Unified Communications for SMEs

SMEs face many challenges including maintaining competitive advantage. Finding and retaining customers is a challenge, as well as staying ahead of the competition. Differentiation is and will always remain a key driver for SMEs. To survive one must stand out from the crowd and demonstrate capabilities that their peers may not have, however managing the pace of technological change to stay ahead of competition can be difficult.

Traditional UC products have been too expensive, too hard to deploy and therefore out of reach to SMEs, although supporting and controlling the cost of legacy on-premise equipment is also expensive.

Today modern cloud-based UC products are more accessible to SMEs, increasing market opportunity across national, international and public sector markets. UC offers business insights which allow them to achieve goals through more-informed decision-making, with less up-front cost and effort. UC permits business growth whilst managing costs and promoting flexible working with less travel, increased mobility and a ‘work anywhere’ paradigm.

UC makes the SME more accessible to customers across all channels (phone, email, online, digital, omni-channel). Bringing voice, mobiles, CRM, document sharing, email and chat tools together into a seamless reliable, secure and cost-effective solution is an attractive proposition to SMEs, driving better team collaboration, improved business efficiency and faster decision-making with more informed and motivated staff.  Better customer service combined with increased customer satisfaction help drive better business outcomes.

UC helps to meet ever-changing regulation and compliance, including PCI DSS Compliance, MiFID II and GDPR. Increased regulations and compliance are a growing challenge, as well as executing robust security strategies to protect against increased risk, fraud attacks and malware.

In terms of business outcomes, the ‘hot buttons to press’ for SMEs include: 

  • Increase competitive advantage: Compete with big corporations.
  • Improve customer retention: Win and retain more business through better customer insight.
  • Increase accessibility: Be more accessible to customers via phone, mobile, online, social media.
  • Reduce and control costs through easy and affordable access to traditionally expensive services; such as call recording and omni-channel contact centres. Focus effort and resource on growing the business without wasting money on system support, software upgrades etc.
  • Improve business efficiency: Keep it simple yet increase staff visibility and productivity, create more effective teams through increased collaboration, make customer data more readily available and do more for less.

Digital transformation (DX) at the SME level can be a complex sell but how can this be overcome by resellers?

Resellers can simplify the DX sell to SMEs by:

  1. Demonstrating how DX has transformed their own business
  2. Becoming competent talking about key industry drivers and changes, such as GDPR compliance
  3. Identifying key areas of knowledge and expertise that can be shared with customers
  4. Presenting case studies and business cases for successful DX projects
  5. Showing how SMEs have been using and benefitting from DX for some time already; for example, Office 365, Outlook email, Skype for Business
  6. Delivering peace-of-mind through value-added services such as enhanced security and assurance
  7. Training staff
  8. Identifying and focusing on the best in class / best fit UC and Cloud vendors
  9. Setting up customer focus groups; in order to share challenges, case studies and recent wins

Are cloud based UCaaS delivery options starting to dominate the SME market?

Cloud-based UCaaS delivery options are definitely growing but it is still early days. UCaaS is certainly not dominating but services such as Office 365, Skype for Business, hosted CRM solutions and mobility are already widely deployed in the SME marketplace. Such subscription-based cloud services are widely accepted amongst SMEs and are expected to grow exponentially over the coming years.

UCaaS is a good fit for SMEs as it gives them access to the latest technology with a lower cost of ownership.  Simple price-per-user propositions offer clarity and understanding of ROI, making it easier to understand the total cost of ownership. UCaaS-based add-ons to the traditional on-premise PBX are also growing in popularity, such as cloud contact centres, call recording, analytics and collaboration tools.

We believe that a hybrid deployment of a traditional PBX with UCaaS add-ons will continue to be popular for some time in this sector. SMEs do not tend to simply rip out existing technology, so the hybrid model is a good option for them.

As featured in Comms Business