Many unified communication as service (UCaaS) providers look similar at first glance, but there can be significant differences between providers that can impact your overall communication strategy. When evaluating different solutions it’s important to keep in mind more than just your current state, the best price, or the most visually appealing soft client.
There are a number of aspects to evaluate when determining which UCaaS provider is the best for your organization. One of our partners that I’ve been recommending quite a bit as of recent is Mitel and their MiCollab platform. I really see them embracing UCaaS as a complete communication strategy and they are focusing on the features that matter most. Below, I’ve outlined a few feature and functionality sets that I feel are important and that Mitel really succeeds at.
Many UCaaS providers have varying levels of product depth and sometimes multiple platforms within their UCaaS offering. It’s important to understand these differences because it’s not always clear cut.
Licensing is one of the first aspects that’s important to understand and isn’t standardized. The two most common variations are the providers that offer a standard VoIP seat and then charge for a la carte UC functionality and then those include VoIP and UC functionality within a single license. Always ask for a feature list or ask for an explanation of which features come standard and what services are additional.
UCaaS providers often have separate platforms that offer different functionality and structure also. Some deliver month to month in a consumption model, while others leverage annual commitments. Varying platforms may include different feature sets, availability, or address advanced needs like CRM.
Mitel is a great example of this due to depth and flexibility within their UC portfolio. While MiCloud Business is geared towards the SMB-Midmarket, MiCloud Enterprise offers a global footprint and delivered in more of an IaaS deployment than a SaaS solution. Each product fits a specific need, but offer different price points and solution sets depending on the situation.
Industry Longevity and Experience
The UCaaS landscape is quickly changing. There are new providers entering the market, some shutting their doors, and others that are a billing cycle away from being acquired. When choosing the right provider for your organization it’s important to understand the experience a particular provider has in delivering enterprise UCaaS solutions and where that provider’s roadmap is headed.
When we look at the industry there are pure play UCaaS providers and then manufacturers that have morphed into a UCaaS provider. While each has pros and cons it’s important to ensure that the provider has the experience and stability to service enterprise voice needs.
Mitel is a UCaaS provider that have been delivering enterprise voice solutions for over 40 years. While the look and feel is very similar to their legacy solution, the focus has shifted. While still developing and selling traditional equipment, Mitel is quickly becoming one of the strongest UCaaS players in the market because of their Mitel MiCollab platform.
While the large majority of UCaaS providers offer some sort of desktop application, only the truly successful have applications that address the entire unified communications suite; mobility, contact center, and collaboration.
It’s easier than ever for the enterprise to consume advanced applications via the cloud. While you may not think you need them today, choosing a provider that can quickly address these needs when you’re ready to begin your journey to the cloud is important. Whether you’re improving your internal collaboration with tools like MiTeam or addressing queueing with tolls like MiContact Center and MiContact Center Enterprise, it’s more important to truly understand and discuss your desired user experience. These advanced applications can and will transform the way you look at your business.
While the decision to move to the cloud may be simple, it does take some time and research to understand all the available options out there. I regularly recommend demonstrations early in the research process to help identify the business requirements. It often opens up new ideas for improvements for the business that has been made available with a UCaaS solution.