The state of business and its operations has changed significantly in recent memory, but those changes have become more pronounced over the past couple of years. Since the pandemic swept the globe, a shift to cloud communications has become the standard by which modern organizations orchestrate business. With Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), teams can stay connected from wherever, whenever, but knowing what to look for in a provider is critical to ensuring this transition is successful. For that reason, you need to know what to consider when choosing a UCaaS provider.
Cloud communications have become one of the most widely adopted business services, specifically UCaaS. According to UC Today, UCaaS is currently among the fastest-growing technologies in the world and is considered the future of business communication. A substantial number of businesses are taking advantage of UCaaS offerings, including time savings, increased employee productivity, and to reduce overall costs.
Today, interest in UCaaS is soaring, and many businesses are looking to take advantage of its benefits, meaning that it’s critical to find a provider that works for your organization.
What Is UCaaS?
UCaaS, short for Unified Communications as a Service, is viewed as the future of business communications. It’s defined as a cloud-delivered unified communications model that supports unified communication functions. A UCaaS provider is responsible for managing, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure and delivering applications from their platform. There are many benefits to consumers, including the following:
- Time savings
- Reduced costs
- Offer Hybrid and remote work options
- Increased efficiency
- Improved worker productivity
With an estimated 36.2 million Americans working remotely by 2025, an 87 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels, the demand for UCaaS platforms continues to sizzle. While many believed these figures would cool off as we put the pandemic in our rearview mirrors, employees have made one thing abundantly clear – flexibility matters. If your business doesn’t adopt flexible work options, it could be detrimental to its future growth. Why else is UCaaS important for your business?
Why Is UCaaS Important for Your Business?
When transitioning to UCaaS, you automatically set up your business with access to dynamic voice and collaboration tools from any device, at any time, no matter the physical location. These tools enable your team to conduct their work more efficiently wherever they are, whether that’s at home, on the road, or in the office. If your organization is looking to diversify its workforce by adding high-quality workers from across the globe, the adoption of UCaaS will help your organization achieve these positive changes.
With UCaaS, your business can increase productivity while saving money. It might sound too good to be true, but UCaaS lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO). How? UCaaS combines voice and data applications into one system, streamlining communications and reducing the overall cost of on-site communications budget through minimal IT support requirements. Providers oversee system security and availability, hardware and software purchases, troubleshooting, and configuration, allowing the end-user to be free of costs for these and the associated worry.
UCaaS equips your entire team with the communications tools necessary to complete their workload. Since it’s a cloud-based service, your team can communicate in real time, ensuring they never skip a beat– but what else does UCaaS do to help your business?
- UCaaS enables remote and hybrid work
- UCaaS improves operational efficiency
- UCaaS saves your employees time and increases their productivity
- UCaaS helps your business become more scalable
Now that we understand why UCaaS is vital to remaining competitive and keeping the clients, employees, and owners happy, knowing how to choose the right UCaaS provider will prove to be a critical junction.
How to Choose the Right UCaaS Provider
According to Frost & Sullivan, the cloud will become the preferred technology consumption model by 2024 in North America, meaning now is time to make the switch.
When choosing a UCaaS provider for your organization you need one who offers a solution with features that your business needs. So, the first thing you need to identify is what your business needs from its communication system. Make a list – everything from the number of users, to where your business locations are, what will make your team more productive and your business more efficient. From there, you can look for the system features that work best for your organization.
Key features of a UCaaS solution include the following:
- Call Transfer
- Call Forwarding
- Conference Calling
- Advanced Call Management
- Call Logging
- Call Recording
- Call Center Features
- Group messaging
- One-to-One Meetings
- Videoconferencing (Group Meetings)
- Document sharing
- Team Chat
- Centralized workflows
- Software integrations
Different providers will offer different UCaaS solutions, and different UCaaS solutions will include different combinations of features. The comparison is not always apples to apples, so you’ll need to pay attention to what’s included as you do your research. To follow are some specific things to look for as you look for a UCaaS provider for your business.
Look at the Provider’s Solution and Included Features
If your business has various locations across the United States or abroad, collaboration must be simple for your team across all channels. Compare your list of business communications needs with what the provider’s solution includes. How do the phone, messaging, video, and other collaboration features work? Are they simple to navigate and use? Will they save your team time, increase productivity, and make it easier to work together? Will the provider’s solution make your business more efficient? Will your new system enable you to serve your customers better? Will it help grow your business?
Look for Installation, Onboarding and Training Services
You don’t need to be a tech expert to adopt UCaaS into your business. However, we understand that you might be intimidated by the implementation process of a new system. If that’s the case, it’s imperative that you ask your new provider about installation, onboarding and training services. If you can’t or don’t want to install the system yourself, ask your new provider about installation services. Ask them about the process and if they handle it directly or through a third party. If you decide to install your system yourself, make sure they have customer support available should you run into an issue. They should have an onboarding process to make sure the transition to your new system goes smoothly. And the provider should have training available to teach you how to set up and use their system.
