Unified Communication as a service —UCaaS—is the delivery of communications and collaboration applications and services through a third-party provider over an IP network, usually the public Internet. In the beginning, UCaaS was synonymous with voice services and seen almost exclusively as a replacement for traditional phone services.
However, UCaaS has since become an umbrella term for a suite of business communication solutions: phone, email, voicemail and messaging. UCaaS has developed from solely a communications solution into a broader collaboration and productivity tool in a relatively short time, adding significant value for customers of all sizes.
Here are some questions to consider when determining if your organization can benefit from a UCaaS solution.
Enterprise IT decision-makers have ranked and placed various technology as instrumental to business growth. When it comes to migrating and innovating departments within organizations to the cloud, executives look for:
According to Gartner, by 2017, approximately 48% of IT planners expect the cloud to be their primary deployment model for U.C. functionality.
Why do you need it?
Unified Communications offers organizations a cohesive system of communication. It enables employees to better connect with one another, remote offices, and customers, while giving management a better understanding of communication expenditures. Unified communications as a hosted, managed or usage-based solution delivers the added bonus of provider-supported maintenance, customer care, and technical support.
An unbiased look at how to choose the right voice path for your business
The definition and difference:
A premises-based PBX solution (also known as an IP PBX) is dependent on a voice server kept on-site in the equipment/server closet. Physical phones are located throughout the office. Calls can route through a traditional phone company as well as over the internet using SIP trunking.
Hosted PBX is a cloud voice solution where the provider manages/maintains the voice server in a cloud data center. The only equipment in the office are physical phones. Calls route over the internet using SIP trunking.
Leverage our UCaaS comparison guide for unbiased Provider recommendations and advice on which carrier works to your companies’ challenges. We use past experience, how easy it is to work with the carrier, actual service quality, deployment and end-user experience to inform you which providers best fit your business goals.
SD-WAN improves the UCaaS experience. Adding SD-WAN allows:
Modern customers expect 24/7/365 support; businesses want increased visibility and insight within their contact centers. Contact center solutions offer features that businesses of all types—not just those with call centers—can benefit from to improve the customer experience. These include the ability to:
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking has emerged as a popular method of facilitating voice communications over the Internet. Using the SIP protocol, telecom service providers can potentially connect legacy PBXs and other voice hardware to a UCaaS platform.
First, check the circuits/connections at the location experiencing issues; leverage the analytics provided by the hosted system to potentially identify the source; the issue could be related to equipment in the network. Alternately, solutions such as SD-WAN should be considered to help alleviate quality issues.
The immediate benefit is the addition of redundancy; you are no longer at the mercy of a power outage or hardware failure because every provider has their UCaaS platform in multiple data centers, geographically dispersed both domestically and internationally. There are also options for on-site redundancy, such as dual internet connections or using SD-WAN.
Flexibility is also high on the list of benefits. Users can leverage both physical and softphones, allowing them to work from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Cloud solutions also tend to come with a variety of options, from conferencing to chat, that can integrate easily into popular applications such as Office365.
Nearly every provider offers the option to take and transfer calls between desk phones and mobile phones.
Numerous integrations are available with most UCaaS solutions, but most the most common is Salesforce. Providers will have a list of the companies/products they currently integrate with on their website and will typically offer professional services to build custom APIs for other platform integrations.
Some providers will have a very basic CCaaS-type capability; other customers will use auto-attendants with hunt groups (used to select which line will receive a call) to simulate a contact center environment.
Yes, but it depends on the phones. Polycom phones are one of the most widely used devices followed by Yealink. In some cases, Cisco or Mitel phones can also be leveraged.
Yes; however, this may be expensive. Depending on why this is needed, you and your tech consultant should consider other connection options, including SD-WAN.
Jitter is the variance in latency. Latency can vary greatly depending on the time of day and other traffic congestion conditions. If latency is constant, then there is no jitter.
An auto-attendant is used to answer calls via a UCaaS solution instead of a live human being. Auto-attendants will answer calls and provide routing options by either dialing a one-digit number or entering a person’s last name.
Most customers are satisfied using the conferencing options from a UCaaS provider; many have partnered up with audio/conferencing providers to provide a full-stack solution to conferencing requirements.
Several providers offer Microsoft Teams/Skype as a UCaaS option.