UC (unified communications) is an IT solution with a lot of earning potential for ISVs. 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 solution providers 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 among end users 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. Users 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, software vendors typically step in to assist their resellers conduct a thorough network (wired and wireless) and data center voice and video readiness assessment. However, for smaller projects, telecom VARs 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. This is another area where ISVs can play an important role and distinguish themselves at the same time.
If you’re an ISV that wants to stand out in the UC market, creating federated software solutions and assisting reseller partners with network assessments are two worthwhile considerations. Even if the latter idea (network assessments) isn’t your company’s strongpoint, you could still add value to your channel partners by recommending a managed services provider (MSP) that specialize in this service (e.g. Yorktel or Nectar Corp) to your VAR.