What is UCaaS?
Gartner defines UCaaS as "a cloud-delivered service that provides many of the same functions as premises-based unified communications (UC) solutions."1 UC solutions include standard communication tools and services such as instant messaging audio, web and video conferencing; email; screen and file sharing plus mobility tools and collaborative apps that facilitate conversation and collaboration between remote employees to help keep them productive. However, as Gartner notes, acquisition and delivery models for UCaaS “are markedly different than for premises-based UC solutions."2
The business benefits of unified communications
It's well established that effective communication is a competitive differentiator. If your technology systems are preventing employees from sharing or accessing information and communicating efficiently with clients and coworkers, projects are delayed, colleagues get frustrated and customers can become disgruntled.
By removing these roadblocks, particularly for remote employees, you can unlock the business benefits of UCaaS.
Increased business agility
Calls can be routed to employees or forwarded from multiple lines to a single number, enabling business continuity and increasing flexibility for handling inquiries. This helps ensure that a call is never lost simply because someone wasn't there to answer it.
Unified communications can also help simplify workflows and break down silos to improve employee productivity and customer response time. For example, service reps can send customized quotes to clients much more quickly when distance isn't an issue. UCaaS connects the relevant people and information under one integrated system—and makes everything easy to access.
Additionally, because the cloud is inherently flexible and businesses only use what they pay for, being able to scale the UCaaS solution to fit your budget improves business agility, which is at the core of day-to-day operations. What's more, with a solution like Verizon UCCaaS, additional capabilities from third-party collaboration apps can be easily added as needed.
Business travel used to be common, but it's severely restricted right now. This isn't necessarily a bad thing—travel takes time and money, and it makes your company's carbon footprint heavier.
One of the business benefits of unified communications is that it enables companies to develop innovative workarounds for in-person meetings and for communicating with clients and partners. Integrated voice, video and collaboration solutions make it easier for employees to work, converse and brainstorm with clients around the world. Groups can work and make collaborative changes in real-time on a document that’s in the cloud.
Elements of artificial intelligence and automation embedded within UCaaS solutions can also speed up message delivery times. Voicemails can be automatically transferred to email, where employees might notice them more quickly and employees can quickly check colleagues availability status—another function of UCaaS—and respond with the method that provides the quickest reply.
Most notably, UCaaS can give disconnected employees—such as those working on the shop floor and in other customer-facing roles or even remote employees working from home —mobile access to the system, providing them with autonomy and visibility they might not otherwise have. These employees feel more connected because they can contribute ideas and information, which could improve operations.
Perpetual preparation for growth
Simply put: The increased efficiency, productivity, improved response times and reduced travel requirements afforded by UCaaS solutions will save businesses money. This, plus the savings UCaaS can provide on capital expenditure costs, can be channeled into a company's growth strategy. And UCaaS can grow quickly and painlessly as your business grows. It will never be a hindrance to expansion. There's no waiting for costly, time-consuming IT upgrades; instead, you purchase only what you need when you need it.
Deploying UCaaS and the benefits of a managed provider
To achieve a truly connected workforce, start with an adoption lifecycle plan. According to a Verizon-sponsored survey conducted by Wainhouse Research, companies that began this way increased the speed and reduced the cost and risk for IT.
When thinking about adopting UCaaS, consider:
- Security: How will you secure access to video conferencing and other tools? What are the security features of the platform?
- Network architecture: How is your current network laid out? Does the proposed network have enough redundancy?
- IT specialists: Would it be better to outsource project management? How much onboarding and training will be required?
Bringing in a managed provider will save companies time and money by allowing IT to focus on other projects and reduce the time and expense of filling potential skills gaps. According to Wainhouse Research, 47% of vendor-led programs were successful, compared with just 33% of do-it-yourself programs.
In addition to cost savings, companies can delegate responsibility for upgrades and maintenance to their MSP, which means more flexibility, too boot. Vendors also can tailor specific services to specific roles, which often increases user engagement and can result in a more comprehensive and flexible system.
Bottom line: Businesses can be more productive when they deploy scalable, unified communications services that better serve employees and customers alike.
Learn how Verizon's unified communications solutions can drive better collaboration—and better outcomes.