Digital transformation, work-from-home arrangements, telecommuting. The way we work today is different from even as recently as two years ago. It has also changed the way employees communicate.
Employees are inundated by a number of choices and processes. In addition to Skype or Zoom installed on their computers or smartphones to enable videoconferencing, they also use e-mail and file sharing services, such as Dropbox, to collaborate and share data, and spend time calling clients and direct reports. The good news is that unified communications can make things a whole lot simpler.
If your company doesn’t have the technology or the talent to implement unified communications strategies, they can opt for the service being delivered over the cloud. According to a recent report by Data Bridge Market Research, the unified communication as a service (UcaaS) market is expected to grow at a rate of 16.55% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.
What Is UCaaS?
Unified communications help businesses ensure that their employees have the communication tools they need to do their jobs. Unified communications is a solution that connects the various communication systems that your digital workforce is using, and that includes video conferencing, video calling, voice communications, messaging, file sharing, and collaboration tools. All of these services are available in a streamlined interface.
It’s understandable that the many communication tools we have now will make it difficult for a lot of IT teams to implement a unified communications solution.
According to Gartner, unified communications as a service is when you deliver conferencing, messaging, instant messaging, mobility, enterprise telephony, and business processes via the cloud.
With UCaaS, a provider will do the unified communications work for you. In turn, you are sharing the infrastructure with other customers, but you will be able to provision, manage, and access reports via a self-service portal on the web.
UCaaS and Enterprise Networks
UCaaS can free up your IT team to do more pressing tasks and allows you to focus on more important business matters. All that while ensuring your employees have an easier time accessing and using these communication tools.
This as-a-service model eliminates the need for more hardware, such as servers, voice-over-IP devices, and even storage units. Your employees will be able to use these solutions without burdening your infrastructure, even if they all do so at the same time. And, you also have the advantage of keeping your costs down as you can add or remove users whenever necessary.
For the most part, some companies can gain unified communications capabilities without having to do it themselves.
UCaaS and Other as-a-service Platforms
Deloitte found that nine out of 10 companies today use some sort of software as a service. Around eight out of 10 use a kind of platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, hardware as a service, and cybersecurity as a service, respectively. A little more than seven out of 10 use other emerging technologies delivered as a service.
Forty-seven percent of companies say they run productivity and collaboration systems as a service. What these numbers point to is that UCaaS does have a place in any organization, and it’s a vital one. It helps integrate your UCaaS tools with other as a service platforms you are currently using.
As such, you will need to plan on how to better manage your as a service platforms, so you don’t have to overspend. For instance, hiring IT staff that will manage your current tools should include competencies needed to manage UCaaS systems.It doesn’t make sense to have one IT personnel focused on Salesforce, for example, and not on your UCaaS solution.
Another consideration is having your UCaaS work with other platforms that you’re using.
For example, if you currently have business continuity and disaster recovery delivered to you via cloud services, you should ensure that your UCaaS is part of your disaster recovery strategies.
The good news is that UCaaS, by its very nature, is resilient. It lessens your dependence on your own resources and infrastructure. If you’re using software as a service, you can possibly integrate UCaaS features with them. For instance, a cloud-delivered customer relationship management tool can have more features with UCaaS.
Your CRM users can use “click to dial” features or perhaps log and record calls automatically. Going further, you can keep records and manage communications all in one place to use other as a service platforms such as IoT and AI automation for your customer relationship and contact activities.
Challenges of UCaaS
UCaaS, for its benefits and advantages, does have a few roadblocks:
- It’s dependent on an internet connection. Without speedy internet access, your unified communications system will be as useful as a brick.
- It requires employee buy-in. If your employees don’t use your UCaaS tools and services, then there’s really no point in implementing these solutions.
- It is only as good as your provider. You will need to make sure that you’re working with a service provider that’s reliable and available. Do they provide training or have a responsive tech support team?
- It should be adaptable and extensible.
You also have to think about issues that are common to all as-a-service platforms, such as data ownership and security. These are just some of the few problems that you might expect when considering using a UCaaS provider. Evaluate your needs versus what providers offer to choose the best provider for your business.