As the first quarter winds down, many technology leaders are assessing which processes within their business can be optimized or improved. Key decision makers may consider moving their organization over from a legacy communications technology to a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution. With the UCaaS industry gaining momentum and a larger percentage of enterprise organizations considering UCaaS solutions, more transformative changes will continue to emerge. Regardless, IT leaders should be taking several considerations into account when moving to the cloud that are detailed later in this post.
An Industry with Momentum
On the subject of industry changes, this past fall RingCentral and Avaya signed a partnership agreement that made headlines in the UCaaS and CCaaS space. While the partnership seems strategic, there are reasons to be skeptical of its long-term impact on UCaaS and CCaaS customers.
Avaya, a legacy PBX provider, joined forces with RingCentral to make them the exclusive provider of UCaaS to the Avaya customer base. They will be introducing “Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral”, and develop programs, technologies, and automation to facilitate a smooth transition of Avaya’s unified communications customer base to the cloud.
Avaya claims they will be offering a differentiated UCaaS offering to the market based on the RingCentral platform. For now, IT leaders should be thinking about the implications of this partnership on their businesses.
Making the Move to UCaaS
When purchasing any new UCaaS solution, you will want to ensure that you are choosing a partner that can meet the evolving demands of your organization for the long haul. Based on analysis by industry experts, there are several important factors you need to consider about this partnership—but could also create challenges with support, security, and the product roadmap.
If you’re an IT leader thinking about or in the process of moving your communications to the cloud, you should keep these three areas below in mind.
At first glance the partnership seems straightforward, but ownership of support issues may become a major challenge across the different service providers. If there is an issue with one of the products or services, which company is responsible for solving them? When it comes to support, there will be multiple vendors involved in providing services to customers: Avaya, RingCentral, and Zoom. This increases the potential for miscommunications and delays in problem resolution (such as mean time to repair, or MTTR). Ultimately, you should both inquire about and determine which vendor will take ownership for specific issues—otherwise, ownership will become diluted as issues arise over the course of your contract.
Security is another concern when dealing with the multiple service providers delivering a mission-critical technology. Working with multiple vendors increases the potential for security breaches given multiple points of integration. With increased connectivity and complexity introduced, there is also increased vulnerability. In fact, approximately 59% of companies say they've experienced a data breach caused by a vendor in the past year.
Finally, customers’ impact on product roadmap could be diminished by this partnership. With any new features and capabilities you would like to see, you will have to have the request approved by Avaya Cloud Office (ACO). Then, ACO will need to negotiate with RingCentral to get the request onto their roadmap. Finally, RingCentral will need to negotiate with Zoom or InContact. Essentially, if influencing the future of the product is important to you, it is not likely it will happen within the scope of this partnership.
Do Your Due Diligence
With the imminent launch of Avaya Cloud Office upon us, IT leaders and technology decision makers should evaluate all unified communications offerings within the industry landscape. Additionally, you’ll want to look critically at how successfully each vendor provides a unified client, global reach for sales & support, customer success management, and an application development plan & store. These areas are key indicators of a best-in-class UCaaS offering.
You can learn more about provider options by reading the The Forrester Wave: Unified-Communications-As-A-Service (UCaaS) Providers, Q3 2019.