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When we hear about Unified Communications, we almost always think about an even broader trend known as technological convergence, or digital convergence.
This is the trend of different technologies such as audio, video, and text, all unifying on a common medium.
There was a time when the world listened to music on audio cassette tapes, watched movies on VHS tapes using the television, and processed documents on paper. All this quickly changed when the personal computer hit consumers in the 80s.
We started to listen to music, watch movies, and process documents on the computer.
More recently, we’ve started to do all three on our mobile phones.
What is unified communications as a service?
A similar story has played out for business communications. We once had to use different applications for each communication channel, which was tedious from a user perspective because we needed to open different interfaces to communicate with the same person.
Once UC arrived, we could access all the different channels on one unified interface.
Initially, these unified communications (UC) were complex, on-premise systems that demanded significant upfront investments in equipment. This is not the case with UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service). With the latter, the Cloud is used to deliver UC with a pay-as-you-use subscription service. This dramatically reduces upfront costs, making it an attractive option for any business that wants to unify communications, while making it easy to scale capacity up and down according to their needs.
What business applications do UCaaS support?
Most UCaaS solutions support the following important functions in any modern enterprise.
- Voice: Enterprise telephony service
- Video: Includes video and web conferencing
- Messaging: Includes both instant messaging for internal and external stakeholders
- Collaboration: Seamlessly integrates with third-party business tools to boost collaboration, and hence productivity
Now that we’ve got the definitions out of the way, let’s dive right into the million-dollar question:
Why should businesses give two hoots about smushing all their communications into one, single platform?
Why businesses should care about UCaaS
The fact is that UCaaS systems are becoming more popular in businesses every year. In 2018, just 11% of organisations had adopted UCaaS solutions. In 2020, that figure ballooned to over 34%. The trend is expected to continue in the years ahead.
Why? Because more and more businesses are starting to prioritise digital transformation in order to achieve better connections and realise higher workforce productivity.
The global pandemic in turn, has accelerated awareness and adoption of UCaaS systems thanks to the critical need for hybrid-remote work arrangements. As employees now need to access all the communications and business tools they need – without being tied down to any particular location – it makes sense to migrate one’s operations to the cloud via UCaaS systems.
Let’s explore the benefits of UCaaS in greater detail.
Unified communications as a service helps boost effective collaboration
Beyond being able to access all the communications tools you need without having to commute to your office just to sign into an on-premise system, UCaaS systems also tend to unleash the potential for more collaborations.
Employees can now communicate with one another nearly instantly, allowing them to collaborate almost seamlessly to solve customer problems faster. This is quite difficult to achieve when you have a CRM, telephony, and video-conferencing system all working independently.
And the best part? Your staff don’t have to constantly switch between different business tools to resolve a customer’s problem. UCaaS systems are able to integrate with many other prevalent cloud-based business tools such as Salesforce and HubSpot.
The more businesses embrace the UC ethos, the more tightly they’re able to integrate their disparate systems on one platform and achieve higher productivity.
UCaaS can help achieve cost savings
One of the most attractive features of the UCaaS subscription model for any business is the ability to drastically reduce costs.
Because they’re leveraging the cloud, enterprises have the freedom to shift away from a capex-heavy strategy of investing upfront in expensive on-premise UC systems, towards a lighter strategy that’s easier on their cash flow – and easier to get up and running – to say the least.
More revenue growth with unified business communications
It’s often taken for granted, but communication is the bedrock of a healthy bottom line.
When you unify your business communications, your operations become more efficient, which allows you to test ideas, build products, deliver outstanding customer experiences that boost retention, and respond to your buyers’ needs faster.
And, because UCaaS runs on the cloud, it frees up precious IT manpower and resources that can be now channelled towards more revenue-driven goals.
The result: more revenue growth.
UCaaS – what’s next for your business?
The pandemic has forced entire industries to speed up adoption of UCaaS because safe-distancing restrictions and the need for remote work arrangements have laid bare the weaknesses of legacy phone systems.
We think the trend is irreversible, and expect UCaaS to gain even more prominence as companies push through their digital transformation initiatives.