The December 06, 2016, Telarus Tuesday Call brought our VP of engineering Tyler Smith in to train partners on successful strategies to position and sell unified communications as a service, also knows as hosted UC or UCaaS. The entire presentation can be watched here.
As an agent, you always want to make sure what you have sold a customer is working properly. When selling a hosted solution, the voice quality in the deployment must work, because if it doesn’t it will not be a great situation for the customer, the agent or the supplier. We all want the same thing: Success. Today we discuss ways to mitigate these issues.
When Layering Hosted VoIP over the Internet, Remember:
- Although this is the most popular method, it will always be a best effort solution, therefore certain challenges will present themselves.
- Voice does not consume very much bandwidth, but it does need to be there in sequence and without any gaps.
- Jitter, packet loss, and latency are the symptoms of VoIP issues.
Don’t Just Keep Your Fingers Crossed
Hosted UC success does not start by hoping things will go well. Guessing the customer has enough bandwidth to support the addition of Hosted VoIP will not ensure success. There are a number of factors that determine how much bandwidth a customer uses. These include the customer’s footprint, other applications, or there might even be a certain time throughout the day where all the bandwidth is being used. Outages are caused by competing data. So what can you do to be more accurate?
VXSupportLine (also known as TrustedSky) will help give you a direction and a clearer idea of how hosted voice will perform in a customer’s environment. Beacons are installed in the data center of hosted voice providers. The VXSupportLine portal can be accessed through a browser by you, or an end customer. This application will allow you to send test calls across the internet to the specific data center. A dashboard will display a real-time snapshot of your customer’s network and help you get an idea of what issues may arise should you deploy a hosted UC solution. This will give you more credibility with the customer and help instill more confidence in the solution you are presenting. Companies with a beacon installed are Jive, Vonage, RingCentral, and Broadview, and we can look forward to more additions in the future.
Alternative options also include carries who have their own testing.
- Two great examples of carriers in our portfolio who provide such a tool are 8×8 and RingCentral. Their tool is meant to help get a snapshot to see what is going on and figure out if there is any chance they will run into any firewall issues, and if everything is working properly.
- Broadview also has a tool, the difference is that this software is actually downloaded and then will run tests for a week. This provides deeper insight as it continuously tests the environment. It also makes closing a deal easier because you can reassure the customer the solution because of the extensive testing.
VXSuite hosted UC Assessment is another option. The way this assessment works is by having a probe gather information from the router, and will then proceed to make test calls. The amount of calls made can be customized to the customer’s needs. This makes it easier to emulate what potential impact hosted UC will have over their environment. Although this option is very similar to the others in the sense that it does share majority of the same concepts, it has one huge difference: when you perform the assessment with VXSuite’s tool it will be agnostic, and it will not test from the customer’s location to the provider’s. That means that this is amazing tool you can use if you have not chosen a provider yet. Regardless the main questions we want answered is ‘Will hosted UC be the right solution for the customer in general?’ and ‘Will their network support this?’
VXSuite will test from the customer’s location into a Microsoft Azure Cloud driven location and will do east coast, west coast, or both, depending on the scenario. This will provide visibility to a generic scenario and what it might look like. To learn more about pricing, talk with your Telarus RVP. Each solution will be different and needs to be designed to fit your customer needs.
What are the next steps once you’ve used either one of the tools we have discussed and received the results?
If everything looks great after the tests:
- Close the deal!
You will not always get the results you hoped for. If the results are not great, you always have other options:
- Dedicated bandwidth for voice strategy: suggest that they bring in secondary internet dedicated to hosted UC only.
- SDN Strategy: SDN can help you prioritize voice and other applications across the internet.
- New Network Strategy: Private connections or other type of network adjustments can also be suggested, although these are usually solutions that revolve around large deals that have a lot of end user support.
When dealing with this type of technology the most important things is to be able to preview what will happen once you layer hosted UC over the internet. Testing is critical, and will help reduce the amount of issues you will see down the line. Whether you are using VXSupportLine, other tools the carrier provides, or the VXSuite hosted UC Assessment you can be assured these are all better solutions than just guessing. These are also a great thing to have access to when you are trying to close a deal with a customer that might be unsure, as it gives you more credibility and will in turn reassure the customer you are selling them something that works!