Look for Ease of Administration, Scalability and Flexibility
There is a lot to look for when considering a UCaaS provider, but ease of administration, scalability, and flexibility are vital. Ease of administration enables your business to easily add, delete, manage users, run reports, and manage your entire system. A web-based/internet portal that is simple to use, operate, and navigate is essential. You’re looking to streamline workflows and increase productivity, so look for a system that is easy to manage.
The following important consideration is scalability – with an outdated system, there are many challenges with scalability. Look for a UCaaS provider that makes scalability simple. For example, if you only need to add five new users but a plan requires you to add 15, you’ll be paying for ten extra lines! Cloud-based solutions allow you to scale the system to your current need and never pay for users you don’t need. This process can be handled through a web-based portal.
Lastly, you look for a UCaaS provider that offers flexibility in how they build and use their communications networks. They must design a network to fit your needs and budget.
Look for Security and Compliance
Depending on the type of your business you operate, you must ensure that the UCaaS provider will meet all of your organization’s needs before committing. This includes security and compliance. You must confirm the provider can host your call media in a secure data center. You should also confirm they offer the following:
- Secure data center
- Safe and secure calls
- Encrypted data
- User access permissions and controls
- Tracking fraudulent activity
- Increasing network security
- Compliance with regulatory and federal statutes
Look for Software Integrations
Another factor to consider is what software integrations are included in the provider’s UCaaS solution. Integrations allow the communications system to work with other business software applications to execute specific functions, including automated email marketing, customer service and support tasks, e-commerce facilitation, and more. They also enable applications to share information and automate repetitive tasks.
Look for Reliable Service & High Quality
It’s important to look for a UCaaS provider that believes in giving its customers the best service possible and offers what’s known as the “five nines,” which translates to a 99.999 percent (five nines) uptime level service agreement. A 99.999 percent uptime SLA means that you can expect less than six minutes of downtime over the course of a year with your service. Should the provider fail to deliver this reliable service, you’ll be compensated for it. You should also look for a provider whose service is hosted in multiple data centers, which provides levels of redundancy. If one data center goes offline, another backup data center takes over the delivery of service.
In addition to reliability, you must look for excellent call quality. If you’re trying to explain the benefits of your business to a potential customer, you must convey the message accurately, which is impossible to do with a low-quality system. Fortunately, with the right UCaaS provider, your business will benefit from crisp call quality that doesn’t lag or drop out when you’re connected to the internet. It’ll help your remote workers that call in for internal meetings, as well as your sales team when they’re trying to close a deal.
Look for a UCaaS Provider with Positive Reviews
A UCaaS provider that has negative reviews is a red flag. It’s important to read reviews and seek recommendations from a provider with positive reviews – it’s a solid indicator that they’re offering good service. You should also look for a provider that offers a system demo to ensure what they offer fits your business needs.
Why Should My Business Adopt UCaaS?
If your business is struggling with an outdated communications platform, UCaaS is the solution. If you’ve experienced a sharp rise in costs, a noticeable drop in productivity, or the inability to scale your business with your antiquated system, adopting UCaaS can solve these problems. Your employees will flourish, which will immediately carry over to the business as a whole.
Businesses that adopt UCaaS have proven success, which is defined as higher-than-average ROI for collaboration purchases. By switching to a UCaaS platform, you will successfully meet company objectives with increased productivity and streamlined workflows, all while enjoying high quality. Fortunately, UCaaS also supports the remote and hybrid workforce, which continues to grow.
A recent study from Gartner found that remote and hybrid work wasn’t some temporary trend – it’s here to stay. Gartner found that 75 percent of hybrid or remote knowledge workers’ expectations have changed since the start of the pandemic. The same study shows that if an organization were to demand its employees return to the office full-time, they risk losing up to 39 percent of their workforce. One of the many benefits of UCaaS is retaining and attracting top-tier talent. Adopting UCaaS allows your business to keep its employees happy by offering flexibility.
If you’re looking to remain competitive, attract top-tier global talent, cut costs, increase productivity, and provide your team with flexible work options, these are all important steps in the search for a UCaaS provider. However, if you’re ready to make the switch over to UCaaS, learn more about how Crexendo® can help.
Consider the Fastest-Growing UCaaS Provider for Your Business
We’ve mentioned the benefits of UCaaS and how it’ll save your business money, time and improve productivity, but how is Crexendo® different? Our staff has unmatched knowledge in the business communications industry, we’re currently the fastest-growing UCaaS platform in the United States, and our solutions support over 2.5 million users globally!
Crexendo®’s VIP™ Platform has won countless awards over the past several years and is backed by our industry-leading 100% Uptime Guarantee. Crexendo® provides award-winning U.S.-based customer service and support and a lifetime customer warranty on all Crexendo® devices. To make the deal even sweeter, you can get all this for up to 55% less than a traditional premise-based phone system.
If your organization is ready to move its business communications to a superior, cloud-based UCaaS 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. Now you know what’s needed from a UCaaS provider, and Crexendo® checks off all those boxes. But don’t take our word for it; see what our happy customers have to say about us.
Give our award-winning VIP cloud platform for business communications a try by scheduling your free demo here.