With the current focus on remote work and communications at a distance, many value-added resellers (VARs) and managed services providers (MSPs) are responding by providing hosted VoIP services to their clients. Cloud-based communications platforms have proven value to make collaboration easier and more efficient, whether teams are dispersed or businesses are operating within facilities.
John DeLozier, SVP Channel for 8×8, shares his insights about the pivotal role VARs and MSPs play in understanding their customers’ communication needs and tailoring hosted VoIP solutions to match them.
What are some of the ways that VARs and MSPs are offering hosted VoIP?
DeLozier: Cloud communications platforms are as diverse as customers themselves. Basic functionality – voice, desktop and mobile soft apps, international numbers, inbound, outbound, online chat, video meeting, contact center – all can be customized, packaged and priced in a way that suits the unique needs of the organization. For example, one organization might need business numbers and call handling capabilities, but another needs an integrated voice, video meetings, messaging and contact center solution for a globally distributed mobile and remote workforce in place of a legacy PBX system.
Because VARs maintain such a close relationship with customer organizations, they make incredible partners in curating a truly personalized cloud communications experience for each and every customer.
What do you see as the primary value hosted VoIP services offer end users?
DeLozier: Flexibility. From a workplace management perspective, the ability to untether employees from the office and traditional hardware while maintaining productivity and business resilience is a powerful asset. Underpinned by a strong hosted VoIP solution, remote work productivity and collaboration becomes seamless.
Furthermore, it adds a layer of flexibility for limited IT resources who would otherwise take ownership of system management and maintenance. There’s only a certain number of hours in a day and dollars in a budget, so freeing IT attention and resources enables greater opportunity for business innovation and growth.
What are the other benefits of hosted VoIP that VARs and MSPs can communicate to their customers?
DeLozier: Continuous improvement and innovation certainly come to mind. Hosted VoIP is far from static and as part of a full cloud communications solution with voice, video, chat and contact center can deliver tremendous value to organizations.
With legacy hardware systems, there’s the installation and adoption process, and then you’re effectively stuck with that infrastructure while technology evolves around you. There’s no seamless way to keep up with the latest and greatest tools organizations require, especially as needs and the work environment changes. Cloud-native, hosted VoIP providers are themselves the innovation engine, ensuring that the communications stack is keeping up with constantly changing expectations.
How can hosted VoIP solutions benefit remote teams?
DeLozier: As we’ve all learned recently, technology plays a critical role in keeping remote teams productive and on track. But it isn’t as simple as trading emails or chats back and forth – effective collaboration is much more complex. Hosted VoIP solutions provide the infrastructure to mimic real-world communication patterns digitally. For example, a team based out of the same office might jump between a group chat, phone call or in-person huddle in a conference room.
Best-in-class cloud communications solutions translate those behaviors through seamless voice and video functionality. Teams might stay remote, but when you can see each other, it goes a long way in fostering meaningful team rapport.
What mistakes do VARs or other providers make with hosted VoIP, and how can they avoid them?
DeLozier: Never underestimate the value of flexibility and interoperability. One of the most significant benefits integrators and VARs bring to the table is their ability to glean a full and comprehensive understanding of a customer organization and deliver a solution that’s uniquely tailored to them for now and in the future. This entirely hinges on looking beyond just recommending point systems that only solve an organization’s immediate need and instead plan for future growth by turning to a fully integrated open cloud communications platform to give the customer maximum value. Always be on the lookout for partners that emphasize open APIs and accessibility.
What your opinion on the future demand for managed VoIP?
DeLozier: The migration to cloud-based communication has been on-going for years, and the benefits of transition are more prevalent than ever. As more organizations evaluate the potential for long-term, decentralized office policies, the demand for managed VoIP is only going to surge. Seamless, engaging communication experiences – anywhere – are the cornerstone of the future of work.