Jive is excited to share this guest blogpost, written by Frost and Sullivan, about key competitive differentiators between UCaaS providers. Frost & Sullivan is a leading group of financial analysts in the United States. They work to uncover market trends, highlight technological advancements, and award strong companies through their Best Practices Award.
Today, businesses of all types and sizes are actively moving their software workloads to the cloud. Many business applications, including e-mail, office productivity, file sharing/storage, customer relationship management (CRM), payroll, IT/ticket management solutions, and others have already moved to the cloud, and in the process disrupted traditional software licensing models in favor of subscription-based cloud service consumption models.
Real-time communications solutions were among the last business workloads to be effectively supported by cloud computing architectures, and are now quickly joining the ranks of successful cloud services. Today, the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market is experiencing high adoption rates. Per Frost & Sullivan research, the global hosted IP telephony and UCaaS installed user base grew by 27% in 2016 and will experience strong double-digital growth rates going forward.
As businesses weigh the options to migrate their communications workloads to the cloud there are many criteria to evaluate, including: price, cloud architecture, scalability, feature functionality, security, reliability, integration capabilities, provider reputation, and more. In addition to these attributes, the ability to offer a one-stop shop for business communications that includes telephony, conferencing, mobility, and contact center services are key factors. This last attribute—contact center services—has become a position on which UCaaS providers attempt to differentiate in an increasingly competitive marketplace, which ultimately benefits customer organizations.
One-Stop Shop Portfolios
Like telephony, most businesses require some level of contact center or customer care functionality. Contact center solutions are the life blood of many businesses, while others have less formal processes that are currently supported by telephony hunt groups or basic automatic call distribution (ACD) features and workflows that would benefit from more robust contact center capabilities.
Because virtually all businesses need both communications and some level of contact center functionality, it makes sense to take advantage of the benefits offered by one-stop shop cloud communications service providers. This makes contact center services an increasingly important factor in UCaaS purchase decisions. But while many providers can check all the boxes today, there are significant differences in the breadth and depth of their respective applications sets.
Contact Center Considerations in UCaaS Purchases
Does the provider offer multiple contact center options?
As discussed above, organizations of all stripes inherently need contact center functionality, with needs differing due to business model, size, industry and other factors. Therefore, business decision makers must be careful not to over or under-buy in their selections. Just as providers offer tiered communications functionality (from entry-level to advanced; a la carte and bundled) decision makers should seek providers such as Jive Communications that likewise offer tiered contact center functionality spanning basic voice to multi-channel solutions.
Is basic contact center enough?
Peeling back the onion to understand all the included functionality can save from add-on charges later. Whether basic or advanced, decision makers should look for contact center solutions that include analytics and reporting capabilities that provide the necessary depth of insight into agent and business performance as well as overall trends. Analytics-driven decision making enables businesses to quickly make informed adjustments to drive efficiencies and customer satisfaction.
Are the one-stop advantages real?
Most providers evangelize the potential cost and support the advantages of selecting a single provider for UCaaS and contact center. However, the benefits should not stop there. Prospective buyers should consider whether management utilities across the two solutions are truly unified, as this capability streamlines administrator training and can save significant time on overall day-to-day management tasks.
Will you be nickel and dimed?
It’s common for stand-alone contact center providers to charge for basic capabilities as well as to incrementally charge additional fees for added or enhanced contact center functionality. However, Jive Communications and a select few other leading one-stop communications providers do not; they are more focused on delivering the value that keeps their customers competitive. Buyers should ensure their selected provider is in the latter camp as there will always be requirements to enhance technology, but paying much more down the road than was initially agreed is a downward slope.
Is customization possible?
Access to the same functionality as everyone else does not gain a business any ground—it only maintains the status quo. The most value is derived from tailoring solutions to the specific needs of each business. Prospective buyers should ensure their chosen solution can integrate efficiently with existing popular business software (i.e., CRM) as well as a greater range of industry and line-of-business solutions that are integral to established workflows.
The businesses that continue to piece-meal solutions together, put up with “good enough” solutions or have not thoroughly evaluated their requirements are doing themselves an injustice. Businesses that recognize the need for more robust capabilities should consider not only the functionality that they truly require, but why it’s important to include contact center as part of their overall unified communications solution selection. An ideal provider offers more value by making multiple contact center options available for the best fit, as well as added advantages in support, pricing and tight integration with the rest of the enterprise communications stack. In these regards, prospective UCaaS buyers should ensure Jive Communications is on their short list for evaluation.
This article is by Frost & Sullivan.