Managed IT

What Is UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

What is UCaaS? Learn more about unified communications and how it can help streamline your business communications.

Blog Post

12 minute read

Mar 18, 2024

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) leverages cloud technology to bring all forms of business communication into a single platform. By packaging email, instant messaging, file sharing, and video conferencing all together you can streamline communications, empower stronger and faster collaboration, and improve the work experience, all while saving time which translates to saving money.

When it comes to professional communication channels, it can be time-consuming, cumbersome, and plainly inefficient to bounce back and forth between various communication mediums. This is especially the case for modern businesses that have a variety of locations and a combination of both in-person and remote workers.  

The following sections take a deep dive into UCaaS solutions and review all the ways in which organizations benefit from an all-in-one communications platform.  

Is a managed services provider the right partner for your unified solutions implementation? See the benefits of having experts in your corner by downloading Impact’s eBook, Does Your Business Need a Managed IT Service Provider? 

What is a Unified Communications Solution?

Unified communications is a cloud-based solution for the whole suite of communication applications that a business uses. This will typically combine communication tools like email, video conferencing, and instant messaging into a fully mobile suite that can be accessed from any device.

Implementing a unified communications strategy makes it easy for businesses to establish powerful and efficient workflows regardless of where employees are located. Three of the principal benefits that stem from unified communications include:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Productivity
  3. Collaboration 

The Meaning of Unified Communications in Business

The global market for UCaaS was already surging as cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous in the business world, but now there is an even greater need for unified communications.

Unified communications is a technology that harnesses cloud-based services to streamline enterprise communications. It specifically refers to the vast number of channels businesses use to exchange information, such as: 

  • Voicemail
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Web, audio, and video conferencing
  • Telephones

The “as a service” part denotes the unique software that eliminates the need for full IT staff or intricate IT infrastructure, allowing enterprises to run their businesses from anywhere in the world at all times.

But UCaaS is more than an exchange of information. It’s a way to increase efficiency by increasing your ability to use instant communication. It improves mobility across departments and satellite locations, and it integrates external software in a smooth and consistent manner. 

 And that’s just the beginning of what unified communications can help your enterprise achieve. 

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) vs. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

VoIP increases cost savings on voice communications by providing an inexpensive alternative to traditional, landline phones. It is implemented through your internet service provider (ISP). Staff use headsets or softphones (a program that makes internet-based phonecalls) to make calls and access features such as caller ID, call waiting, forwarding, blocking, and voicemail.

A UCaaS system, however, delivers collaboration tools such as instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and more through an agreement with a united communications enterprise. In short, VoIP is just one small part of what would now be a more comprehensive package.

While a VoIP cloud service may have been sufficient for businesses in the past, a UCaaS solution is a better fit for the communication needs of today. The vendor will install relevant infrastructure and/or cloud resources, depending on the tools you need. 

unified communications

Features of Unified Communications

With a variety of collaboration services available to facilitate communication using a cloud-based delivery model, UCaaS offers decision-makers a variety of capabilities to enhance intra- and inter-business communication.

  • VoIP for telephony
  • Video conferencing to facilitate remote workers and off-site teams
  • Enterprise mobility through mobile accessibility
  • Instant messaging for real-time communication
  • Communications platform as a service (CPaaS) for real-time cloud-based communications
  • Customer relationship management to analyze data and improve customer relationships and interactions
  • Contact center features that allow customers to access assistance through chat, messaging, email, etc.

These features help provide business agility, a key factor and primary concern for organizations as they navigate the waters of digital transformation from long-standing legacy systems. 

functions of ucaas

Why Do Business Use UCaaS?

Today’s variety of work environments requires that an enterprise’s communications system function across a wide variety of platforms while ensuring data is safe and secure—a primary reason for the shift toward this technology.

In addition to the improved efficiency that can result from streamlining communications systems into one platform, UCaaS provides a way for businesses to achieve a high level of cost savings. 

As an advanced technology, UCaaS systems operate more efficiently—and cost-effectively—than more traditional communications models, saving money and increasing productivity. Increased productivity means employees are getting more work done faster, and that can lead to significant increases in revenue.

Finally, smoother communications translate into a better customer service experience, giving your organization the ability to meet or exceed consumer demands for a competitive advantage. 

Where Unified Communications is Heading

Businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working in the past few years and UCaaS systems have been a catalyst in that change thanks to the amount of cloud-based features making remote work possible.

In most cases, flexible work environements were focused on communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to solve these issues.

While the expansion of flexible work environments slows, however, businesses are continuing to increase their investments into UCaaS solutions, demonstrating its value in establishing enterprise workflows and communication channels. 

Cloud UCaaS Systems Lead the Way

It’s very much the public cloud UCaaS market that’s leading the way as far as business communications solutions go. As businesses become more comfortable with the cloud, largely as a result of the much-improved security, scalability, and affordability, they’ve taken to using the public cloud extensively to support their tech stacks.

Communications platforms make up a significant part of this and it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the result is companies spending big on platforms like Teams and Slack.

In fact, as cloud technology as a whole becomes more and more advanced, organizations are seeing the benefits of total cloud transformation initiatives.  

UCaaS: Security & Compliance

There’s no doubt that cybersecurity is a major concern for modern businesses. With the sophistication of today’s cyberattacks, savvy organizations are always looking for ways to tighten security and increase data protection.

