Unified communications refers to enterprise-quality voice, collaboration, and conferencing technologies — crucial tools in keeping employees connected to the business, whether in the office or working remotely. Additionally, Unified Communications can provide for operations in terms of increased scalability, improved productivity, greater efficiency, and certainly, lower operating costs.
UCaaS is based on a cloud-based architecture that can easily be implemented in an existing network environment. Since some of that infrastructure is already installed, many costs, like cabling and hardware, are eliminated. Plus, by running voice and collaboration over a data network, the business substantially lowers carrier costs.
Businesses should take a holistic view of their needs, making sure their cloud service provider can deliver the features needed to create a comprehensive, unified communications ecosystem. UCaaS often encompasses features such as softphones, one-click dialing and call transfers, integration with CRM and back-office systems, mobile capabilities, and presence management tools that provide visibility into who is available across an organization. UC systems should also be intuitive enough that any administrative changes—such as adding or removing users—can be made by the customer without contacting the partner.
Unified communications and collaboration go hand-in-hand because UCaaS solutions are designed to let workers leverage tools through a single, unified GUI, compared to navigating disparate solutions or dealing with mismatched extensions. A UCaaS solution can be distributed between various buildings and branches within an organization, providing consistent extensions that can easily be accessed across the entire company—even between satellite offices. Effective systems let employees indicate when they’re away from the office, so colleagues can immediately determine who is available to provide expertise at any given moment.
The flexibility of the cloud allows cloud service providers to add users to a network more easily, so that companies can grow and scale without having to worry about investing in additional data centers and networking hardware, or always having to add or update on-site equipment. Updates and changes to software systems can also be easily managed and deployed via a UCaaS solution since applications are being delivered through the cloud. All this can be overseen by a partner who serves as a trusted advisor for business customers who can confidently serve those customers as they expand.
The ability to access communications tools from anywhere creates significant productivity benefits for businesses. For instance, UCaaS can accommodate mobile extensions that let workers access all their communications tools—just like they were in the office. This technology lets employees communicate more productively, like giving workers the ability to auto-dial numbers with a single click, or access call histories while they’re speaking with a caller.