In today’s world, we are constantly communicating with each other and there are many different forms for these communications. We make phone calls and send emails and text messages like we have for many years. But we also communicate online via voice over IV (VoIP) conference calls and meetings, social media, chat and messaging services, collaboration tools, file sharing, and so much more. This is becoming even more of a reality with the rise of remote work accelerated by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
These various forms of communication require many different software platforms and applications so we can communicate with each other, whether we are across the street or across the globe from each other. Plus, people work on various devices and in various locations. The increasingly remote workforce, global travel, and the growing number of freelancers and contract workers use a range of devices, from laptops to tablets to BYOD. Not only that, but communications affect nearly every aspect of work, making it critical that it be as efficient as possible
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based communication platform that eliminates the need for multiple apps and platforms. It streamlines all communications, including phone and online, such as VoIP, social media, and collaboration software, so it can all happen on one convenient platform on the cloud. In this article, we’ll take a look at how this simplifies business communications, making them more accessible for businesses of all sizes anywhere in the world. We’ll also take a look at the carious benefits of UCaaS that will have an impact on any business.
How UCaaS works
UCaaS providers are responsible for keeping and maintaining the application servers used for the UCaaS services. These servers are kept in one of the follow places:
- Their own data centers
- Third-party data centers
- Public cloud services
It is the application servers that allow access to the various forms of communication available to the user. There is also software that the provider makes available to their customers. This software must be downloaded onto the devices being used for communications.
Finally, there are the endpoints. These include the hardware that is kept and maintained at the customer end, such as telephones, desktop and laptop computers, audio and video conferencing systems, digital whiteboards, mobile phones, and tablets. The customer can connect to their UCaaS provider over the internet or by connecting directly to the data center.
In addition, UCaaS providers can offer their standard service via the cloud or multitenant access so that each customer uses the same set of features while ensuring their customer data is isolated on the server, ensuring it is kept separate from other customers’ data. The alternative to this is to create a custom hosted service that is tailored to the customer’s specific needs. This is particularly useful for customers who are transferring an on-premise platform to the cloud, which can be a daunting process. A transfer of this magnitude requires:
- Determination of deployment architecture and network requirements
- Ensuring the service provides only the features end-users require
- Evaluation of contracts and service-level agreements
Fortunately, the flexibility of UCaaS allows this level of customization and so much more.
Benefits of UCaaS
The benefits of UCaaS in this global environment cannot be overstated. They make business communications easier for businesses of any size, no matter where they are located. It is efficient, improves productivity, and makes room for innovation. Let’s take a look at the top benefits of UCaaS:
It saves money
Businesses using UCaaS can save a lot of money because there are fewer overhead expenses. Traditionally, they would need to have the IT infrastructure to ensure a strong communications system and the staff to run it. This is a significant, and sometimes prohibitive, expense for businesses. With UCaaS, there is no infrastructure to set up; all you need is the software installed on your computers and other devices you will use to access communications.
Improved customer service
If a company is spread across time zones, much like their customers in many cases, the UCaaS system can connect everyone all the time. This is accomplished by establishing line groups, groups of telephone lines or numbers, which are placed on a hunt list. When a call comes into a company, the call will be routed to the line groups, one at a time in the order they appear on the hunt list, until the call is picked up. When calls do get picked up by voice mail, users will be notified by email when a voicemail is left on their system. This significantly minimizes the chances that a call will be missed, and a customer will be left hanging. When a company is using UCaaS, they can offer better customer service. Calls are less likely to be missed and calls that are missed are more likely to be followed up on.
Small, medium and large businesses – all of these can benefit from UCaaS. Without the need for extensive infrastructure and staff, even small businesses can afford this method of streamlined communication. The UCaaS model allows businesses to pay per user on a monthly or annual basis. This keeps costs under control at any stage of growth and can be scaled as needed.
The integrated capability of UCaaS bears repeating. It offers real-time communication via phone, instant messaging, conferencing, data sharing, and more. Every form of communication is available on one platform. Plus, users can move seamlessly between the different forms of communication, optimizing productivity and efficiency.
It provides full mobility
As it turns out, 85% of employees use more than one device to communicate at work. UCaaS makes it possible for communication to take place at any time, anywhere in the world, on any device, giving users complete freedom. Provided they are connected to the internet and their device is on the hunt list, calls and other forms of communication can reach employees no matter where they are located, removing the need for them to be tied to a computer. This is perfect for companies that have a global presence or have employees that travel or work remotely.
BYOD made easy
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), although hotly debated for many years, has become the norm in many companies. Fortunately, with UCaaS, BYOD is supported. First, the UCaaS system allows for the assignment of a direct inward dial (DID) number. This way, even though the employee is using their personal device with a personal phone number, clients can contact them using a separate business number that is routed directly to their personal device. In addition, a soft phone app will ensure that all calls made from the device show the business number, rather than the personal number.
In addition, UCaaS providers incorporate apps, such as enterprise social media, and security policies to ensure the security of corporate data. The ability to do this is a win for companies that allow the use of personal devices for their employees.
It offers disaster recovery and business continuity
With all your data stored on the cloud and backed up on a regular basis, there is no on-premise infrastructure that is vulnerable to natural disasters and system breaches. Your data is secure, and communications can continue, even if your main offices are compromised and your computers are offline, because the data and communications system are independent of your physical location and can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection.
The bottom line
It is no longer necessary to hop from application to application when communicating with customers, coworkers, or anyone else. UCaaS allows you to communicate with anyone, anytime, anywhere, in any way you want, all via a single platform that streamlines communications. You can access phone, email, instant messaging, and so much more at the tap of a button and that means real freedom for any business, large or small.
** This article was edited on March 13, 2020