Unified Communications in The Cloud - A Masergy Guide

Your “Unified Communications as a Service” questions answered

Our Cloud Communications solutions can take your productivity to the next level. Here are the answers to your frequently asked questions. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) encompasses UC&C capabilities that are network-embedded services delivered via shared infrastructure, hosted by a service provider, and delivered in a cloud-based/as-a-service model. UCaaS is offered on a per seat basis and typically includes a standard suite of UC features as part of the monthly seat cost. (Source: IDC)

Designed to streamline internal and external business collaboration, UCaaS services can reduce the number of vendors by delivering multiple services from one source via the cloud. UCaaS allows companies easier access to all the separate collaboration components regardless of the employee’s location or device. Additionally, connectivity to other cloud-based applications is more streamlined, consumption is paid for via monthly subscription, and there is a stronger focus on capabilities and data that improve employee productivity. Services include:

Cloud PBX- Calling FeaturesAdvanced Call ManagementConference Calling & BridgesAnywhere – Single Number ReachCall ReportsDirect Phone NumberEmergency ServiceVoicemail to Email with Transcription, Number Porting, Unlimited Domestic Calling, and these additional Group Features. Additionally, we empower distributed workers with the Masergy Communicator comprising a Softphone, Desktop Sharing, Instant Messaging & Presence, Screen and File Sharing, MyRoom personal meeting space, and Connect applications for iOS and Android.

Why switch to UCaaS?

Leadership teams are increasingly being asked to drive a workforce evolution toward data driven decision making, with a focus on enhancements to customer experience and core capabilities. In the journey to digitally transform, organizations often prioritize communication technology investments due to their large datacenter footprint, and because silo-breaking collaboration is proven to increase execution of strategic initiatives

UCaaS gives organisations the opportunity to integrate multiple modes of communication through a single provider. You are able to move intricate phone systems such as Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and private branch exchange (PBX) to a provider’s cloud to minimize complexities and improve the business agility needed for digital transformation. As IT departments support less on-premise infrastructure, additional benefits include decreased infrastructure costs and targeted line of business functionality.

When it comes to line of business benefits, prioritizing UC flexibility delivers improved scalability, where companies can add or subtract services as needed by different business teams. Additionally, UCaaS allows teams to quickly adopt and integrate collaboration tools into their workflow without the technical heavy lifting frequently required when these services are located on-premise. From voice, video, instant chat and messaging, presence, and conferencing, enterprise IT can seamlessly deploy and integrate services up or down as appropriate for each team’s goals.

Why should we consider Masergy for UCaaS?

With so many services and underlying infrastructure that must all work together in UCaaS deployments— integration and seamless collaboration are one of your biggest and most challenging success factors. Masergy brings you more components in a composed and tightly integrated solution to tame all that complexity.

  • UCaaS
  • Intelligent SIP Trunks
  • PSTN
  • Software Defined WAN
  • CCaaS
  • Workforce Management (WFM)
  • Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVR)
  • Analytics
  • Security

Additionally, Masergy delivers enterprise-grade, unified communications as an all-in-one cloud solution. With Webex technologies embedded into Masergy’s own software-defined network enterprises can prioritize global, reliable connectivity with industry leading collaboration functionality. Plus, it’s all surrounded with security services provided by Masergy.

Consider Masergy UCaaS for:

Best-of-breed UCaaS solution

  • Gartner Magic Quadrant Visionary for global network services
  • Webex Collaboration Platform
  • Wide selection of handsets, conferencing arrays, and cross-platform soft clients

Global coverage

  • 120 countries
  • 29+ countries with SIP trunking and complete PSTN replacement
  • Enterprise gateway for flexible calling plans

Cloud communication applications embedded in our own software-defined network

  • Carrier-grade voice capabilities integrated into our network rather over the top
  • Guaranteed outcomes with SLAs for the call platform and the network
  • Industry-leading, 100% UCaaS uptime performance on the Masergy network platform

Built for the global enterprise

  • SIP Trunking-powered, hybrid solutions to jumpstart UCaaS implementation for enterprises that must maintain legacy communications systems (PBX)
  • Embedded security at the network and application layers
  • End-to-end performance guarantees for globally reliable communications on the Masergy software-defined network
  • Transport agnostic options for public, private, and wireless connectivity
  • Native integration with Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Office 365 Teams applications

Another reason organizations chose Masergy for their Unified Communication cloud migration is due to our prioritization of partnership with clients. Claimed by many but delivered by few, Masergy’s commitment to customer success is exemplified in our NPS score with an average of 65. From a thorough requirement’s workshop to day-one dedicated engineers and post sale support and training, our goal is to provide the visibility and consistent communication you need to migrate without the headache.

