When a long-time customer of mine asked for help sourcing a hosted voice solution (Unified Communications as a Service – a.k.a. UCaaS), I initially passed. I wanted to work on more sophisticated applications. And to be frank, I didn’t know much about the hosted voice world. I spoke to some of my peers in the master agent world and was shocked that every single one of them told me to reconsider. I’m easily persuaded, so I said yes, not knowing what I was getting myself into.
I started my own process to get up to speed on the market. I interviewed 12 different UCaaS vendors to gauge strengths and weaknesses of each. I was shocked about the amount of complexity in the space and I had only just begun to see the breath of services and service providers. It’s a very crowded market which is ripe for massive consolidation, more on that in a future post.
This opportunity was with a massive company requiring service in over 100 countries. The customer wasn’t looking for complex functionality or integrations, but the reach alone was more than enough to keep me busy interviewing vendors. After a lot of research, we were able to narrow the selection down to three, but sifting through providers’ POPs per county, in-region help desk, calling plans, and gateway vs. no gateway capability was no easy task.
Another customer of ours required a massive, specialized integration with a feature-rich CRM. The integration to a hosted solution from an on-premise solution could actually change the way this company does business. This excited me. With only three UCaaS providers having an integration with the CRM, this scenario was also a straightforward down selection process (once we looked under every rock and stone to find UCaaS providers that had a pre-built integration). We added in a SD-WAN solution as well as an additional DIA circuit. With all the integrations, voice was now a Priority 1 application for the customer and needed to perform like it.
What I’ve learned from working with our customers on these solutions is that UCaaS provides multiple benefits such as the large multi-national wanting to go to a single vendor globally or the smaller company needing specialized integrations to drive productivity. This is only the beginning for UCaaS. There are about 100 UCaaS providers out there and each one has their own unique attributes and benefits, as well as draw backs. Voice is now an application, and just like compute or storage, companies are looking to move this to cloud for added features, more flexibility, and API integrations. Synergy Research estimates that UCaaS market will grow by 22% and the on-premise PBX market will decrease by 9%.
At Mejeticks we take pride in our market research and vendor selection process to provide the best solution for customers. We don’t expect our customers to be UCaaS experts, but we are well on our way to filling that void and delivering solutions for them.