UCaaS for the Financial Industry

Posted by Chris Poupart on Feb 7, 2019
Chris Poupart
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Can Technology Leaders RingCentral, 8x8, and Mitel Meet The Challenge?

RingCentral, Mitel, and 8x8 are all heavyweight providers of UCaaS and contact center solutions. RingCentral made early 2019 headlines with its acquisition of contact center provider Connect First. Mitel is also on a roll, recently announcing 23% year-over-year growth in recurring clouds seats. And 8x8 just received the coveted TechTarget award for Cloud Communications solutions. But can these three technology leaders meet the many business challenges facing companies in the Financial Services industry?

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Financial Customers Demanding a Seamless, Digital Experience

Third-Party Application Integration Is Key

Customers used to digital, omnichannel retail experiences are pushing their financial institutions (FIs) for similar innovation. As a result, FIs must be able to leverage customer data and integrate third-party applications into their UCaaS and contact center solutions.

RingCentral easily integrates with popular applications such as Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and Dropbox. As well, RingCentral’s open platform and  suite of development tools simplify the integration of other, specialized financial applications. RingCentral also has over 400 integration partners and a dedicated coding team for onboarding new third-party applications.

Mitel boasts simplified application integration, citing NetSuite, Salesforce, and Outlook as typical examples.

Not to be outdone, 8x8 support a broad range of applications such as NetSuite, Hubspot, SAP, and SalesforceIQ. Additionally, 8x8 allows users to consolidate Gmail, Lync, Outlook, Office 365, Exchange, and 8x8 phone system contacts into the 8x8 Virtual Desktop.

Security Top of Mind For Financial Institutions

Financial Industry a Frequent Target For Cybercrime

Data and network security continue to be a top priority for FIs. According to the IBM 2018 Threat Intelligence Index, financial services has been the most-attacked industry for two years in a row, experiencing 17 percent of all cyber attacks and 27 percent of security incidents.

All three UCaaS providers have made significant investments in platform security and industry certifications to ensure the safety of their customer data.

8x8 is rated as ‘Enterprise-ready’ by the Skyhigh Networks CloudTrust™ program, and employs redundant, SSAE 16-certified data centers. 8x8 also holds multiple security certifications, including HIPAA, FISMA, PCI-DSS, and Privacy Shield Framework

RingCentral is certified by HITRUST. The company assists companies with achieving compliance to HIPPA regulations. RingCentral also maintains redundant SSAE 16 and ISO 27001-audited data centers, protected by multiple layers of electronic and physical security. It is rated as ‘Enterprise-ready’ by CloudTrust, and security-certified by a number of organizations, most notably the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Mitel has also deployed redundant data centers, with 14 located across the globe. In addition to holding various industry security certifications, Mitel uses industry standard HTTPS, SIP/SIPS (TLS) and sRTP (DTLS) connections for data, signaling and real-time media respectively — all to ensure secure communications and protect customer data.

Reducing Capital Costs

FIs Moving to Flexible Consumption Models

While many banks and financial institutions have been slow to adopt the cloud (preferring the control afforded by in-house infrastructure), many are now embracing the flexible OPEX-based models the cloud provides. Financial institutions are preserving capital for strategic initiatives while moving to consumption-based solutions for ‘run-the-business’ activities — including voice services and contact center provisioning.

All three of our highlighted UCaaS providers offer similar financial benefits to their financial institution customers:

Minimal Capital Outlay. Virtually no hardware purchases are required to adopt and roll out these UCaaS solutions. Working through the providers’ partner ecosystem, all solution components and requirements (e.g., design, deployment, network, management) can be consumed ‘as a service’ with virtually no capital requirements

Predictable Costs. With no initial capital expense, linear and predictable OPEX costs for these UCaaS solutions offer greater visibility for budgeting purposes. As well, costs are easier to isolate and assign to different divisions or business units. RingCentral, for example, has a Smart Billing feature that allows charges to be assigned down to the role or individual contributor level.

Scalability.  With no hardware to purchase or network facilities to order, these solutions can be quickly rolled out and scaled, providing greater speed and agility for financial institutions adding branches, creating new business units, or integrating new acquisitions. These UCaaS services can also scale up or down — important for companies who may need to increase or lower capacity on a temporary or seasonal basis.

Ease of Deployment

Enhanced Support For Branch Environments

Banking and Financial Institution branches are going through a radical transformation. Traditional brick and mortar branches are being reinvented as more full-service, customer-friendly environments, while satellite and ‘pop-up’ branches are becoming more common. Technology in the branch environment must be simple to install and configurable and manageable from a central location.

It’s important to note, however, that no UCaaS solution is completely ‘plug and play — branch deployments, in particular, require detailed headquarters planning, configuration, and staging prior to rollout. 

With that said, each of our three UCaaS solutions simplifies branch deployment and management. In a 2018 review, PC Magazine highlighted RingCentral’s straightforward branch implementation process, including its Quick Start guide and clear instructional videos. RingCentral also provides flexible, centralized management — administrators can manage branch devices from their smartphones, without the need to go into the office.

PC Magazine also praised 8x8’s easy setup — once preconfigured and drop-shipped handsets are installed, users simply log into the 8x8 Account Manager Portal to activate their station and all required features. 8x8’s Enterprise Management Platform provides a robust suite of tools for centralized management and reporting.

Mitel provides a complete, end-to-end managed service offer called TotalSolution (available in the U.S. only) that spans needs assessment, design, implementation, and management — all for a single monthly cost that is guaranteed for five years.

Reliability and Uptime

Business Continuity Critical for Financial institutions

Delivering on uptime requirements has always been an expensive proposition for the finance industry. Traditionally, premise-based systems were designed with high levels of redundancy, and comprehensive disaster recovery plans often meant maintaining offsite facilities.

Financial institutions are moving away from these capital-intensive approaches, and are instead looking to shift uptime and recovery responsibilities to cloud providers with purpose-built networks who can provide performance-based SLAs.

RingCentral uses geographically dispersed data centers combined with 24/7 monitoring to provide an available ‘five nines’ uptime SLA. It also employs multiple layers of physical and data security to prevent outages due to attack, and tests its disaster recovery capabilities numerous times a year.

8x8 takes a similar approach, touting its ‘distributed cluster architecture, data replication across data centers and core network redundancy for each element like power supplies and UPSs.’  8x8 boasts a ‘six nines’ (99.9999 percent) core uptime.

As a result, 8x8 offers a "Performance Assured" SLA that guarantees end-to-end VoIP service uptime, reliability, and call quality over any underlying broadband network the customer chooses.

Mitel leverages its multiple, redundant data centers and carrier-class network to deliver ‘five nines’ uptime. Mitel also provides an available SLA backed with ‘service availability credits’ should it not meet its documented performance requirements.

Meeting The Challenges of The Financial Industry

Three ‘Gartner Magic Quadrant’ Leaders — Three Strong Options

Financial Institution's evaluating a UCaaS solution will find that RingCentral, 8x8, and Mitel all offer compelling alternatives. While a particular feature or support for a specific application may be the determining factor in choosing one over the other, the capabilities of the integrator or managed service provider is a more likely differentiator. Financial institution may opt to engage an existing provider, or one with more expertise in industry-specific applications, or another with more locally available technical resources. As often is the case, the strengths of the integrator, not the technology, may win the day.

Download the UCaaS solutions comparison summary for finance 

To learn more about 8x8, RingCentral and Mitel's solutions for retail, request a demo with a Technical Solutions Engineer

 

Tags: UCaaS, verticals