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As their workforces become more mobile and distributed, companies face a big challenge in keeping everyone in sync. Not only are employees working from disparate locations, but they're also relying on numerous discrete productivity tools, from G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 to Slack and WhatsApp. In a lot of cases, they are accessing these services from mobile devices, where limited screen real estate leads to constant context switching between various full-screen apps. Such task-switching can reduce someone's productivity by as much as 40 percent each week.
This dramatic drop-off can take many forms. A 2017 HubSpot survey found that over 70 percent of salespeople wasted time trying to connect data across multiple tools. The same report revealed that 80 percent of respondents generally lost time to navigating multiple technologies. Fortunately, all-in-one solutions like Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, can consolidate considerable functionality into a common platform that's easily accessed by workers on the go.
Regular unified communications solutions combine capabilities such as web conferencing, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling, email, mobility (e.g., iOS and Android apps) and more into a single suite that is implemented and operated in-house, i.e., on-premises. UCaaS takes a different route by delivering all of these pooled features from the cloud.
The UCaaS market caught fire starting in the late 2010s as managed service providers began offering it as another synergistic solution in product portfolios that already included offerings such as software-defined wide area networks (aka SD-WANs), dedicated internet access and hosted VoIP. Compared with in-house UC, UCaaS is simpler to maintain, less expensive to use and easier to scale.
Here's how it generally works. The Unified Communications as a Service vendor manages the entire lifecycle of its communications platform, from adding and updating the features to taking care of all technical upkeep behind the scenes. Meanwhile, the customer pays a recurring fee to access the service over an IP network such as the public internet. There are multiple advantages to this model:
While it doesn't receive as much attention as the cost savings, the mobility angle is an important advantage of UCaaS. To see its particular advantages on this front, let's look at how UCaaS compares to other forms of cloud computing and not just on-prem UC deployments and PBXes.
The as-a-service model is most closely associated with solutions such as Infrastructure-, Platform- and Software-as-a-Service. Each of these offerings is hosted by a cloud service provider and, especially in the case of SaaS, simple to access from multiple devices, including phones and tablets. Many staples of modern productivity are SaaS apps built for such cross-platform workflows: Think Office 365 or Salesforce. Unified Communications as Service follows the same fundamental concept.
Imagine a user is talking with a colleague via VoIP call on a desktop PC and simultaneously sharing content with the coworker in an instant message chat. During the call, though, the user needs to leave the office and run an errand. With a UCaaS solution, the user could just pull the call to a mobile phone and continue as normal, all the while having access to the full context of the previous conversation. Plus, a unified view of emails, calls and messages would make it straightforward to locate exactly what's needed, when it's needed, regardless of the device in question.
In this way, UCaaS is a mobility cloud. The essential contacts, applications and services that support enterprise communications and collaboration are not locked to any one device or location, but are instead available anywhere with an internet connection. This structure makes UCaaS an ideal platform for on-the-go workers who frequently need to switch between devices. More specifically, they can take their working environments with them, by making calls from their company phone numbers and being able to work with documents, emails and contacts from within one app.
UCaaS solutions vary by vendor, with some providers integrating them into SD-WANs or other packages. Feature sets and limits on users and conferencing minutes also differ between providers. Telesystem UC-1 offers a comprehensive range of features including email, calendar and directory integration, along with apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, so that everyone has the option to connect from any device in any location.
Telesystem UC-1 is available with a 30-day free trial and is the perfect way to connect all team members across devices and locations. To learn more, visit the UC-1 main site, or reach out to our team for more info on it as well as our other voice solutions.