What is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)?
First, let’s define Unified Communications (UC). A UC system is a VoIP phone system that integrates, or unifies, a spectrum of communication technologies and methods into a single platform. Most businesses communicate in a number of different ways, like voice, video, IM, email, etc, and a UC system brings them all together to work seamlessly in one solution.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a deployment method for delivering UC to organizations via the Cloud.
Unlike traditional on-premise UC systems, UCaaS acts like a subscription service with reduced or no upfront costs.
Benefits of UCaaS
UCaaS not only offers the same advantages of a Unified Communications system, such as improved efficiency, reduced costs, and better customer service, this deployment method also brings with it another set of benefits.
The primary benefits of UCaaS are:
Because UCaaS is based on a subscription model, deploying a UCaaS solution requires little to no capital expenses. Purchasing an on-premise system requires hardware and the physical space for storing it. However, a UCaaS solution is stored offsite at the provider’s data center, freeing up your capital and storage. Additionally, many UCaaS providers offer IP phone rental programs that allow you to add the cost of phones to your monthly bill, which enables you to deploy a new phone system with zero upfront costs.
Little or No IT Staff Needed
With UCaaS solutions being deployed in the Cloud, there is no physical hardware to maintain and the software is managed by the provider. This means the day-to-day maintenance once required by a phone system is no longer a burden to organizations. Now, small businesses can enjoy advanced UC features that were once reserved for larger companies with more resources. And, larger companies can allocate their technical staff to other projects without the need to focus on their communications platform.
Software Always Up-to-Date
As mentioned in the previous section, UCaaS software is maintained by the provider. This ensures businesses always have the latest features available to solve their communications challenges. And, it also means system administrators don’t have to work overnight to update the phone system to prevent disrupting business communications during the day. Instead, a UCaaS provider will upgrade the system themselves with no work needed form the administrators.
UCaaS solutions are deployed via the Cloud, making their user and admin portals accessible via the Internet. By having a web-based interface, this makes UCaaS solutions easy to access from anywhere. Additionally, most UCaaS solutions have mobile applications, allowing users to make and receive calls on their cellphone as if they are using their office phone. These mobile applications also give mobile and remote workers access to much of the same features available on an office phone, giving them the true freedom to work from anywhere.
UCaaS solutions offer the unique advantage of being extremely scalable because you can easily add or remove users quickly and easily. With on-premise systems, you must plan in advance how much your business will grow and purchase the servers to match this assumption. Then, if you reach the limit of your current hardware, you must spend more capital to upgrade. However, with a UCaaS solution, you can simply add (or remove) users as needed.
With UCaaS solutions being a monthly subscription, they are backed by included support. Because the technology itself doesn’t live at your place of business, the provider is responsible for maintaining the system. If there’s an issue, all you usually have to do is report it to the provider’s technical support and they’ll take it from there.
Why Businesses are Moving to UCaaS
Cloud-based technologies are experiencing an unprecedented growth. According to one survey, 92% of businesses are already using one or more cloud-based solutions. But, why is unified communications, in particular, being adopted so quickly by businesses? Let’s explore.
With UCaaS, because the physical hardware lives offsite, installation is more of a signup process rather than an actual installation process.
If anything happens to your building, UCaaS allows you to continue working from a remote location.
UCaaS gives you the unique ability to commit to services for only as long as you would like. Most providers offer contracts by the year or even on a month-to-month basis.
Many providers allow you to try their UCaaS solution before purchasing with a free trial. This helps businesses avoid buyer’s remorse by selecting the right solution for their business the first time.