What is Unified Communications As A Service?
UCaaS stands for Unified Communications as a Service. The service boasts many cloud-based services that are beneficial to businesses. You can learn of some of its advantages and create a strategy for unified communication.
What are the Advantages of UCaaS?
When UCaaS technologies were first introduced, small businesses were the first adopters. This makes sense since smaller companies typically have less staff and limited resources to maintain and support on-premises communications. Over time, larger companies have begun to see the advantages of streamlining their UC services and supporting multiple locations, including global communications. However, avoiding the capital expenditures and operational costs of on-premises UC remains the primary advantage of UCaaS. Shared cloud call centers cost less than installing the infrastructure for a full PBX service.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about outdated equipment as your business grows since the UCaaS provider is responsible for replacing a feature. You save on hiring IT specialists because maintenance issues are also handled by the vendor. UCaaS can be customized for your business needs, allowing you to choose the amount of service that fits your company, scaling up or down as things change.
In addition to lower costs, other benefits include:
- Better disaster recovery – Disaster recovery capabilities are one of the most persuasive reasons to consider UCaaS. Think about the importance of uninterrupted communications to your business. While large companies can build redundancy into their systems, this can be cost-prohibitive for smaller enterprises or those with tight budgets. Because it’s cloud based, UCaaS users have access to communications from any location, eliminating the need for redundancy.
- Rapid service deployment – On-premise solutions can take months, even years to roll out company-wide. Upgrades can take just as long. With UCaaS, a new feature or service can be available to all employees immediately.
- Greater employee mobility – Cloud-based systems provide access from anywhere, at any time, solving what is often referred to as the “BYOD” (bring your own device) challenge. UCaaS offers connectivity to smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices.
- Improved team collaboration – With features like audio and video conferencing, and interoperability between devices, employees can connect from any location.
- Enhanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Contact center capabilities, interactive voice response, call routing and other features make building relationships with customers easier, while seamlessly integrating these interactions with your CRM software.
- Centralized management – One of the more significant challenges in managing any kind of premise-based application is scaling the administrative functions, which can include setting up new users, applying patches or updating features. Depending on the architecture of the on-premises solution, these tasks need to be repeated many times. Administrative tasks are centralized so more can get done and still be confident that the changes will take place company-wide.
Control and Support Concerns
While more large companies are moving to UCaaS, they still lag behind small- to mid-sized organizations. The reason for their hesitancy is control—larger organizations cite the need for more control over their UC. Another concern is support for global markets, such as China or India, where many large enterprises do business. And finally, some large companies don’t believe cloud providers meet regulatory or security requirements.
In response, UCaaS vendors are expanding their reach and offering customized services through multi-tenant or multi-instance architectures. More robust platforms are continually being introduced.
In the meantime, many large companies that have made the move have found that cloud communications are an important part of ERP (enterprise resource planning). And, because it is scalable and flexible, UCaaS allows enterprises to design the best possible business models with maximum cost savings.
UCaaS also supports remote workers, which is a growing trend in business (83% of businesses expect an increase in the number of remote employees over the next five years). Not only does it allow for more mobility, it provides a more reliable user experience for remote and mobile workers since access to UCaaS features are consistent regardless of location.
And, for companies that need to quickly add and remove users, such as seasonal or temporary employees, UCaaS offers greater scalability and flexibility without major infrastructure changes.
Potential Risks Associated with UCaaS
Of course, UCaaS is not all “sunshine and roses.” As with all tech applications, there are both pros and cons to consider. The primary risks associated with UCaaS include:
- Concerns over security and confidentiality due to increased sharing of information.
- Limited interoperability with current infrastructure.
- Lack of ready-to-use UCaaS solutions.
There are potential “fail points,” such as Internet connections, firewalls and wireless access points that may be password protected. However, working with a service provider can minimize problems and ensure a smooth experience from installation to continued use.
The cost of migration is not considered a disadvantage of UCaaS. That’s because reports show that UCaaS costs are typically equal to or slightly less expensive than on-premises UC systems.
So, if you want to simplify communications management and responsibilities; reduce the time spent managing and maintaining your on-premises system; create a cohesive single-platform system while maximizing budgets and resources; and improve communications productivity, UCaaS is your solution and the future of communication.