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The move to cloud communications seems to be a topic on everyone's lips today. While the cloud environment is certainly an exciting prospect for growing businesses, some companies feel daunted about the prospect of transporting their Comms into a brand-new environment.
If the idea of cloud communications has left you a little overwhelmed, you might find that looking at the different characteristics you should examine in your cloud provider makes selecting the perfect UCaaS solution an easier task.
As Google Apps Administrators, we know a thing or two about selecting partners in the Cloud. Here, we'll give you a comprehensive breakdown of how to choose the communications provider that's right for you, so you can move your communications into the cloud with confidence.
Think About Using a Single UCaaS Provider
Step 1 to Selecting a Cloud Communications Provider
The first step in choosing a cloud communications provider, is finding the right path for your business. Some companies will find that a cloud-first solution is best for their needs, specifically if they're hoping to modernise their full communications strategy. On the other hand, if you consider the cloud to be a supplemental solution to your existing legacy deployment, then you may prefer a hybrid implementation.
Regardless of your industry or niche, it's probably safe to say that your business has been affected by the evolution of the modern workforce. As companies become more dispersed with remote, and even global workers, it's important to ensure that your team can collaborate and communicate however, whenever, and wherever they need to. No matter which cloud adoption path you take, you'll usually find that consolidating with a single provider makes your business run more smoothly.
A consolidated collection of Communications tools and services offers a seamless work environment for employees, promoting benefits such as:
- Easier scalability: Additional cloud deployments can be issued quickly, along with the onboarding of users across remote and corporate offices.
- Improved user experience: Your team will enjoy a more consistent experience, wherever they are, and however they choose to interact.
- Seamless communication: All your communication solutions are interconnected in a single platform, providing a range of choices for HD, voice and video, team chat, messaging, and collaboration through a simple interface.
- Streamlined billing: Rather than having to pay for services from multiple vendors, you can make managing your budget more predictable.
- Cost savings: A single vendor on the cloud, replacing various hardware vendors can reduce expenditures in the form of IT time, PBX hardware, and expensive travel.
Choose a UCaaS Provider with Integration Options
Step 2 to Selecting a Cloud Communications Provider
Now you know where you want to go with your cloud deployment, you need to know how your communications solution can integrate with your business. Today's organisations need to be agile and responsive to remain competitive in today's saturated market. That's why it's key to ask your UCaaS provider about their ability to integrate new solutions using APIs.
From an internal perspective, find out whether the UCaas provider:
- Offers disparate tools, or supports interoperability among a range of collaboration and communication solutions. For instance, can a text-based chat be easily escalated into a video or voice call?
- Allows for easy service management. Can cloud tools be managed and accessed through the same simple dashboard?
When it comes to external integration with cloud-hosted tools, you should look for a communications provider that offers out-of-the-box integrations alongside popular cloud solutions like office productivity services, CRM, workforce productivity options, and document management. For instance, if your employees already use G Suite, it's best to have a cloud provider that allows for the seamless use of that service.
If you're concerned about the concept of agility, you'll also need to ensure that your provider can offer open development platforms with APIs that are standard for your current industry. The more integration friendly your supplier can be, the better.
Decide on Public or Private Cloud for UCaaS
Step 3 to Selecting a Cloud Communications Provider
When you're making the move to the cloud, it's important to know exactly what kind of infrastructure you're hoping for. In other words, are you looking for "private", or "public" cloud communications?
If you have incredibly high privacy requirements, or your security needs are top-of-the-range, then you might need to consider a private cloud communication solution. This will allow you to build and develop your specific cloud infrastructure from within your data centres. Private cloud communications are exclusive to you, meaning you don't share with anyone else.
Alternatively, if you're using services hosted through cloud infrastructure that isn't owned by your provider, then you'll be dealing with the "public" cloud.
Think about What Kind of Connectivity You Need
STEP 4 TO SELECTING A CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDER
If you decide to move down the "public" cloud route, then you'll need to make several decisions about connectivity, presence, pricing and support. The majority of companies will access cloud communications through public internet access, and those "over the top" solutions are more than sufficient for these businesses. However, if you know that you need a higher-than-usual level of connectivity and service quality, then you're going to need a direct connection to the cloud.
Consider asking your existing provider whether they'd be willing to offer you direct connectivity solutions. If they can provide this level of service, you'll need to find out as much as you can about where your interconnections will be available, and what configurations you'll have to expect.
Know your UCaaS Provider's Global Presence
Step 5 to Selecting a Cloud Communications Provider
So far, the steps that we've covered in choosing your cloud communications provider have been all about finding the service best suited to your needs. This particular step focuses on making sure you're working with a company that can meet your global needs. Well-established providers in the cloud communications space generally have distributed geo-redundant networks that provide complete functionality in any region.
If you need global integration services, then you'll have to ask your provider whether its networks are scalable where you need them most, whether that's in North America, Europe, or Asia-Pacific. It's also worth asking whether your provider can connect directly with the service providers in those areas.
The more you learn about your provider's global presence, the greater your chance of working with a company that can offer consistently reliable quality of service wherever you need it most. With peer relationships in the right regions, cloud providers can offer enterprise-class communications in any region.
Choose a UCaaS Provider that Meets your Budget.
STEP 6 TO SELECTING A CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDER
Costs are an important factor in any decision that a business makes. While moving your communications into the cloud can be a great way to reduce your costs for team communications, the pricing models that different providers offer can be difficult to understand. Importantly, if you want to find a provider that suits your budget, you'll need to look for someone who can offer simplicity and transparency in their licensing offers.
Ask whether there are any minimum monthly requirements, or per-user pricing issues to think about. It's also worth diving deeper into any potential hidden fees, such as prices for setup, support, and activation, and prices for international or toll-free calls.
Consider your Need for Support and Services
Step 7 to Selecting a Cloud Communications Provider
If, after plenty of research, you're still feeling daunted by the prospect of moving to the cloud, then it might help to work alongside someone who can offer support and guidance during the process. Some providers offer things like on-going customer care, that can put your mind at rest during the transfer process. Look at how your provider will be willing to support your implementation goals on a global basis, and whether they'll offer on-going support, consulting, and project management solutions as your business continues to grow and adapt.
It might also be helpful to consider the professional services that you may need access to as you move into the cloud. This is particularly important for companies that are interested in CPaaS development.
Final Thoughts on UCaaS in the Google Cloud.
In today's evolving business environment, it's easy to see that modern businesses can benefit from the flexible and mobile solutions cloud communications providers can offer. Making sure that you know how to choose the right provider for your needs will ensure that you're ready to take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer.
Coolhead Tech supports a wide range of options for G Suite Business and enterprise customers. While our Google Apps Administrator consider Ringcentral for Google to be the best of breed UCaaS integration for G Suite and Google Cloud we also support vendors such as Shoretel, Dialpad, 8x8, Cisco and more. Contact Coolhead today for consultancy on cloud communications and Google Cloud.