Unified Communications as a Service: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: July 15th, 2024

Your Unified Communications Questions Answered

For businesses seeking to maximise productivity and collaboration, unified communications platforms offer the ideal solution; allowing users to seamlessly connect and work together to boost operations and provide the best experiences for customers. If you have been investigating Unified Communication solutions for the first time, naturally, you will have questions surrounding how this technology works and how it can benefit your business.

As a communications provider with over two decades of industry experience, we’re here to help! We’re going to explore some of the most frequently asked unified communications questions to help you to discover more about this versatile solution.

1) What is Unified Communications?

Positive business partners with headset on working in a call center

Unified communications is an umbrella term for solutions that bring together a range of internet-based communication channels, as well as tools that can improve communications, employee engagement and productivity. Users have access to multi-channel communication, such as voice, instant message, video conferencing and more, so they can seamlessly switch between channels, all within one platform. With handy tools, such as file-sharing, real-time document editing and presenting capabilities accessed within the same platform, users can interact and work together on projects efficiently. This solution can either be hosted and maintained in-house or by a third-party provider.

2) What is Unified Communications as a Service?

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) are communication platforms that offer multi-channel communication and productivity tools within one platform and are taken under a contract and managed by a third-party provider. With this solution, it is the responsibility of the provider to cover important tasks, such as security of the platform, maintenance and monitoring of shared data.

While some businesses prefer to maintain a higher level of control over their solution and manage the technology themselves, many find comfort in knowing their communications platform is being actively monitored and managed by experienced professionals. This is great for businesses who don’t have suitable resource to manage a communications platform in-house or want to relieve the pressure of managing a communications solution from their IT team.

3) How Does UCaaS Work?

Hosted offsite within a cloud environment, UCaaS solutions are powered by an your business’s broadband connectivity. All applications and communication channels are housed within one platform that is onboarded within your business. UCaaS solutions can be accessed on a wide range of devices, from internet-based desk phones to laptops and mobiles, all that is required is for the user to install the relevant application onto the device. Users will be issued with login details, which are then used to access the platform and all the data, apps and communication channels within it.

Communication is transmitted and received via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology. This works by breaking down voice signals in order for them to travel over an internet connection. It replaces the need for physical analogue lines that older, PSTN-based business phone systems relied on. All that a user needs to utilise your UCaaS system, is a compatible device, the application installed on said device and login information.

3) What are the Benefits of UCaaS?

The key benefit that UCaaS can provide for a business is improved cost-efficiency. Most modern digital businesses utilise multiple forms of communication, such as voice, email, chat and more, but rely on multiple solutions in order to deliver the communication channels they need. Not only can this equate to significant sums of money in the form of multiple contracts, users having to switch between communication platforms can cost your business in both time and money through lost productivity.

As UCaaS solutions unify multi-channel communications and tools within one application, available on a contract basis, you only have to pay one monthly bill, which is far more cost-effective in comparison to paying for multiple solutions. Furthermore, your team no longer have to switch between communication channels and productivity applications, as they can access them all, natively, within the UCaaS platform.

Read more: Top 10 Unified Communications for Your Business

4) What Business Size Is UCaaS Suitable For?

While any sized business could benefit from using UCaaS systems, they are most ideally suited for medium to large businesses, especially those with distributed workforces, as well as remote and hybrid workers. According to a study conducted by research house, Precedence Research, the global Unified Communications market in 2022 was ‘dominated’ by its adoption within large businesses, with businesses of this size making up 80% of the global user base.

5) What Communication Channels Does UCaaS Support?

A wide-reaching technology, UCaaS platforms support every major communication method utilised by modern businesses, including voice calls, email instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, collaboration tools and more. As all applications are housed in the same platform, there’s no need to waste time switching between platforms and users can seamlessly move between communication channels to meet the needs of that current conversation. For example, users could start their conversation on a voice call, but jump to a video call in order to go through a PowerPoint – all without having to end the original call.

6) Can I Integrate UCaaS with my Existing Applications?

Absolutely. From productivity applications to CRM systems, you can integrate a wide range of exsiting systems and platforms within your UCaaS platform. For example, if your business is used to using Teams as an internal communications platform, you can integrate it within your UCaaS platform in order to leverage its existing features with the advanced communication features that unified communications can offer. Existing CRM tools can also be integrated into UCaaS systems, allowing users to manage customer relationships effectively and enabling access to critical information to fuel powerful productivity.

7) Is UCaaS Suitable for a Remote Workforce?

