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'Know Thyself' Key to Getting a Good UCaaS Deal

Any enterprise communications executive planning for a new or upgraded UC system should take UC-as-a-service options into consideration, as UC consultant Marty Parker, principal of UniComm Consulting, wrote in his recent No Jitter post, "UCaaS Costs: Your Choices Matter Most!" Will the final decision always be in the cloud's favor? No, of course not. But unless there's an organizational prohibition against the use of cloud services, then UCaaS needs to be part of the conversation.

In a follow-up No Jitter On Air podcast, Parker shared two examples of clients he's guided through the evaluation process. In one instance, a university client with a tight budget and an attractive maintenance agreement on its installed IP PBX, which is under support and "will be for years to come," determined it would see no cost efficiencies by moving to a new system, whether on premises or in the cloud. Plain and simple, "sometimes what you have is going to do the job really well," Parker said of this client's experience.

In a second example, moving trunking into the cloud served the needs of a large company with hundreds of locations around the country. The company had been "paying dearly for local telephony," with T1 connections to its local offices, and couldn't move to UCaaS fast enough, Parker said.

The university is at one extreme of the decision spectrum and the large company at the other, and many variations sit in between the two, Parker said. But you should know that wherever your organization might fall, "knowing thyself" is critical if you're to get a clean cost comparison, he added.

That means collecting every bit of information on current costs, including those related to maintenance, staffing, network support, connectivity, and the helpdesk, for example, Parker said. Once you have all your costs on the table, you can figure out your target spend. Do you want to maintain that figure, or say, shave 20% off of it?

Having a detailed cost analysis will give you the opportunity to talk to UCaaS vendors in a comprehensive way, he added. "You can ask them all sorts of questions, ... and talk to them about what they can do for each of these costs."

And all the cost data really works well for vendors, too, Parker said. "If you can say, 'This is what I need, this is how much I use today, this is how many trunk minutes I'm using, this is how many calls we have, here's my data. This is what I need you to do -- I need all these features, I want this kind of support, this kind of integration, and I want this kind of identity management, this kind of security,' then you can give them a target," he said. "The more certainty they have, the lower they're willing to make the price."

If you're precise on your requirements and your current spending, a UCaaS provider can be more accommodating and precise in its response," added Parker, noting that he's built a model that shows the total five-year cost and monthly cost per user for UCaaS, continuing with the current on-premises systems, and adding a new IP PBX on prem. He'll be sharing that model, for download, next month in a session on migration cost factors he'll be presenting at Enterprise Connect 2018.

The upshot: "Be flexible and be opportunistic, but be diligent," he said.

For more of Parker's advice, click on the podcast player below. You'll get tips on:

  • Taking advantage of integrating communications with business applications
  • Which factors are most important to consider when evaluating the UCaaS decision/li>
  • How to assess staff requirements and understand career development opportunities
  • Avoiding common pitfalls

And, don't miss your opportunity to see Parker live and get his cost model in-hand. As he mentioned, he'll be presenting the Enterprise Connect session, "How Cost Factors Affect Your Cloud Migration," taking place Tuesday, March 13, at 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Learn more about Cloud Communications at Enterprise Connect 2018, March 12 to 15, in Orlando, Fla. Register now using the code NOJITTER to save an additional $200 off the Early Bird Pricing or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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