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taher.behbehani

Taher Behbehani

Chief Digital & Marketing Officer of Broadsoft

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Taking the Lead in Unified Communications by Taking to the Cloud

April 13, 2016

Cloud neutralizes the increased costs and complexities related to PBX-based UC service delivery.

Why are voice-only and UC services being deployed via the cloud at a rate that exceeds PBX line sales? Because cloud neutralizes the increased costs and complexities related to PBX-based UC service delivery.

When taking on a cloud-based offering, it is essential that service providers understand the steps and challenges involved including time-to-market, back office complexity, and cost.

UC requires an integrated service experience. This begins with sales and order management. Order entry systems must, from different back-end systems, consistently present and manage product components while combining the elements to form user, group, and account IDs or to map to APIs with external platforms. Order management also needs to accommodate software updates, new feature functionality from external systems, and adjustments to pricing, packaging, and service bundling.

After order acceptance, components need to be converted to provisioning instructions and activation messages need to be sent to multiple service delivery systems, using tags for interworking between different delivery systems. Service delivery requires service providers to activate feature packages in multiple dimensions, so they need to correctly coordinate multi-tenancy across service delivery systems. During installation, service providers also must validate service connectivity across all delivery platforms and test for high-quality calling experience.

It should come as no surprise that standing up the combination of systems that deliver UC services requires a high commitment to capital infrastructure. The multiple systems, device and service elements needed to commercialize UC services often raise overhead and extend the delivery timeframe, which can put the service provider at risk of being off the mark in terms of user trends and the offering’s novelty.

Service providers also need to prepare for customer service. UC services are mission critical for the end customer and they expect reliability levels closer to the five 9s of a voice service rather than the three 9s of a cloud IT application. Customer support for UC services combines network connectivity, voice services, and business productivity applications which increases demands on the service providers. Service providers will need to invest significant time and resources upfront to train staff in order to minimize support burdens later.

Finally, service providers need to deal with finance and billing. Challenges in billing UC services arise when moving users between different package options, providing billing options to manage disputes and customer service issues, and exploring new options that respond to consumption preferences. To simplify billing, as well as sales and marketing, many service providers offer bundles but it is important for service providers that target a mix of clients to plan for considerable billing flexibility.

Despite challenges, there is immense value in going to market quickly with UCaaS. The continued turn-down of premise-based PBX systems in favor of cloud delivery models and UC puts a wide range of options at the disposal of CSPs.

Now is the time to take the lead in favor of cloud delivery models and take full advantage of UCaaS.

This article originally appeared on the Broadsoft blog.

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