Category: Unified Communications

A look at issues connected with unified communications migrations.

Unified Communication Migrations Prove Value and Struggle with Increased Data

A look at issues connected with unified communications migrations.Unified communications improve mobile operations, add to emergency planning, reduce costs, or just improve communications within offices. These are just some of the benefits that have compelled widespread use. Yet the rise of big data along with unified communications has posed some challenges, and made unified communications migrations both difficult and that much more valuable. Read on to learn what challenges your customers may face with a migration.

What Impact is Big Data Having on Unified Communications Migrations?

Big data is delivering changes of its own and forcing those considering unified communications migration to look more closely at how it’s accomplished.

More data, more problems. Big data requires data to operate. It’s right there in the name. Unified communications systems can be positively staggering sources of data, but it needs to be collected, stored, and accessible by analytics systems in order to be put to use. This means that when the unified communications system is deployed, it also needs to have not only facilities to gather the data generated—call times, call lengths, content of the call and so on—but also a means to gather that data and move it to the analytics systems.

A cloud connection. Analytics functions have made great strides in cloud connectivity, and thankfully, so have unified communications systems. Since both systems have localized equivalents, though, it may mean that special accommodations need to be reached, especially for firms making the decision to do either analytics or unified communications in-house. An in-house analytics system, for example, may not be able to readily connect to a cloud-based unified communications system, and vice versa, unless proper advance planning has been done.

One improves the other. While it’s immediately clear how unified communications improve big data—it’s one big source of data fodder for analysis—it may be less clear that analytics improve unified communications. Take the analysis tools big data offers and discover all sorts of useful things. For instance, analytics can tell when a unified communications system is experiencing unusual lag or issues in voice quality. It can also tell why and provide insight on how to fix problems.

How to Help Your Customers Best Incorporate Big Data in Unified Communications Migrations

There’s a lot of value in putting big data to work, but it requires specific advances right at the unified communications migration level. Big data needs to be planned for and incorporated, start to finish. To make sure you’ve got everything you need to do the job right, start by getting in touch with us at MicroCorp. Our array of unified communications solutions helps ensure your unified communications migrations achieve all the outcomes you could want, including big data accommodation. So reach out to us and let your unified communications systems take full advantage of big data’s power.

What to know about unified communications and mid-size businesses.

Unified Communications and Mid-Size Businesses: What You Need to Know

What to know about unified communications and mid-size businesses.As a channel partner, you want your mid-size business customers to onboard unified communications to improve growth and – of course – your bottom line. But mid-size companies are unique beasts. Often too big for the simpler packages, yet too small to have the pockets of the enterprise, mid-sizers will need a partner with expertise to guide them through a transition to unified communications. Here are some crucial points to digest for these types of accounts.

What Should I Know About Unified Communications and Mid-Size Businesses?

Everyone’s doing it. A recent Gartner study suggests that mid-size businesses will be increasingly investing in unified communications technology. Moreover, they expect to increase their investment in several different breeds of such technology, including collaboration tools, mobility-related systems, solutions focused on meetings, and more. By failing to invest now, the risk becomes real that other businesses will leapfrog those who don’t.

A focus on cloud. In general, cloud-based tools will continue to get particular attention from the mid-size business. Many mid-sizers are turning to cloud for their IT investments, allowing the partner who specializes in these services to bring out the latest and greatest. This encompasses cloud communications and cloud computing, presenting an opportunity for partners to sell both including UC.

A greater focus on mobility. One point that’s really resonating for the mid-size business is mobility, and unified communications buys are set to focus on that. Whether it’s having some emergency backup for disaster planning and business continuity, or going to a full remote working program, mid-size businesses are looking at unified communications to make connecting easier via remote. Support for video and audio, as well as text, will prove especially prized.

Repurposing resources. Many mid-size businesses are discovering that taking advantage of unified communications doesn’t require a large influx of resources. There’s no need to add on to staff or even retrain staff beyond a few basic points. As scaling is one of the chief concerns for the mid-sizer, this point will be one to drive home with customers looking at moving to the cloud. As the partner, you’ll be able to handle maintenance and similar heavy lifting – a particularly attractive element for a mid-size business.

How to Better Connect Unified Communications and Mid-Size Businesses

If you’re ready to combine unified communications and mid-size businesses, then start the process out by getting in touch with us at MicroCorp. We’re a leading master agent in unified communications, and we provide the best in support for UC as well. Your mid-size business will will be well-provisioned. So don’t go it alone; reach out to us for all the help you could ask for.

A look at the Internet of Things' ability to sell unified communications.

