrative portal with analytics dashboards is invaluable. Tracking who is using the platform, browsing call logs and checking for any anomalies is good to understand the health of the deployment, and these reports may also be required for audit and compliance purposes.
Integration with your existing business application ecosystems, such as CRM apps like Salesforce.com, NetSuite or productivity suites like Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are also important criteria you should find in a UCaaS vendor worthy of your investment.
6. Regulatory Compliance and Security
Compliance and security are crucial as it relates to unified communications, especially in industries like the retail, legal, healthcare, financial services, and government industries. 8x8 has been certified against many of the leading security, privacy and regulatory standards, including:
- ISO 27001
Before you subscribe to a UCaaS solution, see if they have the depth and breadth of certifications and industry recognition that 8x8 does. If you've already invested in a solution like Microsoft Skype for Business, 8x8 can extend its value, instead of replacing it.
Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.