What is Unified Communications as a Service?

For business professionals, multiple forms of communication gets significantly fragmented running the risk of losing track of important information and deviating from pre-determined brand message. Enter Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Considering the sheer volume of business communications that CIOs need to manage across changing digital formats and different types of devices, it is fair to say that the world of enterprise communications is not for the faint of heart.

Just as everyone else, busy professionals use their smartphones and portable devices to communicate in a variety of ways. These channels include text messages, instant messages, carrier-based voice calls, dedicated communication channels as well as multiple email accounts.

This scenario is of no bother to an ordinary person. However, for a business professional, all this communication gets significantly fragmented running the risk of losing track of important information and deviating from pre-determined brand message. Enter Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

UCaaS is an enterprise service method for streamlining all communications through cloud-based applications and services. The service takes all forms of business communications including calls, chats and videos and unites them into one service.

In effect, instead of businesses having to purchase all these separate services from multiple different providers, they now need only one provider.

How Does UCaaS Work?

UCaaS is a variation of the ‘as a service’ model in cloud computing. It is similar to SaaS (Software as a Service). This service allows businesses to integrate various multiple communication platforms that facilitate team communication under a sole cloud provider. This includes telephone communication, enterprise messaging and video conferencing. Integration can also spread into other call centre services such as call routing.

This integration offers businesses the opportunity to achieve better integration with their customers. As many people tend to use text messages even for business purposes, it makes sense for businesses to capitalize on this avenue. Typically, people pay more attention to texts and also tend to respond to them faster than emails or other forms of communication leading to more interactions which consequently open up more opportunities which UCaaS fosters.

UCaaS features include presence technology, online meetings, enterprise messaging, team collaboration, video conferencing, and telephony. All these are known to provide scalability and flexibility in for the core business tasks on any business. In essence, this is a rapidly evolving area with new and clever integrations coming up often all aimed at enhancing enterprise communication at a lower cost and higher efficiency.

Types of UCaaS:

Single Tenancy

This design involves a customised software platform that connects to the in-house applications. Each customer’s data is maintained separately which results in more security and less downtime as one customer’s downtime does not filter through to others. This also means that it is relatively more expensive. You also need to pay for upgrade costs to address custom software.

Multi Tenancy

In this design, software is hosted in the cloud at the UCaaS provider data centre and not in-house. In this setup, all customers of the UCaaS provider share a common software platform. This means that customers can expect higher reliability, more support, lower cost and regular software updates. The downside is that your options for customisation are limited.

Hybrid Approach

Although there are two types of UCaaS, there is a middle ground between the two extremes in the form of a hybrid approach. This approach is applicable in companies with a need for higher security for their data while still wanting to take advantage of the benefits of the multi-tenancy design.

Does Your Business Need Unified Communications as a Service Implementation?

Why do businesses need UCaaS? Well, the key reason that most businesses employ UCaaS is to gain more control over communication procedures and regulations. Businesses with small teams of employees such as start-ups can easily and effectively communicate on mainstream services.

Larger companies, on the other hand, have an inherent need for unified communication not only for communication but also for administration, supervision and oversight. This level of control is not necessary with small teams.

However, as a business grows, it makes sense to start researching the UCaaS solutions that would elevate it to the next level.

Small businesses often lack the resources and staff to maintain and support in-house unified communications systems. Therefore, they tend to lean to UCaaS as it is more cost-effective. Large enterprises are also deploying UCaaS to streamline their in-house UC services and to support multiple and international locations.

Businesses that employ UCaaS are bound to achieve more flexibility and scalability, particularly in adding and removing users without major disruptions and changes. It also offers a consistent user experience regardless of location. Lastly, given that cloud-based systems have inbuilt business continuity, businesses can also deploy UCaaS for disaster recovery.

Are you considering implementing Unified Communications as a Service in your business? Having a hard time understanding what it means and what you stand to gain? At AdEPT, we have seasoned communications professionals ready to walk you through so you can make an informed decision. Contact us today to learn more.

Written by Ben Rogers

Group Marketing Manager at AdEPT