Too Many Tickets, Too Little Time

Resolving UCaaS and SaaS problems is too slow and too costly—unless you have a vendor-independent troubleshooting solution.

Hands on laptop reviewing analysis report

With the growing proliferation of unified-communications-and-collaboration-as-a-service (UCaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, it is little wonder IT teams are facing an increasing number of trouble tickets related to these solutions. Dropped calls, delays in joining meetings, and poor video and audio quality are the most frequent culprits behind these tickets.

As reported in a recent blog, NETSCOUT’s annual UCaaS survey revealed that UCaaS platforms were responsible for 37 percent of help desk or trouble tickets between 2023 and 2024 in more than half of the respondents’ companies. 39 percent of those surveyed indicated SaaS issues account for between 25 and 50 percent of help desk or trouble ticket issues.

The survey found that for 72 percent of respondents, it takes their organization a few hours to as much as a week to resolve UCaaS issues, while 71 percent indicated it takes the same to resolve SaaS-related issues.  The fact that less than a third of trouble tickets for UCaaS (27 percent) and SaaS (29 percent) can be quickly resolved is an unacceptable situation for business continuity and productivity.

Bar Chart depicting resolution percentage of SaaS Problems versus UCaaS Problems

Outages Can Cost Business Big Time

Extended downtime with UCaaS and SaaS solutions can be disastrous for any business. In fact, in last year’s UCaaS survey, 96 percent of respondents stated that user experience issues with UCaaS had a direct impact on platform value.

Lengthy outages of these vital solutions have real-world implications. For example, when a contact center is unavailable for a few hours, customers feel the impact when they can’t make a purchase, or pay a bill, or execute a stock trade. Imagine a patient not being able to get questions answered about test results and prescription side effects.

No industry is immune. A UCaaS platform outage could result in a law firm being unable to work on a case, thus losing valuable billable-hour productivity and revenue. Another example might be the inability to have customers report a power outage, which then results in delayed repairs that keep customers in the dark longer. And as we all know, restoring service quickly is imperative for energy companies to distribute power to customers. After all, it’s only when residents and businesses consume power that utilities can collect revenue.

SaaS platform outages present similar risks, with impacts that vary depending on the industry and on whether those platforms are used by employees and/or customers directly. For instance, when customer resource management (CRM) applications have an issue in retail or manufacturing, agents and sales representatives are unable to open customer records, which can directly affect revenue-generating activities. This is similar to electronic medical records apps used in healthcare for patients—a hospital’s customers if you will. The impact in that sector is even more acute because it affects patient care and treatment, which are profoundly affected by the speed of information reaching doctors and staff.  Slowdowns or outages can literally be a life-or-death matter.

An important part of the research in this year’s survey was focused on the UCaaS-related outages. 97 percent experienced at least one major UCaaS incident or outage in 2023 lasting a few hours and affecting broad functionality. It was noteworthy to see more than 50 percent indicated their organization had experienced four or more outages in the past week (see circle graph).

Circle graph with UCaas Related outages

Beyond the aforementioned impacts, outages have proven to be quite costly for businesses. 64 percent of survey respondents estimated outage-associated losses of at least $10,000 in sales and productivity. For larger enterprise businesses, 47 percent of those with annual revenue of more than $10 billion estimated losses of $100,000 to $1 million or more.

Chart showing annual revenue losses

Time to Resolve Remains Woefully Slow

The NETSCOUT survey found that for one in four companies, these platform issues took at least a few days for IT teams to resolve. Time to resolve has remained a stubbornly troublesome issue with little change over the past few years. An average of 55 percent of survey respondents stated it still took a few hours at minimum to troubleshoot problems. This lack of progress suggests a new approach is needed.

In fairness to IT, the complexity of UCaaS and SaaS tools makes it exponentially more difficult to deal with disruptions and outages. With multiple vendors involved, and a very high number of UCaaS- and SaaS-specific tools being used to pinpoint problems that often lie within the vendor-hosted environment, it’s obvious why IT lacks the control and visibility needed to identify and then deal with problems.

Adding to the challenge, the UCaaS and SaaS vendor environments are just a small portion of the overall communications ecosystem that includes multiple WAN access methods and vendors, internet providers, colocation sites, physical office buildings using ethernet or Wi-Fi, and so forth. Having to monitor such complex environments with a bushel basket of tools is a tall order for any IT team—and one that is unlikely to yield the insights needed to get to the root of any problems.

Instead of relying on vendor-only tools, a vendor-independent monitoring solution—one that can troubleshoot issues with applications anywhere in the infrastructure—is sorely needed. The alternative approach will only rule out parts of the network versus pinpointing the true source of the problem.

A Smarter Approach to Network and Application Performance Management

Being able to spot problems anywhere within the infrastructure is key to ensuring network and application performance and ultimately the best end-user experience. Vendor-independent monitoring tools offer a smart approach to monitoring traffic throughout the overall communications ecosystem. With such tools, IT can evaluate crucial quality metrics, such as mean opinion scores (MOS), latency, packet loss, and jitter, as well as see quality-of-service (QoS) class assignments, both inbound and outbound.  Armed with end-through-end visibility, teams can pinpoint the true root cause of problems, which is essential to rapidly resolving them. Having this kind of extensive visibility eliminates the tendency to finger-point because vendors can now be presented with definitive proof that the problems lie within their platform.

Vendor-independent tools offer tremendous value by helping IT with the vital task of network and application performance management. When it comes to assuring the performance of UCaaS and SaaS solutions, simply relying on vendor-specific tools is a recipe for failure. Taking a newer, smarter approach to monitoring your infrastructure is the best way to be certain you are getting the most out of UCaaS and SaaS solutions.

Learn more about the true cost of outages from the responses of IT professionals in our comprehensive report “UCaaS and Today’s Enterprise: The True Cost of Outages and Help Desk Support.