Unified communications as a service (UCasS) is a cloud delivery mechanism for enterprise communications, supporting a range of communications functions including VoIP telephony, unified messaging, mobility, instant messaging between teams and individuals, and conferencing via audio, video, or web. Individual providers own, operate, and maintain the UCaaS infrastructure.  Key features of UCaaS are operated from a common platform on a subscription basis which covers all licensing, provision and maintenance and feature multi-tenancy of data centers and self-service portals for reporting and management.

With a multitude of vendors to choose from, companies should consider the following characteristics before making a decision about which unified communication tools to choose.

What to look for

Basic features

The essential tools in a unified communications platform are the ability to communicate across any device and any location including chat and collaboration, video meetings, and phone calls. The implementation should be intuitive and easy to access.  Time taken to train operators is the time taken out of running your business.

Quality of operation

Outages, glitches or interruptions to the service will negatively impact your business processes and productivity. When trialing a new UCaaS, ensure clarity of connections from wherever you are.  If you are operating in remote sites, make sure you try out the system in those locations as well.  A quality monitoring system will ensure technical issues are identified and alerts sent before they cause communication interruptions.

Scalability and affordability

For smaller businesses looking for a UCaaS that charges per user and has the capacity to expand as your business grows. Compare subscription prices and ensure they cover all your requirements including software licenses and service fees.

Multi-vendor integration

The most efficient systems will integrate with your existing platforms and systems, centralized with one authentication across the platform. New technology will be seamlessly rolled out and incorporated.

Maintenance and support

Your chosen provider should offer reliable support and maintenance when needed.  Some companies offer twenty-four-hour support, but you should at least have access to technical help during your location’s business hours.  Check where the support team is based and whether they will be available during your office day. Automatic troubleshooting and alerts need to be monitored and actioned to ensure your system is performing as you need it to.  Customers can be lost, and slow decisions due to communication slip-ups can be costly to any business.

Evaluate

Once you have made your decision, set up a regular evaluation check to ensure your platform is doing what it is supposed to.  New elements and products appear continually, so keep a check that your vendor is providing you with the most up-to-date features available.

Streamlining your communications platforms is of huge benefit to your business including reliable video conferencing, better customer service, and improved customer experiences. The ability to message instantly and have visibility of who is available at that moment saves time and facilitates quick decisions and solutions. A unified communications platform improves communications and connections within teams and contractors and enhances business processes.