What is UCaaS?
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) refers to multiple communication services delivered over the cloud by a single provider to create a unified and integrated experience for your workforce. These services typically include Phone Service, Contact Center Software, Conferencing and Collaboration, Instant Message/Presence, Mobility, Email/VM/Fax, SMS/Text, and App/CRM Integration.
PHONE: Cloud Phone System, aka Hosted PBX or Hosted VOIP, is the foundation service of UCaaS. This revolutionizes your business phone system administration, call management and user and caller experience with enhanced business features – all at a fraction of the cost of outdated PBX hardware.
CONTACT CENTER: Contact Center, aka Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), can be viewed as a feature of UCaaS if it is 100% cloud based and provided by a UCaaS carrier as a fully integrated technology or it can be delivered as a stand-alone service separate from your other communication technology services. Cloud Contact Center, as part of the UCaaS solution, allows call center agents to be geographically distributed, work from home or a satellite office and still have seamless, real-time communication between the call center and all other employees within the company. The benefit greatly reduces any delays for the customer, especially for important sales calls.
CONFERENCING & COLLABORATION: This feature includes audio conferencing, web conferencing, desktop sharing, and video conferencing. These features of UCaaS greatly reduce travel expenses, improve efficiency, increase ROI and help remote workers feel part of the overall team.
INSTANT MESSAGE/PRESENCE: IM allows you to send a coworker a quick real-time message that is faster than email and less intrusive than a phone call or a physical visit to their desk. Presence capability allows you to see where an employee is located or whether they are on the phone or out of the office. This feature also allows for a contact center employee to identify who is available to take real-time incoming sales calls.
MOBILITY: Work anywhere your business takes you. Access your cloud-based phone system on any device, including your smart phone, iPad or desktop. This allows greater flexibility and satisfaction for your mobile workforce.
EMAIL/VM/FAX: Integration with Office 365 and other email platforms allows for seamless access to your contact list from any platform and includes the convenience of voice mails and faxes being delivered to your inbox as an email.
SMS/TEXT: Send out individual and group text messages to employees or customers. Whether you are a doctor’s office reminding patients of an appointment, a retailer texting out a promotion or a company sending an important notice out to all employees, the applications for this feature are unlimited. In addition, text messages will not go into a spam folder and tend to get read faster and more often than email.
CRM/APP INTEGRATION: Integrate with CRM platforms and applications like Salesforce, Oracle Sales Cloud, Office 365, Box, Desk.com, Dropbox, Google and many others.
NOTE: Service offerings, features, integrations, service quality and support may vary with providers. iQuoteUC can help you cut through the clutter and identify the right fit for your organization.
CLOUD-BASED PROVIDER: Cloud Based, as opposed to On Premise, allows for more flexibility, better disaster recovery, automatic updates, a pay-as-you-go model, and less equipment to buy and maintain.
ALL SERVICES/ONE BILL: Using a single provider streamlines and simplifies your billing, by consolidating all your services on one bill, thereby simplifying your accounting.
NO UPFRONT COST: UCaaS vendors have pay-as-you-go pricing models that eliminate the cost of pricy hardware. Leased phones and equipment offered by many providers helps you stay up to date and further reduce costs.
MOBILE WORKFORCE: Work from anywhere. Access your phone system and features globally from any device.
EVERYTHING’S INTEGRATED: All services are on the same platform, thus saving time, resources and money.
INCREASED EFFICIENCY/ROI: UCaaS allows your employees to be 2-3x’s more efficient, increasing your company’s return on investment.
RELIABILITY/REDUNDANCY: UCaaS offers first-class reliability, by creating performance redundancies via the cloud to protect your business against downtime.
LESS HARDWARE/IT STAFF: With UCaaS, every telecom purchase, maintenance task and update will be shifted to your provider. This allows you to move IT staff to company projects instead of maintenance tasks.
SCALABLE: You can start small and add or change features as needs change - paying only for services you need.
ALWAYS UP TO DATE: As your provider updates their cloud features and services, you can be assured your services will be up to date and requires little to no maintenance or ongoing IT support from your team.
GLOBAL ACCESSIBILITY: With many UCaaS carriers having a global presence, adding International remote offices to the same platform is feasible and you avoid having to deal with multiple providers.
ENHANCED SECURITY: By dealing with just one vendor, your data may be more secure. Cloud-based service providers typically have rigorous measures in place to monitor networks for potential vulnerabilities and known threats.
Considerations when choosing a UCaaS provider: Features & Capabilities Offered. Apps & CRM Integrations. Contact Center Capablities. International Reach. Ongoing Software Deployment of Provider. Reliability, Redundancy, Security & Support of Provider. Online Management Tool Capabilities. Facilities Based or Reseller.
Consideration before deploying UCaaS: LAN/WAN Readiness. Bandwidth Capacity. Wireless Network Capacity. Softphone or Handset.
iQuoteUC can help you navigate through all these factors by following a consistent process.
Hybrid vs 100% UCaaS
While we will do as the customer desires, we recommend going 100% UCaaS and deploying in phases vs having some on-premise UC and some hosted via the cloud (hybrid approach).
Whether you have a hybrid setup through multiple providers or one provider, some vendors may sell it as a “best-of-both-worlds” approach. In reality, this approach has several limitations, including separate systems to monitor, additional IT resources, geographic reach, feature inconsistency, integration & synchronization issues, and separate software and maintenance updates across a variety of technology stacks.
For these reasons, we do not recommend a hybrid approach to UCaaS.