By Kyle Johnson
Market research shows that UCaaS sales are rising quickly as more and more organizations, including Fortune 500 companies such as Land O’ Lakes and Boeing, have moved their communications to the cloud. In a survey conducted by Small Business Trends in 2016, nearly 86 percent of companies surveyed either had already invested in a UC strategy in the cloud or were making plans to. Only 14 percent had no immediate plans to move to the cloud. That number meshes with a recent survey by Intel Security that showed respondents expect 80 percent of their IT budgets to be spent on cloud within 15 months
However, one catch point still exists among businesses, even some channel partners: that replacing an on-premises PBX system with a cloud-based UCaaS solution means giving up control over a critical business system. I’d argue the reality is that their desire to maintain control over a piece of hardware might lead to them losing control — of their future success.
For partners, it’s key to sit down customers and walk through cost, SLA and feature comparisons. Today’s UCaaS providers can offer a comprehensive package that should to reassure customers that they’ll still have the tools and services they need to be successful.
Keep in mind that buying and installing a state-of-the-art on-premises PBX system isn’t a one-and-done operation. Modern PBX systems are highly sophisticated, often requiring regular service, maintenance and upgrades (at additional costs). In fact, technology is changing so quickly that many companies now lease PBXes instead of buying them, such that they are essentially paying a monthly fee for their telephony solution — just like with hosted UCaaS, but often without the same features and functionality.
To reassure customers, be sure and pick a provider with a proven track record. Look at what functionality is provided in the PBX and how often it’s updated versus what functions are need to make the clients’ business communications productive. How well does that PBX maker stay ahead of technology shifts? UCaaS providers are continuously adding features and functionality to better serve ever-evolving customer needs. This helps keep a business – and its channel partner – relevant as the needs of employees and customers change and grow over time.
If the customer is just attached to a PBX, investigate fully hosted PBX technology in the cloud that can offer seamless integration with business systems.
For partners, ask about CRM and workflow; provisioning and ongoing, white-glove support, regardless of geographical distance, time zone or budget; and simplicity and ease of doing business.
By moving telecommunications from PBX platforms to the cloud, customers can help drive enterprise productivity and futureproof their businesses. This gives them greater control over their success.
Kyle Johnson is senior vice president of sales for Vonage.