Unified communications (UC) was once viewed as a way to reduce costs and simplify administration by bringing together communications tools for telephony, email, text, instant messaging, videoconferencing and presence into a single platform. Today, UC has evolved into a valuable, strategic resource, capable of boosting productivity and innovation by enhancing the quality of collaboration and improving access to data and services.
Many organizations are utilizing cloud-based UC applications and services and taking advantage of the Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) delivery model. Single-tenancy UCaaS integrates a customized software platform with in-house applications. Organizations can also utilize a multi-tenancy approach in which multiple companies share a single software platform. A hybrid approach enables organizations to host and control some UC tools and services onsite while moving others to the cloud.
Not surprisingly, the cost factor makes UCaaS attractive to many organizations. Instead of purchasing, configuring, deploying and managing an on-premises solution, those costs and responsibilities are assumed by the service provider. For a monthly fee, users can simply access enterprise-class UC technology and applications on any Internet-connected device. Users enjoy a consistent UC experience anytime, anywhere, which allows for greater business agility and productivity.
UCaaS provides the flexibility to quickly scale services up or down according to business needs, creating operational efficiency by enabling organizations to pay only for what they need. Service provider data centers typically have more resiliency and redundancy, making it possible to maintain high levels of performance and minimize the risk of downtime and data loss. Similarly, UC support is handled by the service provider’s team of IT specialists, which often improves the speed and quality of support.
It’s important to realize that UCaaS is one approach to UC, and organizations need to determine if cloud-based UC is the right fit. Many IT managers are leery of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud, especially when dealing with increasingly complex regulatory compliance requirements. Organizations need to make sure the service provider understands and is capable of maintaining compliance.
In addition to regulatory compliance, existing technology investments must be considered. UCaaS makes the most sense in new facilities that have no communications service, or when a total overhaul is needed. Otherwise, you should make sure your UCaaS strategy is compatible with existing applications and user equipment. Employees should also be ready to embrace a new communications system, which should be trialed and tested before making a final decision.
IPC will take the time to understand your business operations and goals and clearly explain the pros and cons of UCaaS. Let us help you determine if cloud-based UC is right for your organization.