Since the dawn of time, communication has been among the essential functions of humans. It’s the foundation for sharing information, allowing us to transfer ideas and feelings, interact with society, educate, entertain, and understand the world. It plays a vital role in our personal and business lives. While the traditional means of business communication have cut it in the past, there has been a shift in our culture.
A mainstay of business communication has been the phone system. However, traditional office phone systems aren’t answering the call anymore. Unified Communications (UC) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) have emerged as leading business communication technologies, but what are UC and UCaaS, and how will they benefit my business?
What Is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications (UC) refers to the equipment, software, and services that combine multiple enterprise communication channels. The most common examples of UC include voice, video (one-to-one and multi-participant), messaging (individual and team), collaboration, and content sharing. It also provides management, control, and integration of the channels. The primary benefits of UC include increased productivity, efficiency, and simplicity.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is one of the better-known terms in the “everything-as-a-service economy.” Unified communications have been around for quite some time, but the as-a-service model has made this technology more accessible to the masses. UC and UCaaS provide similar offerings. However, what separates the two is that UCaaS is offered by a provider. When it comes to UC, the equipment and service are the business’s responsibility, including up-front expenses, maintenance upgrades, and security. With UCaaS, your provider is responsible for all of this.
Now that we understand the difference, what exactly is UCaaS?
What is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)?
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is widely considered as the future of business communications. It’s defined by Gartner as a cloud-delivered unified communications model that supports the UC functions we discussed above.
With UCaaS, the provider owns, operates, and maintains the infrastructure and delivers applications from a platform, but how does that benefit the consumer? The top UCaaS benefits include the following:
- No hardware costs
- Unified services
- Phone systems are hosted online and are typically charged on a usage basis
- Integrated tools and applications
- Reduced IT workload
- Managed security updates
- Scale quickly
- Simple user setup
- Free calls & text messages
- Unlimited support
As was mentioned above, UC is nothing new, but UCaaS has made its mark over the past decade. It has solidified itself as the solution for the hybrid and remote work models. Below, we’ll discuss its features.
What Are the Features of UCaaS?
Core UCaaS features include the following:
- Voice: Phone service including, voicemail, call recording, call routing, and call forwarding.
- Messaging: Real-time chat for individuals and groups.
- Video: Individual or multi-participant video conferencing,
- Collaboration: Team messaging, file sharing, scheduling, and project management.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that UCaaS is becoming the standard throughout the business world. Customer interest in UCaaS skyrocketed during the pandemic to 86 percent, and as more companies choose to reduce office space and move toward remote or hybrid work models, it’s prompting these organizations to seek UCaaS solutions.
Now that we understand UCaaS and its features, how does it work?
How Does UCaaS Work?
Simply put, UCaaS streamlines business communication by integrating voice, text, video conferencing and collaboration into one solution. Since it works over the internet, you don’t have to worry about anything else. Providers oversee system availability and security, hardware and software purchases, configuration and upgrades, troubleshooting and overall system functionality, which allows the end-user to be free of worry and focus on their work.
The core of UCaaS’ voice functionality is known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology that enables individuals to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a traditional analog phone line. VoIP technology converts your voice into digital signals that travel across the internet. If you contact a standard phone number, the signal is then changed over to a regular telephone signal prior to reaching its destination.
Since UCaaS is handled by a provider, users can place calls without worrying about the infrastructure, allowing teams to work from anywhere using apps on their laptops and cell phones. UCaaS is a simple and affordable option that businesses must consider as the landscape changes and the new era arrives.
Businesses of all sizes can significantly benefit by adopting or by switching to UCaaS. Its flexible and cloud-based nature allows a company to avoid the initial expenses attributed to setting up more advanced communication strategies By making the transition to UCaaS, you’ll tap into the best and most disruptive business communications technology available today.
Now that we know what UCaaS is and how it works, can it help my business? The answer is a resounding yes! It certainly can help your business, but how?
How Will UCaaS Benefit My Business?
Considering UCaaS for your business shouldn’t be an overly complex or challenging decision to make. We’ve witnessed the influx of workers demanding remote jobs. A recent LinkedIn survey found that while less than 20 percent of all job listings on the platform were for remote positions, they received more than 50 percent of the applications. So, what does this mean? You must ensure your technology is up-to-date to attract and retain top talent, and give your employees the flexibility to work hybrid or remotely. The workforce has spoken – adopting UCaaS gives you an edge over those unwilling to pivot.
