You’ve heard of Unified Communications (UC), and you’ve heard of Software as a Service (SaaS), but have you heard of UCaaS? Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a combination of the two and an increasingly popular way for businesses to manage communications and collaboration technologies.
Why Unified Communications?
In theory, UC is a platform for integrating communication tools with the goal of enhancing business communication, collaboration and productivity. The goal is to integrate everything, so end users have easy access to all tools from whatever device is in use. Under this umbrella, UC is comprised of:
- Voice and telephony
- Meeting solutions — Audio conferencing, video conferencing and web conferencing
- Messaging — Email with voice mail and unified messaging
- Presence and instant messaging
- Communications-enabled applications — Integrated contact centers, communications platform as a service and workstream collaboration
But ask any CIO or COO what they think about their UC systems, and you will probably hear these three words: complex and expensive.
UC requires investments in hardware and software, as well as upgrades and maintenance of the different systems. The routine management of UC can take IT staff away from focusing on more strategic initiatives such as aligning technology investments with broader business objectives. As a result, productivity suffers. In addition, despite the claims, many of the systems in the market today are not well integrated and are based on outdated technology.
UCaaS encompasses the same functions as premise-based UC, yet resides safely and securely in the Cloud.
With UCaaS, virtually any business can realize the benefits of a simpler, more cost-effective way to communicate and collaborate. Rather than expensive investments in hardware, software and IT staff time, you can turn to cloud-based solutions that are self-sustaining. This is especially true for small- and mid-size businesses that have a need for unified communications but not the budget or staff to manage the various systems.
“A notable 43% of current users and 40% of future users report that UCaaS is easier for IT to manage.” (Frost and Sullivan)
Cost efficiencies aside, one of the biggest drivers for UCaaS adoption is employee demand. By 2020, 50% of Workforce Will Be Remote, according to MarketWatch. And, although employees are in different locations and time zones, “knowledge workers” expect employers to provide tools to help them overcome these obstacles including screen sharing, group chats, instant messaging, and video calling and conferencing – both in and out of the office. Further, they expect business apps to be as easy-to-use as their consumer apps.
Many legacy UC systems, especially those without mobile capabilities, can’t keep up with today’s knowledge worker needs.
By adopting cloud-based, UCaaS solutions, you can provide the tools knowledge workers want and need. Think about it. Most of your employees have been using UCaaS enabled consumer devices for years. They expect the same quality and efficiency in their work life, as well as at home. Equip them with the right tools and watch them work happier, smarter and more collaboratively.