Unified communications has experienced massive growth over the last few years but with that have come growing pains. Uptake of solutions from the large US-headquartered providers has taken UC into the mainstream but could result in loss of control, limited choice and stifling of innovation as regional experts and specialised resellers are displaced by a smaller number of providers offering homogenised, global products. On the flipside of that argument, it’s the large players that have democratised access to UC and levelled the playing field for large and small enterprises.
The challenge now is to take the best of both worlds. To gain the benefits, capabilities and efficiencies the large players offer at the same time as deriving value from the personalised touch, the sector-specific knowledge and the local footprint of smaller UC providers and resellers.
Having a diverse ecosystem of service providers is a symptom of a healthy market because diversity breeds innovation, bringing with it greater product choice for end-users and providing more opportunities for the channel to differentiate itself. It is important that UC comes in many flavours and can be tailored to fit the needs of specific customers. If not, customers will feel they are being force-fitted to an inflexible, global offering that doesn’t take true account of their needs. Similarly, if resellers don’t have scope to tailor services, they will be limited to participating in a race to the bottom on price.
Another important aspect to consider is the specific requirements that are placed on UCaaS solutions within Europe. These can differ widely from those in the US and UC solutions need to reflect this. A prime example is where data is stored. European enterprises need to be assured that their data will always stay in Europe and for some nations it must stay in their country.
In addition, the big US UCaaS providers are typically selling products based on US requirements to a global market. Their solutions take less account of regional preferences and they seldom offer in-country offices and support. It’s therefore important to carefully assess what attributes a UCaaS provider has in your region.
Enreach welcomes a competitive UCaaS market that creates a perfect environment for innovation and sees the value of large scale UCaaS providers working alongside a vibrant, engaged and innovative reseller channel. The company now has in excess of 2.3 million users and has 24 offices and 1,100 employees across Europe. It has put forward a checklist of six questions that it believes partners and customers should be asking their UC vendors to ensure that UCaaS changes result in clear benefits:
This article was published on UC Today on 17 February 2022.