What is UCaaS?
Unified Communications as a Service
You’ve heard of UC, but what’s UCaaS?
UC stands for “Unified Communications,” while UCaaS refers to “Unified Communications as a Service.” Mostly, it’s a communications delivery model based on the cloud, that offers companies the chance to access a wide range of applications and services.
Most UCaaS platforms include support for things like enterprise messaging, online meetings (web, video, and audio), team collaboration, and presence.
UCaaS has emerged as a popular opportunity for many businesses. Today, as companies search for more agility and flexibility in their communication stack. Some UCaaS vendors even support contact centre solutions like interactive voice response, auto-attendant, and customer relationship management integrations, to help align the internal and external communication strategies of a business.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have everything you need to answer the question: “What is UCaaS?”
How Does UCaaS Work?
UCaaS is an element of the “as a service” model for cloud computing, designed to streamline internal and external business conversations. With UCaaS, businesses don’t have to use multiple applications and vendors to keep things running smoothly. Instead, they only need a single solution that supports everything from instant chat and messaging, to SMS, presence, conferencing and more.
UCaaS reduces the cost and labour associated with a communication stack. Your services are charged on a monthly or annual service fee, and there’s no need to worry about on-premise deployments or large in-house IT teams for internal maintenance. Instead, your communication environment is managed by a team elsewhere.
UCaaS also gives organisations the opportunity to integrate multiple modes of communication through a single cloud provider. This facilitates greater collaboration in the workforce and improves business productivity. You can even incorporate your Unified Communications as a Service solution with your contact centre services to access additional functionality for your entire team.
Many of today’s companies believe that UCaaS can help them to unlock better interactions with their customers. In the past, most business communication was managed either over the phone or through email. However, in recent years, there’s been a significant rise in instant messaging and SMS for business purposes. UCaaS can help to align employees on multiple platforms, which allows them to collaborate over customer problems and solve issues faster.
At the same time, because UCaaS solutions are delivered over the cloud, it means that your teams can access the tools they need to serve your audience regardless of where they are or which device they’re using. As things like flexible scheduling and remote working become more popular, this freedom to communicate on a range of devices while “on-the-go” is an important differentiator for many businesses.
What Are the Different Types of UCaaS Architectures?
If you’re interested in a UCaaS deployment for your business, then there are two primary architectures to choose from multi-tenancy and single-tenancy.
In single-tenancy UCaaS, the user receives a highly-customised software platform capable of integrating with their existing on-premise applications. Single tenancy is a popular option for many businesses because it’s often regarded to be one of the most reliable and secure modes of deployment. Single tenancy deployments run one instance per client on the SaaS server. Because the system has no other customers to serve, it’s private, dependable, and easy to restore if anything goes wrong.
Multi-tenancy UCaaS deployments, on the other hand, allows multiple companies or users to share the same software platform. Multi-tenancy is naturally more cost-effective and sometimes comes with more support from the vendor.
With a multi-tenancy UCaaS service, your system will be hosted within the UCaaS data centre, and you’ll receive upgrades from the provider as and when they’re available. For the most part, the experience is very similar to a single-tenancy platform. However, with a multi-tenancy service, you do get slightly less flexibility and customisation than you would with single tenancy. Some companies also believe that multi-tenancy is more vulnerable from a security standpoint.
In some cases, it’s also possible to adopt a hybrid approach where you maintain a portion of your UC strategy on-premise and move other applications into the cloud. Some enterprises take a hybrid approach to UCaaS so that they can balance their budgetary and security needs.
What’s Driving UCaaS In the Workplace?
UCaaS essentially provides all the benefits of Unified Communications but in a hosted environment. Because UCaaS is delivered through the cloud, most companies can access higher levels of scalability, flexibility, and availability.
Some organisations (particularly smaller ones), turn to UCaaS to avoid some of the operational and capital expenses that come with deploying a standard UC service. Many smaller companies lack the resources and staff required to support on-premise UC. Other firms implement UCaaS to streamline their UC service and access the latest innovations when they happen.
The biggest draw of UCaaS is its ability to transition companies to the cloud. Though cloud-based communications aren’t right for every enterprise, the flexibility and scalability of the cloud environment can enable greater functionality, flexibility, and transformation within an organisation. UCaaS is also becoming increasingly popular thanks to its ability to enable integration with the business platforms that companies use every day, like ERP systems, CRM, and call management services.
Embracing UCaaS in the Workforce
As a cloud technology, UCaaS offers unbeatable scalability and flexibility for organisations that need to be able to accelerate quickly and embrace innovation fast. UCaaS can also be a particularly useful option for companies that need to quickly remove and add new employees to their environment. Cloud-based enterprise communications allow for the easy onboarding or removal of staff, without any major infrastructure changes.
What’s more, cloud technology can also deliver a more consistent user experience for remote workers, mobile employees, and those who prefer to work on different devices, because tools remain the same regardless of those factors.
As digital transformation continues and new solutions like AI and machine learning enter the marketplace, UCaaS vendors are increasingly adding new solutions into their cloud platforms. Some vendors are even introducing CPaaS capabilities and APIs for businesses that want to build on top of their cloud services.
As the business world becomes more competitive, UCaaS allows for simplicity, innovation, and scalability on the cloud.