As the UCC category continues to mature, the technology keeps evolving—with new options being introduced all the time. The industry commonly divides UCC platforms into two categories: on-premises and cloud. At Ingram Micro, we look at it differently, preferring to distinguish between “collaboration-first” and “voice-first” platforms.
Collaboration-first platforms lead with text and video capabilities and feature voice as an add-on. Voice-first platforms lead with voice capabilities and provide messaging and video capabilities as ancillary services.
The leading collaboration-first platforms
Cisco Webex Teams and Skype for Business from Microsoft are two of the top collaboration-first platforms.
Cisco Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark) is a cloud UCaaS service that delivers a complete collaboration suite—incorporating always-on messaging, video calling and videoconferencing with phone services. Features include Cisco Webex Teams Board, an interactive virtual whiteboard and video endpoint for collaboration within a conference room and also virtually across any device using the Cisco Webex Teams client.
Microsoft bundles Skype for Business, soon to be called Teams, as part of Microsoft Office 365. This is an instant-messaging client, used with Skype for Business Server or with Skype for Business Online, that delivers messaging, meetings and screen sharing all in one app—with all conversations protected by strong authentication and encryption.
Growing beyond their extensive messaging and collaboration roots, both of these options have recently added full blown voice capabilities, making them true unified communications solutions.
The leading voice-first platforms
Ring Central is an all-in-one cloud solution that incorporates phone with videoconferencing, team messaging, collaboration, SMS, collaboration, contact center and more. It’s an open platform that integrates with today’s leading business apps while offering customers the flexibility to customize their own workflows.
8x8 is a cloud-based platform that offers SMB and enterprise customers alike seamless access to VoIP phone, conferencing and call center services—even real-time analytics and CRM tools. Secure and reliable, it provides a cost-effective way to reduce business phone costs while integrating a range of communication and collaboration tools.
BroadCloud and Intermedia also offer voice-first platforms your customers may want to consider.
Despite their genesis in voice, these solution providers now offer a variety of different media options—making them truly comprehensive options.
So what’s the right choice?
Helping your customers choose the right solution depends on a variety of factors, including the size and structure of their organizations, their budget parameters, the specific capabilities they’re looking for and their existing infrastructures.
All of the platforms have earned quality ratings from Gartner and are certainly options for your customers to consider. In choosing which UCC platform to go with, there’s one important point not to overlook—the “comfort” factor. Because the best UCC technology in the world is no good if employees are afraid to use it.