Business UCaaS

Unified communications as a service is a category of "as a service" or "cloud" delivery mechanisms for enterprise communications. Similar to platform as a service, with UCaaS, unified communications services can be made available from the cloud to businesses from SMB to enterprise.

UCaaS is part of a global industry trend towards cloud services, also known as digital transformation.

Functions of UCaaS

[19] Gartner considers UC as encompassing six functions:

  1. Voice and telephony, including mobility
  2. Meeting solutions - audio conferencing, video conferencing and web conferencing
  3. Messaging - email with voicemail and unified messaging
  4. Presence and instant messaging
  5. Clients - desktop clients and thin browser clients
  6. Communications–enabled applications - integrated contact centers, communications platform as a service and workstream collaboration

Features and Benefits of UCaaS

  • Built-in redundancy (improved reliability) of your voice solution
  • Ease of management and effortless reporting on usage
  • Streamlined user experience throughout existing tools/applications (works with CRM and other business critical applications)
  • Security (many UCaaS platforms are compliant with regulations like HIPAA, PCI, SOX and more)[17]
  • Flexibility to accommodate remote and mobile employees
  • Scalability (add or remove seats as needed)
  • Reduced IT workloads
  • OpEx model + reduced upfront CapEx on equipment/software (phones can be leased)
  • Decreased maintenance; managed updated and security patches
  • Single point-of-contact for troubleshooting via your UCaaS provider

UCaaS

Choosing a Business UCaaS Provider

Depending on the amount of lines/extensions needed, your monthly business phone service fees can start as low as $19.99 per line from an award-winning and industry-leading provider such as RingCentral. Knowing exactly what you need will make the transition fast, easy, and cost-effective.

From small business VoIP providers to enterprise VoIP phone systems, every business phone service has a different list of feature sets, and prices. Depending on the size of your company, you must take in to account system features needed, and the amount of unanticipated usage.

  • Step 1 – Check your internet connection/bandwidth to make sure you have sufficient Internet speed (your phone provider or Internet provider can you help determine this).
  • Step 2 – With your budget, calling needs, and phone system features in mind, narrow down particular small business VoIP offerings to see who can offer you the best service package for your budget.
  • Step 3 – Decide which equipment is best for your company’s current and foreseeable needs. You may purchase a phone from $50 up to $500 with all the bells and whistles. Consider phones made by leading manufactures such as Polycom, Cisco, Panasonic, and Toshiba.
  • Step 4 – Compare companies, available features, and reliability by reading reviews from other small business VoIP users.

Questions to ask of your UCaaS Provider

  • What are the startup & recurring costs?
  • Is there a money back guarantee?
  • Can you port phone numbers? Costs involved?
  • Is there a contract? Are there cancelation fees? Know what the cancelation process is like.
  • Are there any hidden fees?
  • Which calling features are included, and which features cost extra?
  • Is there international calling?
  • What kind of support is available?
  • Do you offer E911? Costs involved?
  • Do you have a mobile app?

UCaaS

Key Benefits of Business UCaaS

  • Work When & Where You Want – One very popular and common feature of business VoIP systems is called “find me/follow me.” Instead of having separate numbers for your office, cell phone, and home office, you have one “virtual extension.” You can program the virtual business phone service to ring all of your extensions simultaneously, or in a specific order, and you decide how to handle a missed call. You decide if a call should go to your voicemail, or to another extension. When you make a call using your cloud phone system, the receiving caller ID will show your business phone number, regardless of which device you are calling from.
  • Flexible Messaging Options – There are a number of business phone service options available that make retrieving and maintaining your business messages very simple. With Voicemail Transcription, you can read the message in your inbox, or receive it as a text instead of listening to it. Let’s say a client calls you about a fax he needs, and leaves a fax number on the message. With a few clicks you can virtually send the fax as a PDF to that number.
  • Multiple Numbers on Demand – Building a multifaceted business phone service with any kind of localized number or vanity number. Whether it’s business VoIP solutions for small business, enterprise, or contact center, communications is only as strong as it is dynamic, with multiple numbers, all having specific assignments to fulfill. Some business Voice Over IP phone providers will offer these additional numbers for free, or an additional small monthly fee. Explore options to find out if a provider supplies key components beyond a local number such as toll-free numbers, virtual faxing, and virtual extensions.
  • Auto Attendant (Virtual Receptionist) – This feature works as an automated receptionist able to greet your callers with customizable recordings, and direct them to departments, individuals, extensions, etc. through unique menus.
  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) – This feature is essentially a more advanced version of the call hunting feature; however, instead of routing to one set number of phones, this system is smart enough to connect the right individual for each individual call.
  • Business SMS – Keep your personal and business phone number separate. Send business related text messages to clients, colleagues, and departments professionalism through your business phone number from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Any way you slice it, an educated business is an empowered business – Know what is available and take advantage of it.

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