The Risks Surrounding Outsourced Unified Communications

By Sabrina Steenvoorde, Customer Experience Manager
Outsourced Unified Communications can be a smart move for many businesses.

It’s no mystery that communication systems in many organizations are evolving and shifting so quickly that they are practically living, breathing things. In fact, we’re pretty sure that the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus was referring to unified communication solutions for large enterprises when he began exploring his renowned idea that “the only thing that is constant is change.” Okay, that’s a stretch, but you get the idea. Communication systems are continually evolving and shifting.

Whether companies are incorporating advanced collaboration and UC capabilities into their solutions or simply wrestling to maintain a traditional telephony infrastructure, the pervasive challenge of supporting and operating a UC solution in a cost-effective, operationally sound manner remains.

Traditional UC Options

Organizations typically have three options for maintaining and operating specific communication solutions.

  • Internal Staff: This is usually only an option for larger organizations. The DIY approach can be expensive and complex to manage, and it often leads to spotty coverage and support.
  • Outsourced Vendor Channel Partner: Virtually every channel that sells the communication vendor’s solutions also provides services in line with those solutions. The trouble is that these channels offer a predictably limited range of services.
  • Outsourced Vendor Service: Some vendors offer services for their products as a separate business; however, as you might expect, vendors are often both expensive and limited to their own product line. 

MSP: The new option

A new option has emerged, and it is quickly becoming the preferred choice for a rapidly growing set of end customers. Managed services providers (MSPs) are vendor-independent UC support providers. MSPs are not interested in selling products; instead, they focus on optimizing the operation and maintenance of a communications and collaboration deployment. The MSP provides a cost-effective way to have a highly skilled, knowledgeable, scalable workforce available without having to pay when the capability is not needed.

The Risks Surrounding Outsourced Unified Communications

Top 3 Reasons Why Outsourcing UC is Risky

Let’s review the top three reasons why outsourced unified communications vendor solutions are risky endeavors for IT Managers who need to update and maintain their communication systems. It should be noted that the ever-increasing complexity and inter-dependence of our modern communication systems virtually guarantee that issues and outages will occur. The question then becomes “How quickly and efficiently can you analyze and repair the issue?”

  1. Overstaffed or under-prepared
    IT and outsourced unified communications vendors are often caught in an operational conflict with regard to scaling. On one hand, staff and resources can be brought on to ensure that the team is totally prepared for any potential challenge; however, this solution requires dramatically increased budgets and headcounts. The cost-saving alternative leaves your organization vulnerable, hoping that a major (or minor, for that matter) event doesn’t occur.  An MSP provides the right balance of size for both skill and responsiveness. Referred to as the Goldilocks Factor, the best MSP is often not too big and not too small, with the balance of resources needed to scale for a large organization and the customer focus provided by a smaller business.
  1. Lack of innovation and strategy
    One glaring problem with outsourced vendor solutions is that they provide a responsive service instead of being proactive. Outsourced vendor solutions are more concerned with selling additional products and services than with innovating and optimizing UC. Delivering the best possible outcomes, whether for an outage, upgrade, vendor transition, or new service deployment, requires skills, knowledge, resource scalability, defined processes, planning, and tools that are often beyond the capability of internal organizations, typical channels, or even vendors.
  1. Too many teams
    As communications systems continue to evolve from closed proprietary solutions to advanced, networked infrastructures, one drawback is the increase in the number of components, all of which have their own teams of experts. Many organizations have entered separate relationships with dozens of vendors. As a result, when issues occur, the finger pointing begins.
    The key advantage of an MSP is the ability to have a single point of resolution, relieving companies from serving as the mediator between vendors when complex issues inevitably arise.

So there it is—the secret’s out.  Outsourced unified communications is risky.  Luckily, the unique abilities of the MSP is often the perfect balance of resources and responsiveness for most companies.

Learn more about the selecting the “just right” MSP in The Goldilocks Factor. Download the free White Paper.

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