Why use Masergy’s SD-Wan for UCaaS?

In the cloud, your communication solutions are only as reliable as the network that supports it.

Increasingly, that foundation is becoming a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). With better bandwidth efficiency and reliable performance visibility, SD-WAN has emerged as a key enabler of cloud communications.

Simply put, Masergy’s software-defined network is purpose-built for globally reliable communication services. Known for industry-leading performance, Masergy’s SDN platform provides service level agreements that guarantee voice and video communications across the globe with:

  • 100% in-sequence packet delivery
  • <1 millisecond of jitter
  • 99+% global availability
  • <1 second failover

Nemertes Research found a direct correlation between the success of cloud communications initiatives and SD-WAN adoption: 63.4% of those who are satisfied with their UCaaS/CCaaS deployments are using SD-WAN versus just 21.9% of those who are unsatisfied with the performance of their cloud communications services. Their studies found SD-WAN supports UCaaS in four key ways:

  • Performance assurance
  • Uptime assurance
  • Security assurance
  • Economic efficiency

But you don’t have to use our network!

You can use your own network, transport type or access methodology you want. We offer SD-WAN and flexible access options, allowing you to run UCaaS and CCaaS over your existing network connection or any connection, including public internet (broadband) service. With this flexibility, you can custom design connectivity for each user and location across the globe.

Any way you mix and match, your solution will be fully managed by Masergy. That means you’ll get 24/7 network service monitoring and management with proactive service alerts.

Does Masergy require us to rip out our current solution to go straight to cloud?

No, Masergy designs around your unique environment with flexible migration options.

One problem known to restrain and complicate cloud migration is their legacy PBX infrastructure.When an enterprise PBX is built over a multi-year period and spread across multiple offices, IT leaders can’t just “go all-cloud” and replace their entire communications systems at once. A gradual migration path allows teams to make use of existing investments but still gain the advantages of modern technology. This incremental transition path is achieved by using a hybrid cloud approach.

Masergy leverages Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, enabling you to deploy VoIP services both on-premise and in the cloud. Using the hybrid phased approach enterprises can incrementally scale into the cloud and step closer to a fully hosted model (one location or application at a time), proceeding when and where it makes sense for your business. The solution continually adapts as aging technologies hit milestones on the end-of-life calendar or as the enterprise brings new locations online.

Lots of providers offer hybrid models, but no one does it quite like Masergy.

  • Flexibility to mitigate risks: With Masergy you’re able to customize your migration path and then continually tweak it as things change. Masergy enables maneuverability with the following strengths:
    • Any service type: SIP trunking, and a hosted solution. At Masergy, we offer fully hosted UCaaS, SIP trunking, or a hybrid of both. Our platform is entirely SIP. For our trunking service, we can deliver native SIP or SIP-to-TDM with PRI hand-off.
    • Any network access methodology: You can use your own network. You can use Masergy’s SD-WAN and connect via both public broadband and private network access with Masergy’s software-defined network. Or you can create a hybrid network, mixing and matching access types. Don’t like the results of your network choice? Switching connectivity types is not a problem.
    • Flexible licenses: Flex licensing means you’re not locked into solutions. You transition from one deployment model to another, moving from on-premise to hosted and cloud solutions.
    • Add-on security services: You get the option to add proactive 24/7 security monitoring or an end-to-end managed detection and response service, making security an intrinsic part of your unified communications strategy.

What is a hybrid cloud approach for unified communications?

The terms “hybrid deployments” or “hybrid cloud communications” refer to UCaaS and CCaaS solutions that are deployed partially on-premise and partially in the cloud. Powered by SIP trunking, hybrid solutions are popular because they allow you to chart your own path to the cloud while respecting your system constraints and without sacrificing end-user consistency.

A hybrid approach helps jumpstart migration for enterprises with legacy communications systems – adding frequently requested line of business functionality without increasing the IT burden. In a hybrid UCaaS deployment, a subset of the organization is using cloud-based phones while others continue to run on the on-premise infrastructure. Best of all, these hybrid UC solutions are not segregated into cloud-only or on-premise only, delivering a single user experience on a single dial plan.

