Implementing a UCaaS Solution

UCaaS Overview

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.

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UCaaS Overview

Benefits of UCaaS

  • Built-in redundancy
  • Security
  • Flexibility/scalability
  • Reduced IT workloads/decreased maintenance
  • Collaboration
  • Mobility
  • Open API (not available with all providers)

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UCaaS Benefits

Do I need a UC Solution?

Here are some questions to consider when determining if your organization can benefit from a UCaaS solution.

  • What communication systems do you have in place today? Are they on-premise, how old and have they fully depreciated?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • How are your employees dispersed? Are they in multiple offices? Do they work from home and/or are they on the road?

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Evaluating UCaaS


Ready to Buy UCaaS? Consider This.
The Present and Future of UCaaS
The Present and Future of UCaaS

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:

  • Contextual intelligence, a way to look back and see past documents and historical communications.
  • Advanced analytics to increase performance and for better monitoring.
  • Artificial intelligence to improve customer experience and drive innovation and growth.

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UCaaS Buying Guide
UCaaS Buying Guide

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.

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On-Premise vs Cloud-based Voice
On-Premise vs Cloud-based Voice

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.

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Choosing a UCaaS Provider
Choosing a UCaaS Provider

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.  

Download our Comparison Guide

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What other solutions work well with UCaaS?


 

SD-WAN

SD-WAN improves the UCaaS experience. Adding SD-WAN allows:

  • Enhancement of UCaaS applications, such as video and voice, that are susceptible to latency, packet loss and jitter.
  • Most SD-WAN providers provide a MOS score to allow quick/easy view of call quality.
  • Prioritization of applications, routing traffic down the best available path and improving network performance.
  • Improvement in resiliency by pushing mission-critical apps such as voice to a failover connection in times of need via packet duplication, preventing lost calls and lost business.

CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service)

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:

  • Route calls more efficiently
  • Provide agents with immediate access to information and resources relevant to the caller
  • Record and collect data on calls, which can then be used to improve the customer experience
  • Call back customers vs. waiting on hold
  • Integrate multiple channels, including chatbots for websites

SIP (Session Initiated Protocol)

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.

Frequently Asked Questions


 
What is the best way to handle quality issues in a hosted system?

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. 

What are the benefits of moving from a legacy on-premises system to a cloud-based solution?

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.

Can you transfer calls between a desk phone and a mobile phone?

Nearly every provider offers the option to take and transfer calls between desk phones and mobile phones.  

What integrations are available?

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.

Can you use UCaaS as a contact center solution?

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.

Can you reuse phones from one provider to another?

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.

Can you set up a dedicated connection to the cloud provider?

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.

What is jitter?

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.

What is an auto attendant?

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.

Should your UCaaS provider also handle your audio/web/video conferencing?

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.

Can you use Skype/Teams as your UCaaS platform?

Several providers offer Microsoft Teams/Skype as a UCaaS option.

UCaaS Providers we work with


 

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