UCaaS gives workers the tools they need, and since it’s a cloud-based service, it saves you from issues that can arise from a system that you own, maintain, and have to upgrade yourself.
UCaaS Enables Remote and Hybrid Work
Conventional phone systems do not provide workers with the flexibility to work remotely full-time or in a hybrid role. Not only would it be challenging, but it’d be costly to implement a traditional phone system to work this way. Remote workers of the world have acclimated to modern, integrated communications platforms to conduct their job and would expect the same from their new or existing employer.
UCaaS Benefits Business by Reducing Costs
If reduced costs caught your attention, you’re going to like this one – customers can save big by switching over to UCaaS and the cloud. It’s far less expensive and offers significantly more value than premise-based phone systems and infrastructure. Your business can also save on operational costs by drastically reducing office space, utilities, and service contracts. UCaaS reduces both your communications budget and your overall cost of doing business.
If the objective is to reduce cost, you’re on the right path. All you need to make this happen is a high-speed internet connection for clear video conferencing, phone service, messaging, and collaboration, which, if you operate a business, you already have in the office.
UCaaS Benefits Business with Time Savings
We all know that time is money, especially if you’re a business owner. One thing you can be sure about is that UCaaS saves you both time and money. It saves you time because the provider takes charge of all maintenance, security, compliance, and functionality, allowing you to focus on what matters the most – growing your company to heights once unimaginable. UCaaS also saves your employees time due to its simplicity and efficiency. With all of your communications in a single place, you have more efficient workflows and software integrations that tie into existing processes, equating to more straightforward, optimized communications.
UCaaS Benefits Business with Scalability
When you decide that UCaaS is right for your business, you’ll find that scaling your communications solution up or down is simpler than you ever dreamt of before transitioning to a new system. You can add or remove users when you implement UCaaS on a pay-per-user basis with ease, which is ideal for growing businesses or those in unpredictable markets.
What Should My UCaaS Provider Offer?
So now you’re ready to switch to a cloud-based business communications system, but you’re not sure what to look for in a UCaaS provider. Who you choose matters, and your new provider should offer the following:
- Features: The UCaaS solution your new provider offers should include a range of features — this means the basics of voice, video, and messaging, and also additional features like file sharing, team chat, collaboration tools, and more. They should also offer optional add-ons for more capabilities.
- Integrations: Look for someone who offers a solution that includes software integrations to get the most out of your investment. It’s crucial that your new system works with important third-party business applications, and it should have compatible integrations and API support.
- High-quality and reliable service: With a cloud communications solution, service quality and uptime are critical necessities. It’s vital that your new system performs at or above industry standards without interruption. Your provider should ensure this in their service agreement.
- Ease of setup and ease of use: Not all of us are tech experts, and that’s okay. If installation is a concern, look for a provider who offers implementation, onboarding and training services. If you choose to install your new system yourself, it should be reasonably simple to set up. However, if you run into trouble, the provider you choose must offer live support with a team of engineers that can solve your problems right away without skipping a beat.
- Security and compliance: Depending on your business, you must ensure that the UCaaS solution you choose can meet your company’s needs. Before committing, confirm that the provider can host your call media in a secure data center. The provider should also guarantee PCI and GDPR compliance.
- Reviews: What customers say about a business matters. Check trusted websites to determine the provider’s ratings and reviews. Are they mostly positive? Do notable brands trust them?
Crexendo Offers America’s Fastest-Growing UCaaS Platform
We’ve discussed the benefits of UCaaS and what it can do for your business, but what makes Crexendo different? We have unmatched knowledge in the telecom industry. We’re currently the fastest-growing UCaaS platform in the United States, and our cloud-based business solutions support over two and a half million users globally.
Our award-winning Crexendo VIP Platform is backed by our industry-leading 100% Uptime Guarantee. Crexendo offers award-winning U.S.-based customer service and support and a lifetime customer warranty on all Crexendo devices. And to top it off, you can get all this for up to 55% less than a traditional premise-based phone system.
So, when you’re ready to switch to a superior cloud-based business communications solution, don’t waste time by putting your hard-earned business profits in the hands of a UCaaS provider that can’t match our offering. You don’t have to take our word for it; see what our happy customers have to say about us.
Give the award-winning Crexendo VIP cloud platform for business communications a try by scheduling your free demo here.