Want better video conferencing capabilities? Explore UCaas. Source: Shutterstock

Want better video conferencing capabilities? Explore UCaas. Source: Shutterstock

The CIOs guide to understanding the fundamentals of UCaaS

RAPIDLY growing businesses in this day and age need to communicate with offices in other regions and with clients in other geographies and timezones.

In many cases, there’s a preference for video and a need for multiple participants.

To best support such needs, companies need enterprise-grade communications tools, and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provides a great option — one that’s set to grow at a CAGR of 29.4 percent (2016/2024) and reach a valuation of US$79.3 billion by the end of 2024.

UCaaS, a cloud-based, as-a-service communication offering, provides features such as file-sharing, internet telephony, email, text messaging, and video conferencing — all via a comprehensive, multi-device, responsive, user interface on a single platform.

From the business user’s perspective, it’s an app that can be fired up to make calls, send text messages, make video calls, and share files, with just a few clicks. Simple and easy, so executives can focus on the task at hand.

UCaaS is beginning to gain a lot of attention recently because as organizations climb the digital maturity curve, the technology helps improve their communications significantly while also reducing costs.

Since it is cloud-based, UCaaS is flexible and scalable. Further, although UCaaS solutions can be configured on VoIP desk phones, they aren’t necessarily dependent on such devices, reducing implementation costs significantly.

Further, in most cases, being enterprise-grade, UCaaS solutions are also more reliable than free and consumer-grade VoIP and video conferencing solutions.

However, reliability is entirely dependent on the UCaaS provider’s cloud-services uptime, which means, organizations need to do their due diligence before they hone in on a particular solution.

UCaaS: Single-tenancy v. multi-tenancy

One of the most important conversations when evaluating UCaaS solutions is whether companies want a single-tenancy infrastructure or a multi-tenancy infrastructure?

Single-tenancy infrastructure in the UCaaS world essentially means companies run their own instance of the platform and have their own independent database. They do not share any resources with any other company.

Think of single-tenancy UCaaS as a company with its own independent office building. Of course, it costs more to set up and maintain, but it definitely is more secure, offers more control, and ensures there’s a better chance for uptime.

Multi-tenancy, on the other hand, means the UCaaS platform supports multiple customers at once.

Such a UCaaS setting is often cheaper, but it does bring along concerns about security and data privacy which might be an issue for certain kinds of organizations such as banks and government agencies bound by regulatory requirements to ensure infrastructure independence and security.

Despite the obvious security concerns around multi-tenancy UCaaS solutions, many experts argue that the level of risk is merely perceived rather than actual — as the integrity of the overall system is guaranteed by the provider and secured by a collective interest in business continuity.

Building a use case for UCaaS

While cost savings, flexibility, and scalability are things that force CIOs to think about UCaaS as an option, the fact that the technology plays a great role in the future of the organization only helps build a stronger case for its adoption.

Here are three reasons why businesses should really explore UCaaS to support their business:

# 1 | Workforce mobility and connectivity

In an age where organizations are rapidly building agile teams spread over timezones and geographies, comprised of employees, clients, and freelance consultants, workforce mobility and connectivity are key issues.

UCaaS can provide a viable solution to such teams because it’s a reliable mode of communication, irrespective of which part of the world a team member or conference participant is in.

Many UCaaS service providers boast of near 100 percent uptime (99.99 percent or more) which ensures that discussions are seamless and information flows smoothly.

# 2 | Enterprise-grade, large-scale collaborations

Organizations today thrive when there’s collaboration. UCaas enables collaboration at scale.

One of the most interesting features is that it enables enterprise-grade collaboration quite seamlessly and effectively.

Employees can place calls, make presentations, share screens, and send files seamlessly and on a single platform, irrespective of where the team’s participants are based.

According to many experts, these are the tools that foster innovation among agile teams — all enabled by collaboration capabilities powered by UCaaS.

# 3 | Productivity and compliance

UCaaS usually provides a single window experience for all communication needs to employees across the organization.

As a result, it allows executives to be productive and ensure that the organization’s resources are being used effectively, no matter where they are.

Further, such a platform maintains tight control over data, allowing for strong compliance controls to be put in place so that the company always adheres to the stipulations made by laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the US’ California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).