However, now that more data is being kept in cloud-based systems, there’s been an increase in the technological development of security protections specifically designed to minimize the risks of hacking, DDoS attacks, malware, and more as they relate to data in the cloud. 

Things to look for in a good UCaaS system include:

  • A secure data center for strong physical security, power redundancy, and disaster recovery
  • Data encryption to prevent eavesdropping and hacking
  • Encryption or protection of communications in the form of calls and messages
  • Robust network security
  • Controllable and monitored account access and administration
  • Periodic updates, upgrades, and patches

As an example, Microsoft Teams provides a framework that allows enterprises to allow first- and third-party services into the team environment for a full-feature collaborative experience. However, they also provide data encryption along the entire communication route, as well as supporting key compliance standards for both North America and the European Union. 

Why is it Important for Modern Businesses to Have Good Communication?

When interdepartmental communications break down, information, processes, priorities, and tools aren’t shared among departments—a process known as “siloing.” This process has a measurable impact on operations, reduces morale, and can have a negative impact on culture and revenue. 

Healthy cross-department communication is essential for businesses looking to undergo a culture shift through successful digital transformation. Unifying connections among departments can keep everyone on the same page, increase efficiency and productivity, encourage collaboration, and improve morale. 

UCaaS Market 24'-29'

Communications such as email newsletters, accessible and adaptable meeting schedules, employee feedback, and team monitoring solutions like Microsoft Teams all assist in building a strong, unified working culture. 

UCaaS is for Every Level in Your Organization

Everyone in your office can benefit from having a universal communications system that isn’t constrained to one department.

Support and call center staff can leverage reporting and analytics to improve response time and quality.

Outside sales will appreciate the ability to have real-time information at their fingertips to close deals more effectively and stay in close contact with leads and other team members.

Onsite staff can easily transition from a mobile phone to a desktop computer with the press of a button.

The ability to organize call groups and paging groups, chat with teammates through a web portal or set up dedicated number-based conference calls makes collaboration simple. Whether it’s easier cross-department communication or giving employees in the field a platform they can take with them in their pocket, its uses are pervasive. 

Benefits of Utilizing a UCaaS Solution

Unified communication assists companies in overcoming communications challenges by streamlining processes, both internally and externally. Distilled down to the three most obvious benefits for the stakeholders—businesses, their employees, and their customers—the principal benefits of UCaaS solutions include:

1. Flexibility

Unified communications allow employees to work in any location—in the office or remotely—and have access to all pertinent data they need to do their job 24/7. Not only does this increase the agility of your enterprise, but it boosts productivity and morale. 

UCaaS solutions and real-time collaboration enable users to make decisions 2.6 times faster”

In times when people are working everywhere, businesses with a UCaaS platform are able to effortlessly shift their working circumstances without losing operational functions. 

2. Productivity

Productivity is improved because faster communication increases the effectiveness of your departments. Objectives are accomplished more efficiently through enhanced communications that keep data within reach at all times.

“By 2030, over 75% of companies will use UCaaS tools for calling, meeting, and messaging”

Productivity naturally sees the biggest boost in organizations where employees are not working in the same office, are fully remote, or which have only part of their workforce on site. Without a platform that can help them communicate and share data and information in an instant, it’s a lot more difficult to operate in an effective way. 

34% of businesses have reduced IT spending by an average of $161k a year by eliminating redundant apps and shifting to cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions. 

It’s also worth considering the effect that implementing unified communications has on your IT team. While IT departments are used to putting out fires, businesses often find that transitioning to a cloud-based suite frees up the need to host servers, freeing time for IT employees.  

These employees can then redirect their efforts more toward supporting business operations rather than solely IT support.

3. Collaboration

Finally, robust communication tools help employees collaborate more effectively, resulting in a positive internal culture and a better experience for your customers. 

When we talk about collaboration in this regard, we're referring to eliminating data siloes to make data more accessible and establish stronger workflows.

Data that was previously inaccessible from one department to the next is now a lot easier to exchange, creating an environment in which information can be used to a much greater extent than a legacy communications system can offer.

Secoda estimates that between 68-73% of business data goes unused.

So, it’s not only important that businesses take advantage of the communication aspect of UCaaS, but also their ability to make more actionable use of the mountains of data that exist in any given business. 

The Key Takeaways on UCaaS

  • UCaaS offers significant benefits to businesses looking for ways to improve their communication structures
  • As an advanced technology, UCaaS systems operate more efficiently—and cost-effectively—than more traditional communications models, saving money and increasing productivity
  • There are benefits from UCaaS at every level of business, including cross-departmental communications
  • UCaaS increases productivity, flexibility, and collaboration for a better corporate culture, improved customer relationships, and increased revenue, all while keeping costs to a minimum 

Wrapping Up on Unified Communication as a Service 

UCaaS offers significant benefits to organizations looking for ways to improve their communication structures. As an advanced technology, unified communications systems operate more efficiently—and cost-effectively—than more traditional communications models, saving money and increasing productivity.  

By implementing UCaaS solutions, you start to give your employees the resources needed to execute their best ideas.

With increased productivity, flexibility, and stronger collaboration from UCaaS solutions you can better the employee experience, improve customer relationships, and ultimately boost the bottom line.  

If you don’t know how to start building out your unified communications strategy, check out Impact’s eBook, Does Your Business Need a Managed IT Service Provider? and learn how a strategic partnership can help you reach your goals.  


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