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What is UCaaS? The Definitive Guide to Unified Communications
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the future of phone systems. UCaaS integrates voice, video, text messaging, and other communication services into one platform. As a result, it saves businesses money while increasing productivity and customer satisfaction.
What is UCaaS?
Unified Communication as a Service is an evolution of cloud computing that allows businesses to replace their traditional desktop phones with UCaaS based web applications such as Skype for Business or Google Voice.
UCaaS provides business applications by hosting them on the Internet rather than installing them locally or in your data center. The UCaaS platform is only accessible through web portals and can’t be used with traditional desk phones UCaaS follows UC policies. UCaaS vendors now offer a wide variety of functions designed to improve your experience and streamline your workflows.
How does UCaaS Work?
UCaaS delivers business applications by hosting them on the Internet rather than installing them locally or in your data center. UCaaS adds features that make it easy for you to manage calls and contacts: hostess transfer capabilities so that you can communicate with every UCaaS user. UCaaS does not provide personal lines or trunks, and UCaaS cannot issue phone numbers of its own. UCaaS is designed to connect two other parties. UCaaS applications are deployed on-premises in the office environment instead of hosted by a cloud service provider outside the enterprise perimeter UCaaS is hard to secure.
UCaaS cloud services provide communication services that comprise unified communications over Internet Protocol. UCaaS data centers are located in more than 180 countries and offer local language support, making them great for companies that want a reliable solution at an affordable price.
UCaaS vs. CPaaS
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) are two different options that service providers offer to their customers. The main difference between UCaaS and CPaaS is Call Control. UCaaS handles both voice and video, while CPaaS only handles voice.
UCaaS is the latest technology trend that provides a company’s employees with on-demand access to phone services, IM, video conference, chat, and mobility features whereas CPaaS is a solution for companies who do not want to invest in infrastructure equipment but want to install an on-premise system that can support business requirements.
Additionally, UCaaS is a cloud hosted app, whereas CPaaS is an installed app that resides on your server.
Another difference between UCaaS and CPaaS is that UCaaS can be accessed with any device and doesn’t need an extra app to be installed on the user’s phone while CPaaS requires the installation of a client on the user’s device.
UCaaS provides centralization and control over all the business lines and communication channels. CPaaS doesn’t.
Besides the differences mentioned above, UCaaS and CPaaS are different in terms of their service models. UCaaS solutions are offered as a service based on the SaaS (Software as a Service) model while CPaaS is delivered using the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model.
What are the benefits of Unified Communications?
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is simply one of the latest terms to hit the Unified Communications market. The concept is designed to cut costs and remove complexity for businesses looking to provide high-quality communication solutions for their organizations without dealing with installation, management, and maintenance issues that come with in-house systems.
Businesses are saving money on all fronts by opting into this new model for communications: hardware, operations, and support. With UCaaS transition, you will save money on energy bills since it will allow you to connect from anywhere in the world using any device.
The benefits of unified communication are many which include
Unified communication integrates VoIP and further includes text, video, and data into one seamlessly working platform. UCaaS integration benefits several corporate applications, including CRMs, customer service, productivity, and data storage and management. According to IHS Markit, 60% of organizations consider voice integration necessary. As a result, integrated communications services improve corporate efficiency and production.
UCaaS platforms can also make your business more efficient, as call center employees will be spending less time transferring calls and dealing with multiple telephone lines. Not only could you accomplish this by using just one number for all incoming calls, but there are other features that you may enjoy to improve the way you communicate through a UCaaS solution.
3. Single Solution
Communication is vital for business success, and unified communication puts all these types of communication under one umbrella so that users experience only one solution. In addition, with so much going on in a day, efficiency helps make business more manageable than before. In addition, unified services help businesses construct and manage virtual office solutions that meet their business needs.
4. Cost Savings
Businesses today are searching for cost savings wherever they can find them, especially when it comes to operations that already have existing resources or funds allocated toward them. Unified communication provides many ways to save money while still offering an effective way to run your company’s communications system.
5. Redundancy and Improved Reputation
UCaaS pros, in addition to personal communication benefits like improved sales and collaboration, is that companies can improve their reputation while saving money. Unified communications systems outperform on-premise PBXs in many ways. For example, on-site gear is susceptible to theft, human error, and calamities like fires, floods, and power outages. For business continuity, cloud-based communications solutions provide several redundancy options that improve service and data integrity.
What are the pros of UCaaS?
