Category: Unified Communications

The Top 5 Things You Must Know as a Partner for Unified Communications Rollout

For partners, a unified communications rollout can be a challenge. The actions you take to help establish a rollout can be the start of business relationships that last long after the individual partner has retired. Help build those relationships with the top five points to know to make a unified communications rollout work.

Unified Communications Rollouts: What You Need to Know

Make sure everybody is involved. Before you’re even in a position to start a rollout, get ready in advance by bringing in perspective from all the major stakeholders. You may not use all of that perspective, but by getting it, you increase the chances of spotting problems before they crop up, right in the earliest stages.

Be ready with an answer. It’s a safe bet that your customer will ask a lot of questions in the earliest stages, and that’s just what you want to happen. All these questions help suggest issues to watch for, and again, the kinds of things you can head off at the pass later, and establish your reputation for being knowledgeable in unified communications.

Know what’s available. A unified communications rollout can be a big process; it’s easy to overlook some key points. Consider adding lesser-known technologies like redundant connections to fuel stability. This makes the rollout go more smoothly and work better down the line.

Prepare for the worst. Light Network’s VP of engineering, Ryan Harrelson, makes one point crystal clear: “Overall deployments of midmarket customers never go as easy as planned.” Keep this in mind, watch out for things like number porting and the development of design documentation, and be flexible so you can address issues that pop up.

Engagement, always. Get regular feedback about the process, and then be available to make the desired changes. Don’t just take that feedback from one or two sources, either; try to get a complete cross-section or even poll the entire user base. These points help build engagement and reinforce your positive image.

What to Do When You’re Ready for a Unified Communications Rollout

Don’t leave your next rollout to chance. Prepare by considering what we’ve said here. Then, get in touch with us at MicroCorp. We can help you deploy unified communications and UCaaS to ensure your rollout is as smooth as possible.

Facing issues of UC costs.

Tackling One of The Great Objections: UC Costs

Facing issues of UC costs.It’s easily one of the biggest objections when it comes to unified communications (UC): costs. As UC costs can be one of the main reasons that potential buyers don’t throw their hats in the ring, partners need tools to convince them it’s worth it. Beating the cost objection is simple but not always easy – all that needs to be done is to demonstrate that the value of UC is greater than the value of the cash that would be required to bring it in. So how do you do that? The best way is to look at the trends that are emerging regarding cloud and how businesses spend so you know what your customers are considering.

Here are some trends that will affect how businesses spend money on the cloud and specifically consider UC costs.

Budgets are on the rise…mostly. The good news is some hefty gains are afoot in total IT budget spend. The gains aren’t universal, but they’re there; 46.2% of companies are planning increases with an average of 18%, while only 6% of firms are planning cuts. (Those cuts, however, will be deep; the average cut is 22%.) Additionally, the firms likely to bolster budgets are larger firms, where firms under 250 employees remain skittish about hikes.

Cloud is growing. Right now, architectures are broken down into three classes: on-premise, hybrid, and cloud. Those with on-premise solutions hold 33% of the market, cloud at 29%, while 38% hold hybrid. Those with hybrid architectures are either planning to go full cloud over several years or stay hybrid permanently. Cloud, therefore, is on the rise as the other two classes hold ground or decline.

Cost is no longer the priority. While most think of cost savings first in a cloud transition, only 17.9% of companies in recent studies have actually seen such savings. Oddly, 35.6% actually saw costs rise in the wake of a cloud transition. Costs in general are a declining priority, down from 49% in 2017 to 33.1% in 2018. The big new priority is agility, which large businesses commonly need. (And those large businesses are the ones boosting their IT budgets as noted previously.)

When You Need Some Help Proving Value of UC Costs

Proving value isn’t always easy, even when you know how to tailor your approach. Sometimes, you’ll need something extra. For that, look to us at MicroCorp. As a master agent, we offer expertise in unified communications among a host of other technologies, and we can help you prepare yourself with the flawless arguments for UC to make that sale.

Want to sell UCaaS? Here are four must-have tips for partners.

Infographic: Want to Sell UCaaS? Here Are 4 Must-have Tips for Partners

As the adoption of unified communications as a service (UCaaS) continues to grow at an astonishing rate, there’s never been a better time for your customers to begin reaping the benefits of this next-level offering. From zero upfront fees and a reduced total-cost-of-ownership to increased flexibility and unlimited scalability, UCaaS offers an abundance of benefits — without costing an arm and a leg. And although it is obvious to many that outsourcing corporate communications is the way of the future, many businesses are still reluctant to make the switch. So to help you convince the companies you work with that now’s the time to adopt a UCaaS solution, here’s some invaluable advice to help you close more sales.
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Talking Unified Communications Trends with Star2Star

Despite the proliferation of unified communications (UC) technologies — and the partners selling them — we continue to see some partners slow to adopt UC. Why? And what are some trends in UC that partners should watch out for as technologies like SD-WAN advance? We asked these questions, and more, of Colin Johnston, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Star2Star Communications. See our exchange below to get the scoop on what Johnston has been noticing in the channel, and how Star2Star reacts.

Keenan: What are some of the more prominent trends you are noticing with unified communications lately?

Johnston: The largest and most recent impact on the unified communications space would have to be SD-WAN, which has taken the industry by storm. As an innovative solution provider, Star2Star has already been implementing voice-optimized traffic shaping since its inception through our patented StarBox® Cloud Connection Manager (CCM), so it’s interesting to see how SD-WAN has become such a hot topic. The ability to now incorporate a solution that handles all data traffic is a great step forward for UC.

Keenan: How would you address partners that have not yet adopted UC?

Johnston: Partners that are currently managing their customer networks and not actively selling a UC solution are leaving money on the table. In almost every case, partners that sell UC can offer a superior service to their customers at very competitive price points that allow for significant revenue margins.

As our world moves toward the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, the choice that some channel entities will have to make becomes clearer. Sell UC; it has and will continue to become the way we communicate and stay connected in the future.

Keenan: How is unified communications impacting other technological developments in the channel?

Johnston: Communication Enablement Platforms (CEP) have become a huge springboard for growth in tech. They encompass everything from the Internet of Things (IoT) integrations to Point of Sale (POS) software. It seems like every technology solution is somehow attempting to incorporate unified communications into their various platforms.

UC has become the glue that connects modern business platforms together. It allows for better customer service, more informed decisions, and better data and metrics to plan and predict company decisions. And there’s much more than just these benefits; the true potential of Communication Enablement Platforms has yet to be seen.

Keenan: Are there any specific trends in security you’re noticing?

Johnston: There has been a focus on security from the very beginning with UC. Take our StarBox® CCM: it acts as a firewall and monitors data traffic as it goes through the system. Our new hosted solution, StarSystemTM Hosted, also comes with built-in security with TLS encryption for call data. In the general market, the recent developments with utilizing blockchain for voice data also come to mind when thinking of specific security trends.