Unified communications solutions, in general, are excellent for remote workforces. As the system is cloud-based, rather than being hard-wired to a single location and relying on physical hard drives, the system and any other associated data can be accessed from virtually anywhere. As long as the remote worker in question has access to a stable internet connection and a suitable device to access the UC solution, they can remain connected with their office-based colleagues and customers easily. Even when working away from home, UC solutions can be accessed via a mobile data connection, allowing your team to be productive from any location.

8) Can UCaaS replace my existing phone system?

UCaaS is an ideal upgrade if you are still using a business phone system that relies on the PSTN (the network of outdated, physical analogue lines). The upcoming PSTN switch-off – in which BT will be deactivating the traditional copper wiring that has powered British phone systems for decades – will render communications useless if businesses have not made the move to a more suitable digital alternative by January 2027. By onboarding UCaaS, you will stay connected to your colleagues and customers and reap the many benefits and advantages of UCaaS systems over traditional phone systems.

9) What does my business need to implement UCaaS?

Traditional phone systems require a large amount of physical input, including the installation and wiring of hard phones – which can be time-consuming and expensive. However, UCaaS systems present no such issue and are far easier to deal with. As long as your business has a stable internet connection with enough bandwidth to uphold internet-powered communications, your team will be able to take advantage of all of the benefits UCaaS has to offer.

Your chosen UCaaS vendor will offer each colleague their own unique login, so they can access the files and tools they need to remain productive. If your business grows, and you need to add new colleagues to the system, all you need to do is to simply contact your UCaaS vendor and they will add more user numbers to your monthly subscription – it’s that simple.

10) Can employees use our existing desk phones with UCaaS?

If your existing desk phones are not able to make and receive calls via the Internet and are fully reliant on being hard-wired to a traditional phone line, they will not be able to connect calls made through a UCaaS system. If you have desk phones that can be used with or can be adapted for use with UCaaS systems, then you can simply utilise these to access your system.

However, one of the biggest benefits of UCaaS systems is that they can be accessed via a range of devices, including PCs, mobile and tablets. So, if you’re happy for your team to use your new UCaaS system from their existing devices, there is no need to invest in new hardware.

11) How Secure are UCaaS solutions?

There is a common fear amongst businesses who are unfamiliar with UCaaS technology that hosting calls and data via the cloud could spell disaster, as any information that is shared is open to attack from cyber criminals, whereas traditional data storage relies on hard drives that need to be accessed in person. Whilst this is understandable, modern cybersecurity protocols and software have bolstered the security of cloud systems. Methods like end-to-end encryption – which scrambles data, rendering it useless to attackers – and multi-factor authentication – in which users must prove their identity using multiple devices and codes – have helped to keep hackers away from business data.

Furthermore, if your solution is managed by a third-party provider, as long as you have checked that they have suitable security accreditations and adhere to best security practices and protocols, you have peace of mind that your solution is in the hands of a security-focussed professional. In short, UCaaS solutions remain exceptionally secure and businesses should have no security fears when taking them into consideration.

12) How cost-effective is UCaaS?

Given that cost savings are one of the main reasons businesses opt to switch to UCaaS and, it should come as no surprise that the technology is recognised to be very cost-effective. While businesses will be spending every month on their communications, the amount they can save by eliminating separate methods of communication from their books and housing them all in a single communications platform can be vast. According to an article featured in unified communications news site, UC Today, businesses have reported saving anywhere between 50 and 70%, annually, on the cost of their communications technology, making UCaaS a hugely worthwhile investment. In addition, with UCaaS, businesses will no longer be lumbered with engineer costs when technical problems arise – as the majority of issues can be solved remotely.

Choose Elite Group to Help Find the Right UCaaS Service Provider For You

If you’re looking to move your communications away from analogue solutions, feature-rich UCaaS solutions provide the opportunity to both safeguard your communications and prepare your business for the future.

Our partnerships with some of the most respected and prestigious UCaaS providers, alongside our team of accredited, experienced specialists enable us to provide the latest, first-class solutions with knowledgeable support.

Our team of experts will work with you to examine your business, its needs and offer you a tailored UCaaS solution that meets those needs exactly. You’ll have access to your own, named account manager who will ensure your product remains fit for purpose. Need help with a query or want to know how to get the most out of your solution? Our speedy support team is always here to find the answers you need.

Ready to make the move to UCaaS? Speak to an Elite Group expert today to find out more – fill out our contact form or call 0344 875 8880.