The Value of UCaaS for Your Business
Many of our systems have been tested in this interval, where remote working has become less optional and more necessary. More of us are using Teams or some other mechanism for interoffice chat. Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and other video meeting tools are being used more heavily than ever. Our phone systems are either keeping up or falling short. I cannot tell you how many calls I have made, where I was told my contact was working remotely, and that they would take a message and get back to me.
Interestingly, all these technologies that are seeing more use than ever fall under a single newer technology heading. UCaaS or Unified Communications as a Service has been around for years and is really reaching its stride now as a viable and useful technology across a wide spectrum of businesses.
What exactly is UCaaS? There are three main components:
1. A single platform for voice (phone), video, meetings, chat, and text.
2. It can be used on most devices including a “hard phone”, desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.
3. It is cloud based, so no PBX, phone lines, or complicated phone system to maintain.
This means that you can use a physical phone that sits on your desk in your office. You can use a softphone that installs on your Mac or PC. You can also install an App on your Apple or Android device that will act as a normal extension to your business phones.
In addition, most of these systems integrate tightly with Outlook and even Teams. Most also include their own video meeting solution, text or chat feature, screen sharing, and even additional call center functionality, if desired. So where do the benefits come in?
1. Remote worker friendly. It doesn’t matter if your people are at home or the office, or somewhere between, the experience of calling, video meeting, or chatting with them is seamless. The customer, patient, vendor or co-worker who is trying to reach them is unaware of where they are (except for the kids or dog in the background, of course).
2. Ease of Management. Unlike many traditional hardware-based phone systems, the management tools for the new UCaaS platforms are very friendly. They are designed for any tech savvy user to administer. With a simple web link to an online system, you are into the administration control panel and can quickly move/add/change your setup.
3. No Maintenance or Upgrade Cycle. With a UCaaS system, the only hardware is any physical phones that you choose to invest in. There isn’t a need to replace the main phone controller unit every 5-7 years, because there isn’t any on premise hardware. Literally the only thing that might need an upgrade periodically is the physical phone itself.
4. Flexibility and Provisioning. A new system can be deployed very quickly and changes on the fly are quick and easy. Want to change your call path? Need to add a new user? Want to direct sales calls to a new extension? Need to provision another line? These are all changes that can be made in minutes.
5. Reliability and Redundancy. Most leading UCaaS providers have multiple data centers located in different regions that provide failover, even in the event of a major outage in one region. If your local Internet goes down, adjustments can be made to quickly allow an extension to ring to the soft phone app on your cellular device, or to another office location, or a hard phone can be plugged in, wherever there is Internet to bring phones back online. Because it is all Internet based, all you need is some form of solid Internet connection.
6. Feature Rich. UCaaS usually offers more features than a traditional system. For instance, multiple call, video and chat logs are created. Each of these has reports available to show activity and slice the data in a variety of ways. In addition, if the more advanced features of a call center are needed, many UCaaS solutions offer a robust solution.
7. Enhanced Experience. UCaaS offers an enhanced experience for both your team and for your customers. Your team members can seamlessly transact business, no matter where they are and can adapt to whatever circumstance they must work in. The customer can reach your team with less need to wait for a call back or try multiple numbers to reach them.
8. Single Pane. Most UCaaS solutions bring multiple applications to one pane. If you have an integrated video platform, or your UCaaS solution integrates directly with a program like Teams, you go to one place for phone, video, and chat. The need to run Zoom for video, text message on your cell, and then pick up a land-line phone to call is gone.
The benefits of UCaaS bring significant value in most organizations. However, if your business has multiple locations, a remote salesforce, people working from home, or is acquiring other companies, there is even more benefit. The flexibility and remote user friendly features are key to these situations.
Keep in mind, as with any Cloud solution, without Internet you are down. Depending on where you are now with Internet, it is wise to make sure you are UCaaS ready. You may have to juice up your Internet speed, connection type, or even add a second Internet connection from a different provider to make sure you are always up.
Good news! CTaccess is now a UCaaS solution provider for multiple vendors. If you are considering a new phone system, or are intrigued by any of the features, we would be glad to explore a solution with you to see if it is a fit!
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.