Unified Communications as a Service: How UCaaS Drives the Modern Workforce
The global COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way many of us around the world work, learn, and communicate with each other.
Pre-pandemic, working from home was considered by many to be a perk, not the norm. Then widespread stay-at-home orders forced offices, schools, restaurants, malls, and gathering places to close their doors, accelerating the adoption of remote work virtually overnight.
Organizations with unified communications as a service, or UCaaS technology, were able to transition to a work-from-home model much more seamlessly than those dependent on on-premise and multi-platform solutions.
As organizations invest in digital transformation initiatives to support a distributed workforce, UCaaS will become even more widespread and essential to keeping employees connected.
What is UCaaS?
UCaaS can be broken down into two elements: “unified communications” and “as-a-service.”
Unified communications refers to a single platform that delivers a variety of communications services. These services can vary depending on the organization, but typically they should include:
- Video, audio, and web conferencing
- Voice communications/enterprise telephony
- Instant messaging/chat
- Webinar capabilities
As-a-service means delivered via the cloud, as opposed to an on-premise solution. Cloud-based communications offer greater flexibility, enabling users to adapt on the fly to an ever-changing business environment.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global UCaaS market is expected to expand at a double-digit compound annual growth rate until 2025. Unified communications is a strategic investment for businesses looking to improve their communications in an increasingly remote work environment.
Is UCaaS right for your business?
If your organization juggles several different communications providers, you’re not alone. According to a Zoom-Forbes Insight report, 61% of executives in the report said their companies are operating three or more video communications platforms.
But using video conferencing for internal department meetings, VoIP service for sales calls, and a separate webinar platform for large-scale employee training sessions creates a fragmented user experience. This increased friction between customer and employee communications places a greater burden on IT teams to provide support for different solutions.
Many modern workplaces are shifting to the UCaaS model as a way to resolve these challenges and bringing all of their applications into one platform. Unifying communication solutions reduces complexity, stimulates collaboration, and allows for more streamlined workflows across the enterprise.
Benefits of a UCaaS platform
Some of the most significant benefits of UCaaS include:
Ease of use: UCaaS platforms simplify communications for traditional as well as tech-savvy users and support remote workers in this new hybrid workspace. It offers a one-stop-shop experience for all communications needs, without the need to open up multiple applications.
Here’s an example of how Zoom’s UC platform streamlines communications for hybrid workers by allowing users to seamlessly transition their phone calls to and from multiple devices as well as chat and conduct video meetings from anywhere:
Ability to adapt: As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, business needs can change overnight. Cloud communication services enable organizations to maintain business continuity if a crisis occurs, giving them quick access to company files, flexible deployment options, and full feature functionality from a remote environment.
Enhanced collaboration: With features like video calling, chat, whiteboarding and screen sharing on one platform, colleagues can easily collaborate in ways that are visual and engaging. Plus, integration with other cloud-based apps and contact center solutions makes it easy to create custom workflows that can improve efficiency and communication within your organization as well as customer satisfaction.
Cost savings: Cloud communication services are offered via a subscription-based model with predictable monthly charges. Because there’s no need to invest in and upgrade expensive hardware, it’s generally more cost-effective with minimal upfront investment.
How to choose a UCaaS provider
Ready to consolidate and streamline your unified communications solutions? Here are 10 questions you should ask when deciding how to choose a unified communications provider:
- Does the unified communications platform offer all the services and features that my organization needs?
- Is the UCaaS platform secure? Will it protect our privacy and data?
- Is it reliable? Does it have a track record of providing high-quality, business-grade performance for voice, video, and chat?
- Does it offer an intuitive user experience with features that enable greater collaboration and more robust communication?
- Does the platform integrate seamlessly with essential applications for our business, like Salesforce, Quickbooks, or Microsoft Teams? Does it have solutions that improve workflows, communication, and efficiency?
- How flexible is the UCaaS platform? Does it allow for options like BYOC (bring your own phone carrier), third-party SIP trunking, flexible APIs, etc.?
- Does the unified communications provider offer training and onboarding to help increase adoption?
- Will the provider continue to offer innovative solutions and cutting-edge features?
- Does the UC provider have expertise in serving customers in my industry — with a variety of use cases and successful implementation stories?
- Is the unified communications solution cost-effective? Will it save me money by eliminating the need for multiple contracts, hardware investments, and maintenance?
Choosing a UCaaS provider that offers the right fit for your organization’s current and future needs is key to simplifying communications, mobilizing your workforce, and ensuring business continuity and scalability. See why Gartner named Zoom a leader in its 2022 Magic Quadrant for UCaaS report.