UCaaS pros, in addition to personal communication benefits like improved sales and collaboration, is that companies can improve their reputation while saving money.
The Pros of UCaaS are:
- Reduce the complexity in your telecommunication network as it takes advantage of new services and applications in a centralized way.
- UCaaS can be implemented rapidly by replacing existing PBX with UCaaS server.
- Speed of deployment is less than a traditional IP PBX solution because no on-premise servers are required.
- Enhanced security for conferencing technology allows for built-in security measures that protect sensitive conversations and data from unauthorized access.
- Centralized alarm management through several carrier connections increases redundancy and improves service to end-users.
- Save money due to reduced need for extra equipment such as servers, MPLS connections, etc.
The perks of UCaaS are many, but there are also some drawbacks. For example, if your business relies heavily on phone calls, the convenience of UCaaS could be of concern when compared to traditional telephony.
What are the cons of UCaaS?
There are few disadvantages of UCaaS Networking equipment; bandwidth and infrastructure are not an issue with this solution as it relies on your Internet connection.
Of course, UCaaS is not perfect. As with every tech product, there are benefits and drawbacks. UCaaS risks include:
- Increased information exchange raises concerns about security and privacy.
- Limitations of present infrastructure.
- Absence of ready-to-use UCaaS.
Best practices for a successful UCaaS transition
Best Practices are crucial for a successful UCaaS transition, and must be considered from the beginning to have a successful transition from legacy voice systems to UCaaS. The Best Practices to be implemented in UCaaS are as follows:
1. Create communication roadmaps
It is crucial in unified communication to establish communication roadmaps to have a successful transition. Businesses that have created communication roadmaps regarding UCaaS can commit whether their goals are in line with the unified communication gaps of the business rather than just blindly committing without considering demographics and other essential factors.
2. Seek Input from all Departments
All departments should be involved in determining the best solution for your needs, including sales, marketing, management, and IT. In addition, communication is essential for building relationships within businesses, and it cannot happen if there is no open channel of information between departments.
3. Clearer definition
UCaaS works best when business requirements have precise definitions. Therefore, UCaaS business principles should be more explicit to help service providers and customers succeed.
4. Planning for the short and long terms
Focusing your strategy on the short term and long term is crucial to UCaaS success. UCaaS hardware and software needs can vary for each business, including desktop client solutions such as UC phones or UC chat, UC-based PBX, management of communications platforms, and UC storage options.
5. Proactive Quality and Performance Monitoring
Proactive call quality and performance monitoring may help fix difficulties and isolate issues that may negatively influence the customer experience due to the significant number of suppliers involved.
6. Assess and Test Throughout the Migration
Every step of the migration process should be assessed and tested for network readiness and quality. Another important job of the UC architect is to design the UC migration to be rolled back if something goes wrong or needs to be modified. There is nothing worse than having to rip and replace a UC system because of an issue that could have been spotted and corrected with more testing before moving to production.
What to look out for when choosing an UCaaS provider?
When choosing a UCaaS provider, you should first consider the services you require and how many users your business has. The number of users will determine whether it is better to go with a hosted UCaaS solution or an On-Premise UCaaS solution.
When choosing which UCaaS vendor works best for you, there are several features you need to consider. First, it’s all very well having a low price tag on your voice service, but this would have been an expensive mistake if the quality isn’t what you expected! Therefore, choose quality over price – after all, it’s better to have something you’re happy with than a cheap voice plan that leaves you frustrated.
Another feature you need to look out for is whether the UCaaS provider has a smartphone app available for iPhone and Android users alike. Again, this helps business owners save time as they can get more done in less time by using their smartphone with their UCaaS service provider. [UCaaS field tip: make sure your chosen UCaaS provider offers apps from both iOS and Android – not just one or the other.]
Imagine you want to hire more staff members in the future. In that case, you also need to think about how easy it would be to add them to your existing UCaaS package and if other features will be necessary to aid your UCaaS package.
Final Thoughts on UCaaS
UCaaS functions can add value to your business by improving your productivity and efficiency. The UCaaS industry is rapidly growing, and many businesses are looking for the best communication solution to manage their business needs. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find an effective, reliable system that will allow you to send messages across platforms easily. However, if this sounds like your challenge or wants more information about how unified communications might benefit your company, we have some helpful resources below.
As a leading expert in digital marketing, integrated campaigns and marketing strategies, Tim has led award-winning marketing communications teams for several communications companies. In addition to serving as the Director of Marketing for ULTATEL, he is also the Kansas City president for the American Marketing Association.