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Courtenay Mills, Head of Voice and Data for EfficiencyIT shares why UCaaS has emerged as the answer to post-pandemic hybrid working. 

In a world of post-pandemic upheaval, two work-based mega trends are becoming increasingly clear – cloud is king and hybrid working is here to stay. The latest research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveals that a growing number of employers are reporting significant productivity gains as they embrace cloud-powered work-from-anywhere models. But moving your comms to the cloud, or switching to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) can be a daunting prospect, with a myriad of vendors selling a multitude of solutions with varying levels of service.

The following checklist will help you navigate the complicated UCaaS landscape and find a solution that will not only serve your business well for a decade or more, but transform your customer and employee experience levels. All while reducing costs, optimising budgets and seamlessly integrating key business-critical systems and software applications in the process.

1. Empower your employees to work from anywhere

Having lived and worked through two years of lockdowns, social distancing and the move to home working, UCaaS platforms not only have to be disaster proof, they need to support the move to hybrid working. This means switching key communications channels to the cloud so that dispersed teams not only have a full set of communications and collaboration tools at their fingertips, they are fully engaged and they are empowered to be as productive as possible. In this environment purchasing the right UCaaS platform will not only boost productivity, it will also help companies improve their recruitment and retention figures and ultimately win the race for talent.

2. Provide a single pane of glass

Today’s workforce wants to hold multi-participant video calls, share documents in-call, send emails and communicate via instant messaging – to name but a few channels. The most effective platforms do this through one unified dashboard (also known as a ‘single pane of glass’), reducing complexity, accelerating workflows and boosting user experience. Another important consideration is whether the vendor owns the full tech stack or whether they manage a series of third-party solutions. If this is the case, and they’re managing third parties there is the very real possibility that one of their providers could withdraw its application at some point and your business service levels could be negatively impacted.

3. Achieve seamless integration with key business platforms

Flawless communications are a key requirement for best-in-class UCaaS platforms, but your wish list should not end there. Market-leading solutions now also integrate business-critical apps, such as accountancy software, CRM and ERP out of the box, with automatic field population being the watch words. This fast and seamless integration speeds up employee workflows and accelerates productivity. It also means there’s no longer the need to hire costly middleware developers to integrate complex systems.

4. Secure the right service and support levels for your business

Big businesses hardly ever sleep, and with technologies connecting employees and clients across the globe, any system downtime can fast become problematic for your business. As such it’s essential to choose a UCaaS vendor with 24/7/365 support as standard. It’s also wise to take a similarly risk-averse attitude to data centre availability. If your vendor does not have a data platform collocated globally it’s doubtful there will be sufficient redundancy if one data centre goes offline.

5. Insist on vendor-backed SLAs

Many market-leading UCaaS vendors will also offer a “five nines” service level agreement. In other words, they promise that their service will remain fully operational for 99.999% of the time. Such agreements have very little value, however, unless they are financially backed by the vendor, meaning they will compensate you if they fail to meet the five nines standard. This is a must for any business selecting a UCaaS solution.

6. Ensure your vendor has regulation and compliance covered

Regulation and compliance are business-critical, and too complex to discuss in detail here. Needless to say different industry sectors in different geographies have their own specific challenges. The ideal solution is to find a UCaaS platform that takes responsibility for ensuring the activity on its platform is compliant. For example, this may involve ensuring on-platform customer data handling complies with GDPR or payment information held on the system is PCI-DSS compliant.

7. Resist the urge to be primarily price-driven and do your due diligence

Get UCaaS procurement wrong and it may cost your company dearly for the life of your licencing agreement. Get it right, however, and it can prove to be truly transformational on a business-wide level. As with all IT procurement exercises, due diligence is essential. Armed with our seven-point checklist, however, it is possible to thoroughly interrogate the market and find the perfect UCaaS solution for your business – one that will flex and scale with your needs and potentially deliver 15 to 20 of years of service. For further information, visit

This article first appeared in the June 2022 edition of Networking+ Magazine.