UC (unified communications) is an IT solution with a lot of earning potential for ITSPs. Infonetics Research, for example, forecasts the worldwide cloud PBX and UC services market will reach $12 billion in 2018 with 62.6 million seats in service. UC is a key enabler of collaboration – especially among remote workers, who comprise up to 45% of today’s workforce, according to the latest stats from SHRM. And, it’s a critical component driving customer experience initiatives.
An article published on CIO.com, however, sums up why many ITSPs struggle with UC: “Many obstacles face firms hoping to deploy unified communications, from technology that doesn’t integrate to users who don’t want to give up PBX systems,” says Brian Eastwood, the author of the article.
One of the primary obstacles to UC success is a lack of UC federation (i.e. compatibility) among disparate UC video systems, which is becoming a growing issue as other trends such as the remote workforce and BYOD continue to soar. Employees familiar with consumer apps such as Skype or Google Hangouts find it frustrating that they’re unable to communicate as easily via corporate communication systems.
Even when these issues are addressed there are a myriad of other culprits that can sabotage a UC deployment.
The Solution to UC Challenges Is a Voice and Video Readiness Assessment
Unlike some IT deployments that can be implemented and tweaked after the fact, taking this approach with UC can be disastrous. For large (i.e. $50,000+) projects, UC vendors typically step in to help ITSPs conduct a thorough network (wired and wireless) and data center voice and video readiness assessment. However, for smaller projects, ITSPs have traditionally shouldered the readiness assessment burden themselves, which oftentimes resulted in shortcuts being taken due to limited resources or technicians with limited UC assessment expertise.
If you’re an ITSP that wants to build a successful UC practice, you can’t neglect the readiness assessment. However, that doesn’t mean you have to figure it out yourself. There are managed services providers that specialize in this service (e.g. Yorktel and Nectar Corp).
Ingram Micro partners that want to sell UC solutions have the added option of using Ingram Micro’s Cloud Ignite Services to assist with UC readiness assessments. Furthermore, many Ingram Micro partners may already have taken the first steps to selling UC solutions without even realizing it. For example, Microsoft Lync, is included with the Office 365 packages available on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. Partners who have clients with active Office 365 subscriptions don’t need to convince their customers to buy more software licenses – they simply need to educate their clients about how to better utilize their current investments.
You can learn more about this service by visiting www.ingrammicrocloud.com/marketplace.