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How to evaluate potential UC management providers

Unified communications has become an enabler of increased employee productivity and business growth. But UC apps like voice and video can't be treated like any old app on the network. They are sensitive to network hiccups like latency, jitter and packet loss. Many organizations have never deployed apps that have such high management requirements.

That's when an organization can turn to a UC management provider.  

"The decision on what vendor to use can be relatively complicated because the UC management world is incredibly broad," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. 

Kerravala offered some management requirements that organizations should consider when evaluating UC management providers.

UC management should lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for organizations. Kerravala said TCO can be difficult to quantify, but providers can lower TCO for organizations in these ways:

  • by implementing changes faster;
  • by simplifying those processes;
  • and by making change processes repeatable, predictable and automatable.

"Those are the things that are going to lower TCO," he said.

UC management must be from the top down. This style of management is focused on the user experience, which is vital to proactively addressing issues that could negatively impact performance.

Another management requirement organizations should consider is that tools offer centralized and distributed control for organizations. This means offering centralized control of the entire communications system, but also offering some distributed control for regional business units and end users, Kerravala said.

A UC management provider should adapt to meet the needs of organization's business processes and IT systems.

"Businesses often have to modify their processes to fit the tools, and that can have a very disruptive effect," he said. 

Organizations should be able to deploy management tools without needing to recode or rebuild their applications. Customizing applications to fit around management tools also leads to increased costs, Kerravala said.

Watch this video to learn more about the other management requirements organizations should consider before choosing a UC management provider.

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