UCaaS is going mainstream. Like its older IP cousin VoIP, Unified Communications as a Service moved quickly from arcane acronym used by network engineers to become a term forward thinking line of business decision makers might be familiar with. Something that the latter group may not know are the benefits of moving to UCaaS; not simply from a costperspective, but the impact on creating a great experience for your customers. Not to mention engaging another essential audience, your own employees. If any of this is new to you, here’s a quick primer on the role of UCaaS in the new digital workplace.
The forerunner of UCaaS is of course unified communications, aka, UC, which typically offers some combination of voice (VoIP), chat, IM, presence, collaboration or document/screen sharing, and video/conferencing integrated into the traditional office phone system. How much of that you get, which varies by provider, determines your ability to implement a platform for communications and collaboration. Compared to predecessor PBX systems and basic VoIP, unified communications introduced a new era of efficiency and productivity to business communications.
But it was with the next phase of UC – cloud-based Unified Communications, or UCaaS – that businesses began to see the potential for something with greater impact, supporting a higher level of collaboration, and turning the old office phone system into a powerful tool for audience engagement. And it couldn’t have happened at a more essential time.
UCaaS takes everything traditional UC offers and dials it up a notch, providing a seamless, interoperable, productivity enhancing solution for communications and collaboration. Since it’s both device and location agnostic, users can work wherever they choose (office, home, remote, mobile) with consistent access to a suite of voice and collaboration tools. So no matter where they are, your people can be part of – or take control of – the conversation.
Numerous factors are driving interest in the UCaaS powered digital workplace, leading a growing number of organizations to leave their legacy on-premises solutions behind:
The strategic benefits of UCaaS are simple, starting with engagement:
While everyone claims their services are easy to manage/use, a number of things set some apart from the rest. Here’s a few good questions to ask to help figure it out:
Finally, consider the advantage of UCaaS from a network service provider (Windstream is one such NSP). Combining both applications and services into a single integrated solution helps achieve greater quality, performance and stability; a combination that’s hard to beat.
In making a selection, look for an expanding range of solutions to suit differing needs, and the ability to bundle UCaaS with services like SD-WAN to deliver added value, performance and future utility.
What are your thoughts about UCaaS? Will live up to the hype or is it just another buzz-friendly acronym? Give us a shout (or an IM, chat, email, etc.) and let us know.
Austin Herrington is Vice President of Enterprise Voice Product Management for Windstream. He oversees Windstream’s enterprise product strategy and roadmap. He and his team develop, manage and market advanced products and services offered to customers nationwide, executing programs to help businesses achieve a perpetual state of winning. He was previously director of product management responsible for Windstream’s Internet portfolio and value-added services. Prior to joining Windtstream in 2006, Herrington was director of product management for Alltel. He holds an MBA from the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business.