Is it time to move your voice, text and video communications to the cloud?
For most businesses, what started out as a simple PBX telephone system has evolved into a complex web of users, devices and locations accessing voicemail, caller ID and other advanced messaging features. This, of course, is independent of the data network with its email communication and screen sharing tools … which is growing in parallel along with a separate mobile user population with video calling and text messaging capabilities … that does not interface with the dedicated video conferencing lines between remote offices … which will not support next-generation features and the multi-channel workflows of tomorrow.
It seems a unified strategy that streamlines audio, video and text communications, supports interoperability and reduces cost is needed to replace these patchwork systems. As it seems with most everything else these days, the answer is connecting to the cloud.
What Is UCaaS?
Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) refers to a cloud-based service model where providers deliver a variety of modern telecom services including text messaging, voice communications and video conferencing to an entire network of users, generally over the global VoIP network as a single, coordinated service.
Like many other technological advances over the past decade, the unified communications market has undergone a radical transformation as providers seek to reel in customers with the promise of new features, lower costs and greater reliability. Legacy unified communications systems using fixed circuits are being phased out and replaced by more flexible cloud solutions with a wealth of advanced features. By directing all communication traffic through the cloud – whether voice, text, audio or video – providers are able to manage all forms of messaging regardless of format, to ensure it gets to the right user or device regardless of location.
What Are The Benefits Of UCaaS?
UCaaS is scalable and flexible. It allows businesses to add or remove new users as needed, such as seasonal employees. It is a much more reliable solution for mobile workforces.
Cloud-based UCaaS offers built-in disaster recovery and frees companies from the costs of having to own and maintain private PBXes. Businesses can lease just the services they need, and upgrade as desired. UCaaS levels the playing field between small businesses and large enterprises by equalizing the customer experience.
It provides access to next-generation features and services such as presence technology, online chat, bots and virtual receptionists, meetings and webinars, enterprise messaging, text-to-voice escalation and call center capabilities for hundreds or thousands of users.
Selecting The Best UCaaS Provider
There are many options for businesses when selecting a UCaaS provider to best fit their needs.
Choosing the right provider is a question of the type of services and level of security required including:
- Do you need video or audio services only?
- Do employees need to share documents, screens and files?
- Is it time to add text messaging or social media channels to customer support?
- Do you need call parking, logs and missed call notifications?
Different UCaaS providers offer a different mix of capabilities optimized for various sized businesses.
There are UCaaS vendors that own the servers, that are hosted by third parties or are public clouds. Some focus on serving small businesses; others manage global enterprises.
Services can include a mix of voice, video, instant messaging and remote collaboration. And, an extra bonus of UCaaS solutions is you do not necessarily need hardware (phone sets, video conferencing solutions, routers, whiteboards, etc.). Most UCaaS solutions come with a soft phone allowing you to handle all your communication needs right from your computer.
Your next step is determining which of the latest features you need, how you want to connect to the service provider (public (less secure) or private (more secure but more expensive)), and what is the right architecture to integrate with your current infrastructure (single-tenancy, multiple-tenancy, or a hybrid model.).
If you think your business could benefit by shifting its unified communications services to the cloud, talk to us. We can help you plan for the transition and design a scalable solution to meet all of your voice, text and video communication needs.