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Windstream Briefs on Its Growing UCaaS Portfolio

On April 28, 2021, Windstream briefed Info-Tech on its unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) portfolio, which includes its primary pure cloud offering, OfficeSuite UC, alongside their other solutions powered by Avaya and Mitel. Windstream’s UCaaS solutions form part of a broader portfolio, which includes network and connectivity, security and compliance, and professional services. Windstream predominantly aims its UCaaS solutions to mid-sized US organizations, with particular verticals in retail, banking, healthcare, and hospitality.

Part of Windstream’s selling point is also being a network operator, providing customers with a single pain of glass for managed SD-WAN and network connectivity that powers OfficeSuite UC. OfficeSuite UC is aimed at businesses with up to 20,000 users and uses a pay-as-you-go model. Capabilities customers can expect from OfficeSuite UC include instant messaging, chat, presence, mobility, CRM integrations, and A/V conferencing. For the latter capability, Windstream uses its OfficeSuite HD Meeting solution, powered by Zoom.

However, OfficeSuite UC’s contact center capabilities are currently limited to voice-only and are aimed at centers with 500 or fewer seats. For larger organizations that want to leverage omnichannel capabilities, Windstream’s UCaaS solution powered by Avaya can meet those needs. For smaller organizations that want to leverage omnichannel capabilities, Windstream’s UCaaS solution powered by Mitel is better.

OfficeSuite UC has several key integrations, including with Salesforce, Office 365, G Suite and Google Assistant, Slack, Amazon Alexa, and more. In progress is Windstream’s leveraging of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa’s natural language processing capabilities for better contact center experiences and transcription services. Later this year, OfficeSuite UC also plans to add MMS, webinar conferencing, and be HIPAA HITECH Type 1 compliant.

Our Take

The benefit of Windstream’s UCaaS solution is that it is wrapped up in a larger value-add: Windstream is also the network operator. As such, mid-size organizations experiencing pain points with multi-vendor management for telephony, network, and contact center should consider shortlisting Windstream for unified coverage.

However, innovation in Windstream UCaaS capabilities is not as rapid as other market leaders in this space. For instance, MMS and webinar conferencing are capabilities still in Windstream’s roadmap stage, whereas these capabilities are largely market-standard at this point. While Windstream does not offer robust collaboration tools, their integration with Office 365 and Google Workspace offers an opportunity to tie telephony and collaboration together. As such, organizations ought to do a thorough requirements gathering exercise to ensure they are clear on the vision they want for their UCaaS solution. They will then be in a strong position to evaluate whether Windstream can meet those requirements.

SoftwareReviews' data quadrant for unified communications as a service.

Source: SoftwareReviews UCaaS Data Quadrant. Accessed 30 April 2021.

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