UCaaS: 15 Benefits of Unified Communications as a Service
Communication and network management is central to all aspects of work performance. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based model that combines multiple communication channels in a single delivery mechanism. UCaaS solutions typically include cloud voice, video, text, and email services, along with advanced call center, conferencing, presence and collaboration tools. Cloud-based services make it easier for stakeholders to communicate and collaborate internally and externally across locations and timescales.
In order to be effective, UCaaS needs to be modern, comprehensive, and tightly integrated with other business services. UCaaS falls under the category of software as a service (SaaS), which can be differentiated from both infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). While IaaS is involved with hosted infrastructure and PaaS is involved with development platforms, SaaS is about the delivery of everyday applications and communications solutions.
Depending on the implementation, UCaaS solutions typically combine a cloud-based private branch exchange (PBX) for internal and external communications with additional digital tools. UCaaS is mostly synonymous with hosted voice, cloud voice, hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), hosted PBX, cloud PBX, and unified communications and collaboration (UCC). The adoption of UCaaS is likely to expand over the coming years as network speeds accelerate across the world.
- According to Fastmetrics, roughly three-quarters of global businesses have moved to a cloud-based service or platform.
- According to Transparency Market Research, the global virtual PBX market is anticipated to reach $14,368.4 million by 2026, at a growth rate of 15.3 percent between 2018 and 2026.
Let’s take a look at 15 benefits of UCaaS in the modern workplace:
1. Pay Per User
Phone systems hosted on the internet are typically charged on a usage basis. This means you pay for user space and bandwidth as it’s required. In addition, UCaaS phone systems hosted in the cloud provide access to multiple high-end features and upgrades, for minimal to no extra costs. Monthly fees are generally set per phone line, user or ‘seat’ by providers. The software nature of this type of system proves to be much more flexible and affordable over time.
2. No Hardware Costs
There are no hardware purchase costs associated with a UCaaS model, unless of course you require physical handsets or headsets for voice. UCaaS enables advanced functionality without the addition of expensive infrastructure. While leasing arrangements or add-on costs may be required for phones and other equipment, a leasing model enables businesses to adopt new technologies faster and scale operations more effectively without having to worry about initial expenses or outdated features.
3. Unified Services
UCaaS enables the complete integration of communications services. Common services include business voice and telephony; conferencing solutions for web, audio and video; email and unified messaging systems; instant team messaging; and dedicated desktop and web clients. Unified services help businesses to set up and manage virtual office solutions that align with their operational needs.
4. Integrated Tools & Apps
UCaaS helps to align key communications systems with common operating system tasks. With that, integrated communications systems are now included in most professional operating systems.
Many types of business applications benefit from UCaaS integration, including Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs), customer support, productivity, and data storage and management. According to IHS Markit, 60% of businesses view voice integration with business apps as critical. This goes to show that integrated communications services promote organizational efficiency and enhanced productivity.
5. Reduced IT Workload
While modern businesses have more power at their disposal than ever before, lack of integration can easily lead to complexity and increased workloads. UCaaS solutions help to streamline workflows and reduce IT workloads across your organization. For example, the ability to communicate effectively from any location allows IT staff to work faster. The ability to align data assets with messaging tools enables IT teams to work smarter. In addition, when UCaaS providers manage communications off-site, your IT staff can focus on higher-priority areas or projects. This lessens the load for IT teams.
6. Less Energy Costs
The global movement away from isolated hardware solutions, towards integrated software solutions helps to reduce energy costs. Also to promote environmental sustainability. Cloud-based communications systems use less equipment and consume less power, thanks to centralized management and economies of scale. Using less energy is good for the environment and great for your operational budget.
7. Managed Security Updates
Software communications solutions delivered over the cloud are much easier to manage and much faster to update. Rather than relying on manual security updates tied to specific hardware devices, you can benefit from automated and tightly managed security solutions. UCaaS providers offer security certificates, industry expertise, and dedicated security resources to help mitigate risk and ensure business continuity.
8. Scale Quickly
The ability to scale and grow is the aim of most businesses. Cloud-based communications services are easy to manage and extremely scalable compared to traditional on-site solutions. You can quickly add or remove applications, update telephony resources, and manage users based on access requirements and security. It’s also much easier to analyze workflows and improve functionality over time. This flexibility is a major benefit to any organization, especially during an expansion or seasonal shift.
9. Online Access
The ability to align with and manage online resources is a major advantage of UCaaS communications. The online nature of messaging and conferencing tools makes them available at any time and from any location. This offers tremendous productivity benefits and enables a range of off-site and remote work opportunities. According to a report from Buffer, 98% of workers would love to work remotely for at least some of the time. In a modern world increasingly defined by big data and global networks, online access to communications simply makes sense.
10. Easy User Setup
Online communications systems are uncomplicated to set up, easy to manage, and simple to access. Cloud vendors that specialize in UCaaS solutions can migrate your system quickly and efficiently with minimum disruption to your work schedule. Once your system is set up and ready to go, new users can be added quickly and new groups can be managed effectively without compromising on security or compliance. As people get more accustomed to cloud systems and unified communications, the inefficiencies of current systems will become more widely recognized and the barriers to entry will get even lower.
11. Free Calls & Texts
Unified communications solutions offer free calls and texts to domestic and international locations. UCaaS solutions treat communications like any other form of data, providing significant cost savings. According to Fastmetrics, the cost of operating a phone system can decrease by 60-90 percent with a virtual PBX. Monthly managed services are more cost-effective and versatile than traditional phone systems. The adoption of cloud business phone systems also negates the need for hardware maintenance, ongoing management and unnecessary administration.
12. More Features
Unified communications technology has a much broader feature set than standard communications tools, including a wealth of features related to administration and maintenance, online integration, enhanced scalability, and built-in security. Common features include softphones, online fax machines, mobile apps, unified messaging, video collaboration, voicemail messaging, wireless mobility, digital receptionists, conference management tools, and CRM integration. The always-on availability of these features allows instant communication from any device and location.
13. Presence Everywhere
Regardless of industry sector or business size, popular UCaaS solutions promote better availability and collaboration in the workforce. The right service can provide new ways to connect with teams and customers, as well as key insights regarding presence independent of location. For example, you can see who’s online at any given time and manage your own presence based on need, location or workplace function. Advanced presence features may even show where a person is or what they are doing, which makes it easier to manage complex projects or clients.
14. Unlimited Support
Ongoing and trusted support is an important part of any cloud-based solution. Any initial migration phase can be challenging without help or the right expertise. So, it’s important to ensure access to continuous support and documentation. Ongoing support mechanisms to look out for include fast response times, efficient collaboration tools, 24/7 availability, product guides, and training and education programs. Working with a cloud vendor that offers unlimited helpdesk support is the best way to benefit from UCaaS.
Unified communications solutions offer numerous benefits over on-site PBX solutions. On-site hardware solutions are vulnerable to intrusion, human error, and disasters, including fires, floods, and power failures. Cloud-based communications systems, on the other hand, offer a range of redundancy features to mitigate risk and promote business continuity. Off-site storage promotes service and data integrity. Automated or managed security and update features help to ensure operational efficiency. Cloud-based services eliminate reliance on a single location or piece of equipment. This provides ongoing benefits for years to come.
Digital communications represents the future of the modern business landscape. Cloud-based communications technology is more unified, better integrated, and much more efficient than traditional tools. If you need help migrating to a cloud-based platform or phasing in UCaaS services, please reach out to our friendly and supportive team.