According to ZK Research, 85% of companies want to use a hybrid cloud approach for unified communications.

What UCaaS services does Masergy offer?

UCaaS with Masergy includes unlimited domestic calling plans as well as:Cloud PBX- Calling FeaturesAdvanced Call ManagementConference Calling & BridgesAnywhere – Single Number ReachCall Reports,Direct Phone NumberEmergency Service,Voicemail to Email with Transcription, Number Porting, Unlimited Domestic Calling, and these additional Group Features. The UC Overlay license includes the Masergy Communicator comprising a Softphone, Desktop Sharing, Instant Messaging & Presence, Screen and File Sharing, MyRoom personal meeting space, and Connect applications for iOS and Android.

Additional collaboration options include :

  • The all-in-one Masergy Communicator comprising a Softphone, Desktop Sharing, Instant Messaging & Presence, Screen and File Sharing, MyRoom personal meeting space, and Connect applications for iOS and Android.
  • Webex Teams including file and screen sharing, one-on-one or group messaging, chat, video, and more from any device.
  • Webex Meetings offers one-touch video or audio conferencing via desktop or mobile devices, screen-share and recording, robust data and analytics to track adoption, interactive webinars with HD-video for up to 100K participants.
  • Intelligent SIP to allow full integration with on-premise PBX, only pay for the service you use, SIP trunking in 25 countries for complete PSTN replacement, inbound calls from any device in 120+ countries with end-to-end visibility, analytics and control from one portal.

Can I get PSTN and SIP trunking globally from a single source?

Yes! Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking has emerged as a popular method of facilitating voice communications over the Internet. SIP trunks are telephone line trunks delivered over the internet using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Using the SIP protocol, telecom service providers providing voice over IP (VoIP) can connect legacy PBXs and other voice hardware to Masergy’s global, software defined network.

Masergy’s Network Coverage includes:

  • Service availability across 120 countries
  • Complete PSTN replacement available in 29+ countries
  • Globally ubiquitous calling plans via an enterprise gateway

IT decision makers are opting for managed services and bundled solutions that deliver on a wider array of their business needs. Statistics in a 2020 IDG report practically shout the importance of integrated network and security services:

  • 93% say security features and service bundles are critical or highly important
  • 93% say network service bundles are critical or highly important

These results further corroborate a 2019 Nemertes Research study which found a direct correlation between the success of cloud communications initiatives and SD-WAN adoption: 63.4% of those who are satisfied with their UCaaS/CCaaS deployments are using SD-WAN versus just 21.9% of those who are unsatisfied with the performance of their cloud communications services.

Additionally, respondents explained why they prefered a bundled solution:

  • Easier/simpler implementation and management
  • Improved visibility
  • More security protections
  • Fewer issues integrating with other technology
  • A single point of contact/fewer vendors to manage

Are Masergy’s communications designed for a consistent experience internationally?

Yes! Masergy’s solutions were designed to prioritize the needs of global enterprises, which is why we offer unified communications coverage across more than 120 countries.

People want to work from anywhere at any time. That’s why Masergy UCaaS empowers your teams to reliably access the same cloud collaboration applications in more places across the globe.

Global Service Coverage includes:

  • Service availability across over 100 countries
  • Complete PSTN replacement available in 29+ countries
  • Globally ubiquitous calling plans via an enterprise gateway

What is “TEAMS” for collaboration?

Team Collaboration is a project-based tool set that acts as a digital collaboration hub where group members can chat in an online forum, share files, work together within documents, schedule meetings, call members into a video conference call, share screens, and more. These virtual workspaces aim to unify communication channels and streamline collaboration across disparate apps.

Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams are two of the industry leading platforms delivered with Masergy.

You might be thinking, “But wait a minute, those capabilities aren’t new…”

You’re right. The individual tools have been around for awhile, but now they’re consolidated with other services like voice and video into a single toolbox. By making various collaboration options available in a single pane, end-users more easily adopt the functionality to improve project execution.

Why is Team Collaboration the new hotbed of productivity?

Team Collaboration serves as the next evolution of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) technologies. Its impact is significant because it unites communications tools into a project-driven framework, mirroring the way teams function in the real world. That simple redesign makes projects frictionless. For instance, it’s known to drastically reduce the volume of emails sent among team members, and improve engagement with remote teams.

