The Definitive Guide
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
HOW AGILE IS YOUR COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM?
How Agile Is Your Communications System?
The way we work has changed forever. We need to be able to move our entire workflow from office to home, from client headquarters to the nearest coffee shop.
Even inside our offices, with fewer reasons to be tied to a desk, we find it beneficial to work with our colleagues in conference rooms or common areas, at whiteboards or in the fresh air.
Additionally, many employees have customized their devices and work processes with time-saving apps. From IM and video conferencing to project management and CRM tools, we have created our own integrated systems based on our work style and individual client needs.
But when it comes to our phone systems, many companies have fallen behind. To receive a phone call that comes through a traditional “front desk,” employees must be sitting in their office next to their hard-wired phone.
While many use their personal cell phones for business, doing so makes separating work from personal life more difficult.
As workers become more agile, businesses are looking for ways to keep up. In order to integrate all of the ways their employees actually communicate, enterprise-class businesses have moved away from their legacy phone systems to a bundled set of collaborative solutions known as Unified Communications (UC).
What is “Unified Communications?”
What is “Unified Communications?”
PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems, which started with physical switchboards and switchboard operators, became automated over time. Then, with the advent of Internet protocol, IP telephony revolutionized the industry, offering more flexibility and lower monthly service fees.
However, the system was still based around hardwired telephones and didn’t take into account the many other ways employees began to collaborate: through email, chat, video, and other channels. While helpful, these new systems could not be effectively managed, secured, or integrated.
Unified Communications (UC) solutions combine all the ways we typically communicate as business people into a single, unified system.
3. Video conferencing incorporated with your email address, phone number, and workstation.
However, the increased flexibility comes with increased complexity and capital investment.
How do you integrate all of these services? What demands will it place on your IT department? And what does it mean to upgrade all your existing equipment to a Unified Communications model?
Technology changes quickly, and no one wants to be saddled with old (on-premise) equipment when a necessary upgrade becomes available.
Your staff size and employees’ needs may change quickly as well. The capital investment (CapEx) you make today may not serve your needs tomorrow.
The old “consumption model” of buying expensive equipment and holding onto it until you absolutely have to upgrade is making less and less sense. That’s why many organizations are switching to Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS.
WHAT IS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS AS A SERVICE (UCAAS)?
What is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)?
UCaaS takes the legacy model of Unified Communications and modernizes it.
An organization moves away from their old, on-premise UC solution, which is a capital expense (CapEx), and implements a cloud-based UC solution, which is classified as an operating expense (OpEx). This cloud-based solution, which is an “as-a-service” model, is called UCaaS.
UCaaS has many benefits over on-premise UC solutions. In addition to the move to OpEx, UCaaS requires far less support from your internal IT team. Features can be added and subtracted with a few clicks, and the software upgrades itself seamlessly. Furthermore, as the needs of your business change, you can easily upscale or downscale equipment and services.
Cloud services are an all-important part of the UCaaS model. We already backup our hard drives, banking, and photos to the cloud. Why not our phone services?
With UCaaS systems, cloud backup happens automatically, so you’re protected in case of damage to your property or equipment, outside hackers, or other revenue-interrupting catastrophes. With software features continually being upgraded, your system stays current with the other apps you may want to integrate into your system.
With cyber-security platforms compliant with HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and more, software updates also include up-to-the-minute security patches to keep you and your company safe. This means, when it comes to cyber-security, a great UCaaS system has you covered.
WHAT FEATURES ARE ALWAYS INCLUDED WITH UCAAS SYSTEMS?
What features are always included with UCaaS Systems?
Though the top vendors of UCaaS (see below) differentiate themselves in a few ways, every UCaaS system features:
(standard telephony, call-forwarding and handling, voicemail, fax line, and auto-attendant)
(internal team messaging and presence monitoring)
(online video conferencing)
(cloud storage and backup)
(desktop and smartphone applications for a fully integrated user experience)
THE TOP VENDORS OF UCAAS SYSTEMS
The Top Vendors of UCaaS Systems
A familiar name in IT, Cisco was founded in 1984 and is a trusted name in networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other forms of enterprise technology. Cisco has broad shoulders and a deep background, basing their solutions on years of experience and a multinational staff.
Their UCaaS system, Broadcloud, helps businesses move to the cloud gradually. If your company already has a Cisco UC system, Broadcloud may be the best choice if you want to make a change.
Whether you want to change gradually or immediately, Cisco can help you host your cloud solution on your premises on their cloud servers.
Avaya is a spin-off of Lucent Technologies, which itself was a spin-off of AT&T. Founded in 2000, Avaya’s focus has been on communications solutions for businesses from the beginning.
Avaya’s product OneCloud, which pairs with its app Equinox, can be entirely cloud-based. However, like Cisco, they can provide and install the equipment stack you need to host everything on your premises.
Boasting the market’s first cloud-only solution, RingCentral has been in existence since 1999. The most narrowly focused of the companies that specialize in UCaaS, it earned Frost & Sullivan’s Market Leadership Award in both 2015 and 2016.
The central service of RingCentral, Office, operates on an open API platform that encourages a community of developers to create customized patches for their specific needs and integrations.
CHOOSING BETWEEN UCAAS SYSTEMS
Choosing Between UCaaS Systems
These three leading UCaaS vendors have features that may work well for many types of businesses. However, it’s difficult to determine from their list of features what the exact differences between the three providers are.
How do you choose what’s right for you?
Successful enterprise-class businesses and their IT departments look to a consultative service that can help them make the right choice, customize it for their specific needs, and be their first call for all their IT integration.
That’s where we at VOX shine. We take a look at who you are, what you do, and what your needs are.
VOX Lifecycle is our proprietary, consultative framework designed to assist and enable our clients to make informed decisions to achieve their desired business outcomes. We know UCaaS systems inside and out and will help you select the right one for your business.
Business Strategy Analysis
Through our proprietary Lifecycle methodology, our team of experts will discover and document your business strategies, objectives and KPIs and how these align with your key business units and their core processes. This robust engagement yields enlightening results and creates holistic clarity to shed light on the business imperatives that are critical to your organizational success.
Business Technology Assessment: UC / UCaaS
The UC / UCaaS Assessment is ideal for customers who are planning to implement collaborative solutions such as Voice, Video or Mobility. Our team of experts provides a thorough, consultative examination and analysis of your readiness for the migration to a new solution. The Assessment facilitates effective planning and deployment of a Unified Collaboration solution from end to end.
Technology Adoption Assessment
Get more value from your existing technology investments, and achieve your desired business outcomes. This assessment measures adoption of in-house technologies by analyzing software versions, application and software usage, feature utilization and training programs and more.
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Robust Customer Success Plan
Process, Tech & Risk Assessments