OMNIA Partners Blog

What You Should Ask Before UCaaS

Posted by SpyGlass on May 07, 2021


If your business was thinking about moving to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) before 2020, the pandemic quickly prompted many to take steps toward the cloud-based delivery model. But transitioning your unified communications (UC) platform of numerous online tools, along with on-premise systems to a hosted UCaaS service isn’t without complications — or costs.

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Top 3 Answers for Your Financially Savvy UC & Legacy Technology Transition

As confidence in the cloud and budgets is increasing, nearly every size company is looking at ways to consolidate pandemic-induced UC purchases and edge away from legacy technologies for digital transformation. Before embarking on UCaaS to simplify your bevy of business communication tools, OMNIA Partners GPO-vetted partner SpyGlass provides practical insight on some of the best precursor financially-savvy moves for savings.

 

Top 3 Question to Ask Before UCaaS

 

1.) When it comes to investing in a cloud-based UCaaS delivery of UC solutions, is an “all-or-nothing” approach the norm?

It’s true unified communications became the hero of 2020, as businesses quickly sought for and added collaboration, communication and productivity solutions. While the influx of communication tools leveraged work from home capabilities, the rush to innovate can be overwhelming for your staff and IT team. To simplify, UCaaS providers offer a streamlined approach by integrating UC apps through a single source delivered over an IP network, most often the internet.

But those who have deployed a complete UCaaS service are the exception, not the rule. In fact, on average, of the 100 SnapShot Audits SpyGlass performs across the U.S. monthly, only a handful of clients have deployed a complete UCaaS-hosted solution.

While some organizations were logistically prepared for a full cloud transition in 2020, many had made large investments in on-premise solutions. And from a maintenance and cost perspective, legacy technologies live on.

Case in point: VoIP or ISDN typically have ongoing three to five-year maintenance contracts, with the life-cycle of traditional phone systems being around seven to 10 years. In addition, organizations may have global calling plans or global staff, preventing them from functioning completely in the cloud.

Instead, the current trend is for companies to keep a portion of their UC on premises and other applications in the cloud. As a result, migrating to hybrid deployments with software-based PBXs and SIP trunking solutions is the best first step. This approach allows for a VOIP-enabled PBX, while maintaining the current benefits of an on-premise platform.

Current hybrid solutions include:

1.

On-premises Voice PBX

2.

On-premises UC

3.

Hybrid Cloud UC

4.

Private or Public Cloud UC


The hybrid approach takes a company one step further to a full UCaaS transition, but also creates a multifaceted technology network leading to billing complexity.

To get the full TCO picture for your relied upon technology tools including VPN and SD-WAN, on top of insight into UC investments, enterprises need a proactive strategy for full visibility. For answers, many enterprises delegate to technology expense management (TEM) services to get a better handle on their assets and services — a growing trend that has become a necessary tool, even for cloud-based services.

 According to Gartner, of the hundreds of TEM-related client inquiries in the 12 months leading up to August 2020, the main benefits sought are improved business process outcomes, better visibility and control of assets, ensuring asset performance, and naturally reduced cost for the communication services under management. In fact, SpyGlass’ robust technology expense audits find errors and inefficiencies in 90% of engagements.

 

2.) What are some of the challenges and costs of transitioning to a complete UCaaS service?

Reliance on legacy technology services will remain throughout the digitalization evolution, but according to Gartner’s recent Magic Quadrant report, 74% of new UC licenses will be cloud-based, an increase from 48% in 2019.

Adding one of Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant service leaders including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and RingCentral to SaaS tools such as Office 365 is part of the “new normal.” But additional capital for UC expenditures along with on-premise service maintenance spending can become complex.

Transitioning to a UCaaS service seems pretty simple: essentially a company buys licenses based on users and connects endpoints. Yet, a whole cloud solution isn’t without challenges, including:

Increased bandwidth needs:

The cloud requires rethinking your network architecture to ensure the right amount of cloud bandwidth. Without it, network traffic among endpoints, including phones, video conferencing systems, desktop and mobile devices can lack quality and functionality. Whether through SD-WAN, MPLS or Local Access services, bandwidth needs and potentially costs are increased with UCaaS — and can be easily overlooked on billings.

Devices:

While the need for certain devices such as desk and mobile phones is evident, necessary additions and upgrades including webcams and wireless headsets can be pricey and add to overall service charges — a usage inventory that needs additional monitoring.

Existing technology service costs:

As the transition to UCaaS can take over the time of your employees and IT staff, costs associated with existing technology services are often overlooked. It’s important to be aware of existing contracts, when they expire, if they automatically renew, and whether there could be termination penalties if canceled early. To be proactive, a thorough technology SnapShot Audit takes full inventory of current on-premise technologies to prevent unexpected added costs.

 

3.) Does UCaaS help reduce redundant technology service cost? 

Yes and no. UCaaS is known for providing flexibility and scalability for simplified collaboration of UC tools. But the shift to work from home has caused many existing business assets to sit idle.

And one of the standouts among idle costs is company-provided phone services. After reviewing 17,000 company-provided phones, Motus reported unused lines cost companies over $10,000 annually.

Idle and forgotten telecom waste is common throughout the wide variety of industries SpyGlass serves. From manufacturing, healthcare and professional services to higher education, property management and financial services, SpyGlass continues to see unused lines adding to the bottom line.

And like telecom services, a business can waste dollars on unused cloud solutions. Similar to what occurred in the mobile industry as smartphones became a critical asset often leading to unused devices and unsupervised plans, UCaaS can initiate accidental redundancy through:

  • No centralized management visibility of user licenses across the enterprise, or even within departments
  • Staff purchasing subscriptions using credit cards without the knowledge of automatic renewal charges
  • Poor user adoption of the preferred and least expensive solution due to lack of training

Just as reducing redundancy for both landline and mobile can be achieved through a usage inventory, unnecessary collaboration tool subscriptions should be on the technology audit radar.

 

And the most important question: When should you start reviewing and managing UCaaS services?

The best answer is as soon as you’re planning to adopt a partial or full switch to a UC platform. From video conferencing, cloud-based phone systems, email and screen sharing, a thorough technology expense audit can be the best precursor move prior to UCaaS for valuable cost clarity beyond the cloud.

SAVE NOW with SpyGlass

Topics: IT and Telecom, Telecommunications Management

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