Going multi-vendor or full-stack with your UCaaS investment
Nowadays, organizations are continuously making efforts to be more competitive in this highly technological world. In 2020, we realized that no one could afford to be tied down to a single vendor or solution. Because organizations must cope with varying requirements of their consumers and marketplace.
Businesses prefer the cloud to expand their unified communication (UC) functionality via Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). It is said that UCaaS provides a scalable and customizable solution for communication technology on the cloud.
UCaaS is designed using necessary modules, from video conferencing tools to call recording.
I know you might have some queries at this point.
Here we go.
So, when selecting UCaaS, should one be in search of a single vendor that could check every box on your bucket list? Or is it better to prefer open platforms to develop something from best-in-class technology?
Here are your answers and a guide to going multi-vendor or full-stack with your UCaaS investment.
Getting to know multi-vendor and full-stack choices
In the kingdom of UCaaS, there live multiple amazing vendors. For instance, Zoom may be your first choice for virtual/video conferencing, but there are chances you might prefer Microsoft for productivity and Cisco for calls.
The UCaaS industry is booming at a rapid pace, with new entrants appearing all the time. Few vendors such as Avaya and RingCentral could offer full-stack solutions for businesses of all sizes.
When UC took a boom in the market, it combined primary tools such as fax, voice, email, and messaging into the same platform. Therefore, the majority of UC systems have access to means such as collaboration tools and video conferencing.
On the back-end, most unified communications tools include features such as:
- Team and project management tools
- Multipoint control units and video bridges for video conferencing
- Multi- or single-vendor UC server or platform
- Business communication gateways such as SBCs (Session Border Controllers)
Unified communication is a multi-vendor world
Avaya, Microsoft, and Cisco hold the lion’s share of UC deployments worldwide. Also, we all know that Avaya and Cisco are the old players in the UC game. However, Microsoft has turned the table by introducing Skype for Business. A significant challenge with UC systems management is interoperability between these several vendors.
For example, an organization might use Microsoft Skype for business communication in a few sectors and use Cisco in its contact center for real-time communications, thus raising interoperability and adding time, expense, and complexity. In short, it means unified communication is a multi-vendor world.
What is multi-vendor UC visibility?
A single tool that can manage or has visibility into all servers, vendors, endpoints, applications, and network devices will give you a complete picture of the entire work environment.
When to go multi-vendor?
When one goes with a multi-vendor approach, that means they don’t have to compromise on functionality. One has a remote to select the best product from multiple providers instead. Multi-stack is perfect for an organization that doesn’t prefer a one-size-fits-all solution. It is easy to get an ideal video solution or the perfect call recording technology if you are not restricted to a specific provider.
A multi-vendor mix means that one can get a competitive price option from various solution providers. Based on consumers’ and employees’ requirements, one can add components into the UCaaS stack depending on the business growth. This means one does not have to wait for a full-stack solution provider to offer the same tools that one could get elsewhere eventually.
For an organization with specific requirements, multi-vendor could be the perfect approach to get the correct functionality.
When to go full-stack?
A multi-vendor approach is perfect for customization and flexibility in the communication stack. But there are some pitfalls too.
A full-stack solution provider could help you by giving access to all the tools you need on a combined environment or platform. It is much easier to jump straight into the cloud with your comms. Also, full-stack vendors offer considerable discounts to high-value consumers who prefer to use multiple services at once.
The expert view
Damien Margaritis (Microsoft Certified Master, Experienced Modern Workplace Consultant, Microsoft Teams expert)
What factors are essential to you when considering UC Management tools for your clients?
Margaritis said: “First and foremost, tools selected need to be Microsoft certified. This lets us know that Microsoft’s tool has been reviewed and fully ratified to add value to a UC deployment. Ease of procurement and deployment are also important factors, as is how much time it takes us to transfer key skills to clients to make them self-sufficient once we’ve finalized deployment.”
Clearly, we can see both positives and negatives of full-stack vendors and multi-stack vendors. The multi-stack vendor gives the flexibility to select the best tech solutions as per company requirements. On the other hand, this strategy also means that one has more maintenance to keep everything connected.
Alternatively, full-stack solutions offer the simplicity that current businesses need from an all-in-one communication environment. But there is a possibility to miss out on functionality.
The decision to go multi-vendor or full-stack depends on the business priorities. Do you prefer to work in a flexible or agile environment to access new technology easily? Or prefer simplicity by managing all communications in one place?
There is no correct answer for which is best because it totally depends on what better suits you or what better works for you. For instance, one company with Cisco in its contact center may want to prefer Cisco everywhere else as well. At the same time, another company may think of combining Cisco with other vendors.
If you are headed to make more such critical decisions, look at our latest whitepapers on unified communication and increase your knowledge base.