5 cloud-based unified communications (UC) best practices to optimize management
8-minute read time
More businesses are looking to cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to enable seamless employee collaboration and a superior customer experience. To help IT prepare for a smooth transition from premises-based unified communications to UC in the cloud, this article shares best practices and additional tips.
How we define cloud-based UC
In cloud-based unified communications like UCaaS, the infrastructure is typically owned, operated, maintained and delivered by a service provider. The provider delivers applications from a common platform and licenses the service for a monthly, recurring subscription charge. Additionally, the provider pays for the cost of licensing upgrades, ensuring their customers always have access to the latest version.
UCaaS supports six functions that provide significant communications benefits for the business:
Delivers voice communications as VoIP, with a full range of voice features, such as voicemail, voicemail transcription, auto attendant, call group options, desktop and softphone versions, and more.
Offers high-definition video, audio and web conferencing that can accommodate potentially thousands of employees from any phone, computer or mobile device.
Integrates various forms of electronic communications, including email, instant messaging, fax, voicemail and more, accessible from a single interface.
Presence (personal and team)
Indicates the current status of an individual or team (“active”, “in a meeting”, “out of office”) within an organization and their ability to communicate.
Supports the ability to respond to messages, participate in audio and video conferences, and share files and information from a mobile device.
Enables administrators to gather insights on communications activities such as call history, duration, usage and more.
6 ways to prepare for cloud-based UC migration
Once you’ve evaluated UCaaS providers and found one that will meet the criteria listed above, here are some steps to take internally as you prepare for your migration.
1. Take stock of your current IT infrastructure and connectivity
To ensure your infrastructure can handle the migration, evaluate your bandwidth capacity and future bandwidth requirements, along with QoS enablement, design and readiness.
Since UCaaS brings high-bandwidth services to your WAN and LAN, such as video conferencing, confirm your infrastructure can handle the transition. Evaluate your bandwidth capacity and future bandwidth requirements, along with QoS enablement, design and readiness. If you’re planning to grow your customer base, make sure you account for expanding your network capacity.
Additionally, verify whether or not your firewall and other security technologies will work with UCaaS. Look for potential performance blockers.
2. Find out what apps are used by key departments
To help you prioritize applications during deployment (see above), interview department heads to see which apps they rely on the most. Establish priorities for offices, departments and divisions that should migrate first. You can also potentially cut costs by standardizing on common apps across departments.
3. Clarify and document responsibilities
An organization’s cloud-based UC deployment affects multiple departments. Take the time to assemble senior IT, security and other key stakeholders with the service provider to establish a migration roadmap and timetable, define responsibilities and assign tasks.
4. Perform a LAN assessment
In addition to reviewing your WAN infrastructure, create an inventory of all your devices—handsets, tablets and smartphones—and the location of each one. These devices need to be replicated in your UCaaS solution, so it’s vital that you document them.
5. Perform a skills assessment
To determine the readiness of your in-house team, assess your IT team’s knowledge level with cloud-based UC. The level of familiarity will help you determine the type of admin and end-user training required to work with your new UCaaS solution.
6. Ask for a UCaaS demo or trial
To ensure employees are getting the best UC experience, UCaaS providers often let clients test features within departments or focus groups before purchasing them. Getting this right can help your organization migrate cost-effectively and avoid failed technology implementations.
Ready to implement unified communications in the cloud?
When you’re ready to move your unified communications to an as-a-service model, choose a service provider that offers all the fundamental UC components. Your provider should be able to offer not just UCaaS, but secure, reliable access with SD-WAN and SASE—as well as a full suite of professional services and an all-inclusive management portal as well.
Drive productivity and engagement like never before with UCaaS from Windstream Enterprise
Windstream Enterprise delivers UCaaS solutions that empower employees to connect, collaborate and serve customers to their fullest potential.
As our flagship UCaaS product, OfficeSuite UC® has been named in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide report for four consecutive years.
With bundles that include network access, security, SD-WAN, SASE and professional services, you get better pricing on OfficeSuite UC in a complete collaboration solution that works seamlessly.
Our awarding-winning WE Connect portal gives you visibility and control of your UCaaS solution in an easy-to-use single pane of glass.
And it’s all backed by our strategic solution guarantees that are unrivaled in the industry.
To discover what you can do with UCaaS from Windstream Enterprise, visit the unified communications solutions page.
- Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Networks and Telecom Survey, as cited in The State Of Unified Communications As A Service, 2022. Will McKeon-White with Glenn O’Donnell, Ian Jacobs, Max Ball, Chris Langlois, Diane Lynch. Forrester. August