Does your company need unified communications?
You’ve heard of software as a service (SaaS), but here’s what you need to know about unified communications as a service (UCaaS).
You’re in the middle of an important call for your company. It could be a game-changer. Here’s the problem: You’re on your landline, the call is running over, and you need to head out to your company car next to get to a client meeting on time. What do you do?
If your company uses unified communications as a service (UCaaS), the answer is simple: You switch the call from your desk phone to your cellphone without the person you’re talking to even knowing.
Increasingly, employees at every level depend on staying connected to multiple devices throughout their workday in order to be effective. The more they do, the more the concept of unified communications continues to gain traction. Unified communications is the idea that instead of having to manage each of those devices separately—your work cellphone, your work landline, your laptop, your desktop—you can link them all in a way that connects and streamlines all of your communications technology.
Unified communications as a service does a lot more than allow easy switches from one device to another. It also gives companies access to integrated applications like real-time web and audio conferencing, secure instant messaging, voicemail-to-text services and an “auto attendant” to help direct customers calling into the right person. Together, the voice, video and collaboration tools that UCaaS offers can help any company stay connected and increase productivity.
“UCaaS allows the organization to communicate more effectively across multiple platforms internally and with their clients. In addition, it ensures their customers can reach them if the physical office is having an outage,” explained Mike St. John, the IT sales manager for UCaaS provider Marco Managed IT Services.
If a company’s system goes down under ordinary circumstances, it could be a disaster. With UCaaS, employees can easily sign in remotely using an alternate device to continue doing their work, and their customers would never even know the difference.
Even when a company’s systems are functioning normally, UCaaS can help users maintain a higher level of responsiveness. With voicemail-to-text services, as just one example, any messages left on an employee’s phone will immediately be sent out as a text-based message that the employee can read from all of their other devices. Instead of waiting until they’re back in the office to listen to the message and respond, they can read the message wherever they are and take action immediately.
While all companies stand to gain from using unified communications, the ones that will see the most benefit are those that depend heavily on keeping in touch both internally and with their customers. “Highly mobile, highly distributed and multi-location companies see more benefits,” said Eric Casteel, Senior Director of IT Sales for Managed IT Service company Marco. “Distributed, mobile work environments have increased needs for uniform communication across locations and mediums—cellular, desk, laptop and conference rooms.”
Meeting those needs may come at a cost, but it’s important that companies aren’t directly comparing UCaaS costs to an ordinary voice-centric phone system since the benefits which the two approaches offer are so different. “It has moved away from a price discussion and into a business enablement discussion,” Casteel noted. For companies that value connectedness and customer service, their increased efficiency using UCaaS will often be enough to tip the scales; the value they get for the service will make their decision clear.
The UCaaS technology is also highly secure. In fact, the security controls of a cloud system and data center typically far exceed those of a standard system. The extra layers of protection in place can make users feel confident that their data is safe.
Since the concept of unified communications is still relatively new, there are some misconceptions that prevail about what it means to have an outside company like Marco set up unified communications as a service. That’s one of the reasons that Marco offers all potential customers the opportunity to consult directly with a communication technology specialist to learn more about how UCaaS can meet an individual company’s goals. One of the most common misconceptions that comes up, said Casteel, is a concern that a company will lose control.
“Contrary to that point, administration and management in a cloud platform exceeds many premise systems and simplifies the user interface and user experience to the extent that end users can participate in their own programming,” Casteel said. With more employees able to understand and interact with the cloud system, the company will actually end up with more total control over their communications than they had previously.
In total, UCaaS is an easy, effective way to let an expert IT company take your communications to the next level.
To learn more about the benefits of UCaaS and other managed IT services, visit marconet.com.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.