UCaaS Mistakes MSPs Should Avoid

Don’t overlook the importance of a quality network, user experience, and keeping things simple when implementing UCaaS.

UCaaS mistakes

The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is set for “tremendous expansion,” with a predicted CAGR of 29.4 percent and reaching $79.3 billion by 2024, according to Transparency Market Research. Capitalizing on this opportunity, however, depends on your ability to implement UCaaS successfully for your clients.

UCaaS Needs a Quality Network

Raffi Jamgotchian, Channel Chief for hosted VoIP and unified communications provider ConnectMeVoice, says the most important factor in UCaaS implementation is a quality network. He explains that UCaaS providers need to ensure all three tiers of the network — connection to the internet, infrastructure including firewalls and routers, and the company’s internal network — are capable of supporting UCaaS. “The network may work fine for web browsing, but if it has low bandwidth and high latency, it won’t work for voice,” he says.

Making sure the network can support voice is not only vital to the end user’s experience, but it can also impact your business. “When there are problems, the voice provider gets blamed, but in many cases, it’s the network,” he says.

“You may find consumer devices on a network set up by an inexperienced technician, but if you put voice on it, things start falling apart,” Jamgotchian says. “A small business may be able to get away with it, but a company with 10 to 20 employees or more will need better quality gear.” He says to use an enterprise-grade firewall that enhances security without sacrificing performance and switches that can prioritize voice over other types of network traffic.

Avoid Common UCaaS Mistakes

There are other missteps UCaaS providers can make that can hurt a good customer satisfaction track record. Jamgotchian says UCaaS providers need to:

  • Focus on Voice, Not Video — For clients that want to prioritize video conferencing, Jamgotchian says not to let this overshadow the importance of optimizing voice. “When you add video, it can exasperate issues,” he explains, “but if video quality degrades a little, users won’t notice it as much as when they’re communicating by voice — it can start to sound like you’re talking through a fish tank. If video is interrupted, users are more tolerant of it. Focus on voice,” he says.
  • Create Single User Identities — The ideal solution would allow users to have one identity regardless of how they connect. Often, however, users can have different personas when they use different devices or accounts. Jamgotchian says the best experience is when users don’t have to think about the medium or solution they’re using, they just communicate with another user directly. “Don’t let parts of the system become islands until themselves,” he says. “Have it all connected. We’ve been talking about that in the industry for a dozen years, but we’re still not there yet.”
  • Don’t Just Duplicate What Your Client Currently Has — Your customers are moving to UCaaS not only to replace their current phone system but for new functionality that will help them operate more efficiently and productively. Help them move beyond their current capabilities to communicate better internally and with the outside world.
  • Keep It Simple — More complex systems are not usually better systems. Jamgotchian says in his MSP days, he worked with a call center that basically wanted the system to forward calls to another employee if one didn’t answer, but had an extremely complex system in place. “Simplify it,” he says. “If you build complex systems, they can fail, and fail miserably.”

Never Stop Learning

The UCaaS space is evolving rapidly, and providers need to educate themselves continually about technology and available solutions. Jamgotchian says the vendors you work with are a good resource for information and best practices, but it may be more valuable to talk to peers. “Find other providers who have been successful,” he says, “And if you know servers and desktops, but voice isn’t your strength, find a peer to partner with.”

He says joining associations, such as The ASCII Group and CompTIA create excellent opportunities to meet other providers and form valuable alliances.

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.