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How to Choose the Right UCaaS Provider

Deciding to implement UCaaS (unified communications as a service) is a smart business move. It integrates all communication channels, offers access from anywhere, and ensures security. There are many options on the market, but not every UCaaS provider is the same.

In evaluating your choices, we’re providing some guidance so you pick the right platform for your company.

Define the Features You Want and Evaluate Based on This Criteria

If UCaaS is going to provide value and benefits for you, you’ll need to have features that enable this. Again, not every platform is identical, so there will be variances. The first thing you should do is define the key functionality you expect from a UCaaS solution. Then compare products based on this.

Some key features include:

  • IVR (interactive voice response) that’s easy to set up and change
  • Spam caller protection to deflect telemarketers and fraudsters
  • Apps for desktop and smartphones for access from anywhere
  • Virtual voicemail that automatically transcribes messages
  • Screen sharing via video chat
  • File backup and collaboration so documents remain in one spot and multiple users can edit simultaneously
  • Call analytics to measure the performance of sales and support teams
  • Business integrations, such as those for a CRM (customer relationship management) application

These are valuable features that support the standard channels you’ll receive with any UCaaS — cloud-based phones, team chat, video conferencing, and online faxing.

Look for a Solution That Delivers Great UX

The user experience (UX) of a system is critical. If it’s clunky or challenging to do simple things, your employees may abandon it. You want your investment to be worthwhile to your organization. Thus, you need a solution that’s user-friendly.

Be sure to demo any products with the provider and get a feel of how they will work in the real world. Gathering input from users from various departments during this round will offer more clarity on what your employees need and want.

Get a Clear Picture of Implementation and Training

Purchasing technology always comes with the need to develop a plan around implementation and onboarding. While many of the components of UCaaS are easy to adopt for users, you still need support. Additionally, if you’re migrating to the cloud, you should ask questions about how the UCaaS provider can help.

Unfortunately, many in the industry sell the product and leave you on your own. Be sure you really have a partner, not just a vendor.

Determine if the Platform Can Meet Your Security and Compliance Requirements

Every business has concerns about data security. Cyberattacks continue to be a threat to companies of all sizes and industries. If you happen to be in one with strict regulations, such as healthcare or finance, you have greater reasons for worry.

Ask a lot of questions of prospective UCaaS providers regarding:

  • Use of encryption
  • Firewall parameters
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Infrastructure security
  • Compliance certifications for HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and others if applicable

Opt for a UCaaS Solution That’s Adaptable and Easy to Manage

UCaaS is an agile platform simply because it’s cloud-based. But not all are easily adaptable to fit a growing business’s needs. Some may be cumbersome to add or remove users, change permissions, or adjust configurations.

You certainly don’t want to have to call support every time you need to make a change. Instead, you want a self-managed solution for all the regular tasks. By using a platform like this, you’ll have more control and save time and resources.

Evaluate Reliability to Avoid Downtime

The reliability of your UCaaS system is everything. All the features and flexibility mean little if it doesn’t work when you need it. In assessing the reliability factor of solutions, you should ask about uptime. While no one can offer you 100 percent uptime, you can find systems with a 99.999% uptime SLA (service level agreement). That equates to 26 seconds of downtime a month.

Reaching this level comes from a provider building its cloud with the core pillars of reliability, performance, and data protection. Such a solution will focus on root cause remediation to identify and fix issues properly and promptly.

Check Reputation and Reviews

You’ll be evaluating the product and the provider during your search, so don’t forget to look at reviews. If you want to know what it’s like to be a customer, listen to those who already are. If current users consistently remark on the satisfaction around the platform’s features, security, reliability, and support, you can feel confident in your decision. Most companies will include testimonials and customer stories on their sites. Review sites and industry publications also offer these insights.

You can ask for references as you make your decision. If a company has little to no reviews and can’t provide any references, that’s probably a red flag.

Comparing UCaaS Providers: Use These Criteria to Find the Best Match

As you go through deploying your first UCaaS or replacing a current provider, keep all these tips and considerations top of mind. Create a matrix based on these and score the contenders. You’ll see one emerge from all the rest.

When making a choice, think about what you need now and what will help in the future. Start your evaluation today by learning about Intermedia Unite, our fully-integrated business communications platform.

About Darcy Mekis