Here’s how it makes meetings easier. Working under the philosophy that every project is “basically just a series of meetings and data,” Team Collaboration makes it easy to host multiple meetings and share reams of data. Traditionally, project managers have to work across multiple applications, individually creating each meeting and then updating all the files and attachments for each. With Team Collaboration, they just create one virtual workspace once and every file and team member is conveniently accessible. As a result, there’s far fewer instances of administrative time wasters like:

  • “Did you remember to invite Dave to this meeting?”
  • “Did everyone receive version three of the project plan?”
  • “Let me email you that attachment again.”

With communications tools packaged to more closely mirror your workflows, work silos are shattered. Inside a Team Collaboration project, users can streamline tasks because they don’t have to cross reference multiple applications that were never designed to work together.

How does Masergy work with Cisco?

Masergy is a Cisco Global Premier Partner, building Masergy Global UCaaS on Cisco’s cloud platform – the leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, and directly embedded UCaaS into Masergy’s high-performance software-defined network – the only visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services, Global.

As a Global Premier Partner, Masergy has been a Cisco strategic partner since 2004.

  • 2004: Masergy began offering global unified communications as a service (Global UCaaS) solutions based on Cisco-owned technology
  • 2017: Masergy added Cloud Contact Center solutions based on the Webex Contact Center (formerly Customer Journey Platform)
  • 2019: Masergy selected as a Global Premier Partner based on a large number of successful enterprise deployments

Masergy’s UCaaS solutions are powered by Cisco, which means we embedded their best-of-breed Webex technologies into our global software-defined network for reliable connectivity. That way, you can deliver trusted UCaaS applications alongside a world-class communications experience. Plus, you can add on Masergy’s security services for an all-in-one solution that covers more of your IT needs.

How do I deliver video conferencing my company will actually use?

If it’s not a quality, seamless experience, you can build it but no one will come to use it.

When it comes to cloud communications, your video is only as reliable as the network that supports it. Making video and VoIP crystal clear comes down to one single thing: removing latency and jitter from the user experience. For real-time communications, network jitter and latency should be non-negotiable. Whether you’re using your own private network or Masergy’s own software-defined network service, high-quality VoIP and video connectivity require the following:

  • Perfect in-sequence voice packet delivery
  • Low latency
  • Virtually no jitter
  • Fast failover rates
  • End-to-end service availability guarantees

Second, creating a seamless end point experience requires tools on desktops, mobile devices, and in conference rooms that easily integrate and are simple to operate. A big step to achieve these goals is to incorporate cognitive collaboration into your video strategy.

What is cognitive collaboration and how does it work?

Cognitive Collaboration integrates artificial intelligence, enterprise content, and data insights with analytics to provide contextual relevance to your calling, meeting, team collaboration, and contact center communications. It uses the power of the cloud and deep analytics to enable new levels of intelligence and insight to enhance human engagement and teamwork.

Masergy’s Cognitive Collaboration powered by Webex, delivers a fundamental shift in how people work together and leverage technology to foster relationships, improve customer experiences, and ultimately achieve team goals faster. Features include:

  • Digital in-meeting assistant
  • Real-time transcription
  • Meeting highlights and action items
  • Meeting recording transcripts
  • Cross-meeting search
  • Facial recognition
  • Contextual Analytics

How do I benefit from cognitive collaboration?

By integrating features like facial recognition and contextual analytics, participants can quickly discover who is in a meeting, learn about their roles, and enable fast access to shared content such as documents, video streams, or project management tools, or other business application data. The end result is more effective collaboration as task switching and data digging are nearly eliminated.

Cognitive Collaboration fosters deeper relationships with your team and customers as it:

  • Provides contextual insights and people profiles
  • Reduces meeting technology friction points
  • Delivers personalized, integrated experiences
  • Strengthens employee and team engagement
  • Easily identifies relevant work connections with the people and teams

How will cognitive collaboration improve the way I work?

Cognitive collaboration removes friction points and provides contextual intelligence throughout your collaboration experience. For example, cognitive collaboration provides relationship intelligence which gives you information like biographies, work history, titles and reporting structure and facial recognition provides in-meeting name labels to help you know who’s who in the room. Digital assistants help you easily carry out collaboration related tasks like joining a meeting, calling a contact and recording a call, and can proactively reach out when a meeting is about to start.

Cognitive collaboration extends throughout the collaboration platform so whether you’re in a meeting using a conferencing device, collaborating in a team space or making a call, you’re armed with the just-in-time information you need to take your collaboration efforts to the next level.