From The Expert Feature Article
October 26, 2015

Choosing Midmarket Video as a Service

As we first identified back in Dec. 2013 as one of the top trends to watch in 2014, midmarket companies are demanding Op-Ex, cost-effective cloud solutions that are tailored to their business needs.

As we said, “Midmarket leaders are no longer satisfied with solutions that are scaled down versions of larger systems.  Instead, they want solutions designed to meet their specific business needs, as well as the ability of their IT people to manage them. Support excellence will increasingly mean providing the right information in a tempo and volume that a smaller operation can handle, along with the tools needed to put that information to use.”

What we acknowledged back then has been confirmed by experts at Deloitte and Gartner (News - Alert)Deloitte’s 2015 report on midmarket firms showed that midmarket companies have been investing quicker than years past to boost competitiveness and productivity.

To maintain productivity and a competitive advantage, many IT managers are turning to the cloud and its many options. What these IT managers are quickly finding out is that there is a wide range of cloud services, support options and even types of clouds that are now available.

recent study of midmarket executives, IT directors and managers showed that nearly nine out of 10 believe that cloud computing is the future model of IT for midmarket organizations.  More results showed that:

  • The top three concerns for implementing the cloud are security (55 percent), legal compliance (38.5 percent) and privacy (37 percent). Of concern to only one in three of those surveyed: performance and reliability.
  • Slightly more than half of those surveyed feel their in-house IT team can implement a cloud strategy on their own.
  • Top benefits are disaster avoidance/business continuity (72 percent), followed by flexibility (70 percent), scalability (70 percent), lower total cost of ownership (57 percent), which was the subject of last month’s blog, and finally Op-Ex (52 percent).

And the top criteria for choosing a particular cloud partner? Price. The focus on price is short sighted compared to the total cost of ownership for a cloud solution. Key considerations also include the hidden costs of managing a cloud relationship, the depth or lack thereof support provided, ability to upgrade services and equipment, and scalability and agility.

Picking cloud services based on price is like buying a cheap pickup truck without a thorough inspection and without considering your long-term transportation needs. Just as a cheap pickup truck may get you where you need to be in the short run, the frequent cost of repairs and lack of flexibility can make for a short, bumpy ride.

A more holistic evaluation of your cloud provider based on your short-term and long-term needs, considering their ability to enable business agility and scale is key. Just like a tuned-up truck is more likely to get you to your destination, so too can the right cloud provider help you meet present and anticipated needs.

The right provider can ensure a successful unified communications implementation, including the fast-growing area of video. Bringing video into the work space builds team collaboration, supports customers who need help and brings value to stakeholder relationships. The right cloud provider will enable a contact center to offer omnichannel support to its inquiring customers looking for help by chat, email, phone or video.

Video is low hanging fruit in the area of midmarket cloud use. Midmarket companies are turning to Video as a Service (VaaS) to enable employee collaboration and customer-facing services without having to worry about enabling the conference participants’ underlying networks and technologies.

VaaS is a great alternative for businesses that want full corporate video capability without the need to invest in infrastructure, ongoing expertise or resources to maintain and upgrade features over time.

A predictable, high-quality VaaS experience can save clients time and money, and drive optimal levels of user adoption and return on investment. Video can bring customers, suppliers and key stakeholders under a common, secure business-to-business video community.  However, there are many elements that need to be carefully considered before making the right choice for the right partner.

According to Gartner’s recent study, which showed that video is gaining traction in the midmarket, there are three main things to consider when selecting a VaaS provider for the midmarket:

  • Excellent customer service and support
  • Simplified service solution management and maintenance
  • Transparent and competitive total cost of ownership

Also worth considering when choosing a cloud partner:

  • Plug-and-play simplicity and reliability. The cloud solution should accelerate both in-office and remote employee adoption of the capabilities needed to maximize productivity and satisfaction.
  • Extensive accessibility and interoperability. The cloud solution should be able to support any protocol, any video conferencing system, and any desktop or mobile device in any location.
  • Utility pricing. The pay-as-you-go model reduces risk of investing in deep initial upfront costs and provides a smooth predictable cost of scaling as the business grows.
  • Security knowledge. A cloud partner should show knowledge of UC (Voice, Video, etc.) security issues and have a process in place to deal with current security concerns as well as proactively deal with new and unforeseen issues. Key concerns can be mitigating toll fraud, call/session hijacking, denial of service risks, enabling remote connections without a VPN, etc.

Are you planning to implement video at the desktop or in the contact center?

Have you investigated VaaS as a solution? What applications are you looking to host on the Cloud?

Follow me on Twitter (News - Alert) at @Pat_Patterson_V

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere