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Given the sheer scale of businesses in the modern digital age, it is understandable that these businesses need effective, consistent and easy-to-use enterprise communications – both internal and external – to be as productive as possible and maximise business continuity.
However, many businesses are losing time and energy by struggling with outdated or inefficient modes of communication daily. In the short term, the effects of this may not be apparent, but when taken across a longer period, it may account for a serious amount of time and productivity lost.
According to a study featured in the Harvard Business Review, the average employee within a large company toggles between different applications 1,200 times per day, which equates to just under four hours a week spent toggling and re-orientating themselves after the switch. When looked at on a 12-month scale, this equals a staggering 208 hours of working time wasted switching between different apps and methods of communication.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) offers a solution to this problem and helps businesses maintain effective communication while also raising productivity rates and, ultimately, raising business revenue prospects and improving employee satisfaction.
But what exactly is UCaaS?
Unified Communications is an umbrella term for platforms that house all essential forms of communications and collaboration tools modern businesses need to remain productive – including voice service, instant messaging, email, audio, file sharing and video conferencing.
This allows employees to seamlessly switch between apps and methods of communication without wasting time and without needing to disconnect calls or meetings to start new ones utilising different technology. For example, colleagues could begin a meeting on a voice call and switch to a video conference while adding new members quickly and easily – all without cancelling the original call or switching platforms, saving time.
UCaaS, on the other hand, is the term given when a Unified Communications platform is taken as a managed service from an external provider. It then becomes the duty of the service provider to deal with elements of the service such as product updates, security and more, relieving businesses of much of the stress and hassle of maintaining a large-scale communications platform.
Because UCaaS is a fully digital solution powered by cloud technology, businesses must have an internet connection and bandwidth that is suitable to sustain all users utilising Unified Communications platforms. If the broadband in question is not suitable to withstand the data requirements of UCaaS, everything from voice calls to file transfers and beyond will suffer and effective communication between colleagues and customers will not be possible.
This is why, if a business is still relying on consumer broadband before switching to UCaaS, they may need to consider investing in a more appropriate internet solution to meet the needs of the growing business – for example, leased lines.
As the bandwidth in traditional broadband connections is divided between households and locations and can differ depending on the time of day and how many users are utilising the connection, speeds can differ greatly. This creates a problem for businesses that need a fast, consistent connection at all times. Leased lines solve this issue by offering businesses a dedicated full-fibre connection, running straight to their premises, rather than the connection being split across a wider area. Thanks to this exclusivity, download and upload speeds are equally fast, rather than download speeds being favoured as is normally expected, meaning businesses can enjoy seamless communication and file transfers at any time of day.
This is just one such option to improve business broadband to uphold a UCaaS solution. For more information on the options available to your business, speak to an Elite Group expert today.
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As all businesses are different, one business may favour specific modes of communication over another. It may be the case that a business needs robust video conferencing applications while almost entirely neglecting messaging applications, or vice versa.
That’s why, before investing in UCaaS, businesses should take note of their current communications methods, which applications are utilised the most, and which ones could benefit from improvement or additional resources.
Due to sharing similar features, UCaaS (unified communications as a service) and CCaaS (contact centre as a service) are often confused for each other. Which solution you need for your business depends on the features you require. If you’re looking for a solution that improves internal communication by providing a range of productivity features, such as file sharing, screen sharing and presence with multi-channel communication.
In comparison, CCaaS combines multiple communication channels, including voice, instant message and more along within intelligent features that streamline call traffic, enable customers to self-serve and allow your agents to provide enhanced experiences for your customers.
While some businesses may require a complete overhaul of their communication tools and systems to remove legacy technology and replace inefficient systems, many businesses may simply be seeking new technology to work alongside the existing systems they are used to. This makes a lot of sense, given how much of a ‘shock to the system’ replacing an entire communications system overnight could be. Having the two technologies working alongside each other will still allow employees to have a good understanding of their work processes while also being able to take advantage of a new system.
This is what makes UCaaS such an appealing product for many – companies can onboard a UCaaS system and integrate it with their existing platforms, solutions and tools. This provides access to new, improved tools and communication channels for your team, whilst still being able to use a range of familiar existing solutions that your employees are used to.
Having a clear knowledge of how much can be spent on a new communications system is essential for businesses to know before they leap to UCaaS. However, when considering a budget, many businesses fail to realise the immense cost savings that are afforded by UCaaS – meaning businesses could cut their communications costs drastically with a new system, instead of spending more.
Businesses that choose to invest in multiple, separate forms of communication with different providers always have several subscription plans leaving their bank accounts every month. While these payments may appear small, when viewed separately, when things are added up it may equal a surprisingly costly amount.
One of the many benefits of UCaaS is having all essential forms of communication conveniently housed in one platform, by one provider, with one single monthly subscription cost. Not only does this help businesses save cash from unnecessary spending on multiple platforms, but it also helps keep company spending clear and concise by eliminating multiple payments in favour of just one.
When deciding on a UCaaS provider, there are numerous areas businesses should consider before activating a new subscription. Here are just a few of the things businesses should look at when investigating UCaaS providers.
With UCaaS, businesses expect a comprehensive level of support from knowledgeable and experienced technology providers who can act quickly when issues arise. Providers with fast-acting and reliable support representatives always prove to be very popular.
Businesses should be able to rest easy knowing any security concerns regarding their UCaaS systems will be handled promptly by the provider. Many providers take a proactive approach to security to combat the improving techniques used by cybercriminals.
By using proactive methods such as active monitoring, providers will be alerted to and deal with security issues immediately, without intervention needed by the client in many cases, while end-to-end encryption guarantees any data that is leaked is useless to anyone but the individual within the organisation with the encryption key.
Providers who can display expertise in the area of effective business communication are ones to be taken seriously. Businesses should look for an in-depth track record of offering an exceptional level of service, with impressive knowledge when it is required.
Rather than providers offering a ‘one-and-done’ type of deal, with very little interaction between provider and customer, businesses should seek out those who are willing to offer continuous guidance on technical matters and who are open to being consulted on various issues that may arise.
Reviews are an excellent gauge of how effective (or ineffective) a business is in the services it provides. In the case of UCaaS providers, businesses can gain a clearer understanding of the level of service they can expect by siding with a specific provider, including insights into such areas as response times and customer service.
If your business is in need of a more efficient communications system while also seeking the support of an experienced and reliable communications technology provider, a UCaaS solution is the right move for you. When choosing a UCaaS solution, you have several options to choose from…
One of the leaders in Unified Communications, Mitel systems have 35 million users across 100 countries. The Mitel MiVoice Business solution is an easy-to-operate UCaaS solution that offers all the essential methods of communication businesses need to keep moving forward, with easy-to-understand monthly billing, for ultimate simplicity.
Whether you would prefer to install your new system on the cloud, on-site, or a combination of the two, Mitel can accommodate your needs, making MiVoice Business a great choice for those who like to have control over their systems while also having the support they need to thrive.
For businesses seeking to utilise UCaaS with a focus on both effective internal and external communications, the XCaaS solution from 8×8 is an easy choice. A cloud-based system, the 8×8 X-series is a favourite of growing businesses thanks to its adaptability – users can be added (or removed) quickly and easily to keep in line with a business’s needs. Plus, 8×8 offers several business-orientated applications along with its communication efforts, to offer greater insights into analytical data, so businesses can better tailor their services to their customers.
A UCaaS solution with team collaboration at heart, the Gamma UCaaS solution offers a supremely easy-to-navigate system and easy-to-use applications, so team members can collaborate on projects seamlessly – whether they are in the same office or working remotely. Better still, Gamma UCaaS gives users access to different bolt-ons, so they can fully customise their package and only pay for the applications that suit them and their business.
With over 20 years of experience in the business technology space, we’ve been on-hand for every major technology evolution of the past two decades, helping businesses stay on top of emerging trends, so they can take advantage of new technology and reap the benefits.
We’re proud to hold prestigious partnerships with some of the biggest UCaaS vendors in the world – including Mitel, 8×8 and Gamma, which means our accredited experts are capable of helping you to find the perfect UCaaS solution for your business at the best price. Our highly trained, experienced and accredited product specialists are ready and waiting to offer the knowledge and advice you need to make an informed decision, while also guiding you through the UCaaS onboarding process and beyond. With Eilte Group, you will always have dedicated account management to ensure your products are performing as desired, with constant access to reliable support to help you navigate any problems. Whether it’s a query, support request or you want to know how to get the most out of your solution, we’re here for you. Get in touch with Elite Group today for a free, no-obligation quote for your new UCaas solution.