3 Ways the Internet of Things Can Help You Sell Unified Communications

A look at the Internet of Things' ability to sell unified communications.Selling anything is simple, though it’s almost never easy. All anyone has to do to make a sale is convince the buyer that the value of the item being sold is greater than the value of the cash required to make the sale happen. For those who sell unified communications systems, that can prove a challenge. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, a whole new opportunity has opened up to help drive those unified communications sales.

How to Use IoT to Sell Unified Communications

IoT represents a terrific opportunity to better sell unified communications thanks to its new benefits. Astute sales reps can take advantage of these to overcome objections and fuel sales.

A powerhouse in fleet. Anyone with a fleet—vans, trucks, or even drones if the FAA can get off the dime—can appreciate the value of IoT. It allows for easy tracking, updates on shipment status, reports on maintenance issues, and more. Incorporating unified communications simplifies the connectivity process and allows the information that IoT systems gather to be more readily sent back for use.

Improvements in monitoring. The same principles that make IoT and unified communications a power in fleet management can be readily put to work in other segments. Use the combined force of both technologies on the factory floor to track finished goods inventory or raw materials status. Use it in the warehouse to track locations of goods and alert on reduced quantities. Then use all that data to better improve workflow, address bottlenecks, and ultimately improve productivity.

Impress on your customer that more devices do not create a headache – they create an opportunity to really see unified communications shine given its collaborative functionalities.

Build better collaboration. It’s one thing to have information, but it’s another altogether to use it effectively. While unified communications systems tend to improve collaboration alone by offering more ways to keep employees talking to each other, IoT generates data that makes that communication more effective. It also helps keep data where it’s needed, meaning there’s less time wasted in trying to find the information about shipping schedules, raw materials figures, or whatever needs to be discussed.

Want to Improve Your Ability to Sell Unified Communications?

Get the right kind of support to properly sell unified communications – and integrate IoT as a selling point. Start by reaching out to us at MicroCorp. Our range of expertise and vetted industry providers will provide the infrastructure support to bolster your sales. And our partner training programs will keep you up to date on the very latest developments, including those in IoT. Combining the two can make for spectacular results, so just drop us a line to get started.

UCaaS solutions increase exposure for security breaches.

Understanding the Connections Between UCaaS and Cyber Security

UCaaS solutions increase exposure for security breaches.When businesses move away from centralized hardware private branch exchanges (PBXs) and migrate to unified communications as a service (UCaaS), they’re probably not thinking much about the intersection of UCaaS and cyber security. However, going from a private network in PBX to a UCaaS solution with PBX functionality living in the cloud means that multiple internet connections will open up across business offices. And when this occurs, there will be dozens of exposure points for security breaches.

With UCaaS, not only do businesses become more exposed in that way, but they also have more internet connections to lock down. And, businesses implementing bring your own device (BYOD) programs that allow employees to use their own devices could bring additional security breaches. So how does a CIO handle mobility, and what is the best strategy for a partner to address the issue of UCaaS and cyber security?

The Importance of UCaaS and Cyber Security Knowledge

In order to counterattack UCaaS and cyber security concerns, it’s essential for partners to be educated on security to tie all the pieces together. And security doesn’t necessarily mean just the firewall. Migrating to the cloud with a solution such as UCaaS means that a fair share of security concerns, like those posed with BYOD programs, will be present.

With more and more businesses moving to the cloud, statistics have revealed that by 2020, 75 million VoIP and UC subscribers will be in the cloud – increasing vulnerability to attack due to the larger space. And in 2016, cyber security attacks using VoIP grew and were responsible for more than 51% of the issues analyzed that year.

As businesses continue moving workloads from servers and hardware at data centers headquarters to the cloud, partner opportunities – whether that be security or UC – will keep coming from those migrations.

Therefore, it’s important to understand that working in areas such as UC, security, networking, etc. means that you can’t talk about one solution without considering the others. They’re all so tightly ingrained with one another that they’re impossible to split apart, and partners should consider such a bundled concept.

As a partner, being well-rounded in all these areas, recognizing opportunities when speaking with contacts, and working with experts in these disciplines will be critical for your success moving forward. They will allow you to sell security on top of UCaaS solutions.

Reach out to MicroCorp for the Ultimate Training

If you’d like to gain more knowledge about how technologies – and the opportunity to sell them – are inherently tied like UCaaS and security, contact us today. Our Ultimate Partner Training will ensure that you’re educated on the connections among these solutions so that you’re better able to sell the technologies that address all of your customer’s concerns.

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.