With its ability to streamline communications and improve the customer experience, a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution can greatly enhance your business communication capabilities. If a business wants to ensure a successful implementation, however, they should address certain business requirements of UCaaS prior to adopting the technology. Here's what your organization should have in place — from personnel to technology — to maximize a UCaaS solution.
What Is UCaaS?
UCaaS is a cloud-based communications solution that unifies a range of powerful business communications tools within a single platform. A UCaaS solution typically includes voice calling, messaging, video conferencing, audio conferencing, and screen-sharing capabilities — all of which boost productivity and improve communications. And, unlike the legacy telephone systems of old, it's versatile and mobile. Employees can use UCaaS to make and receive calls using their office line from their desk at headquarters, a remote office, a coffee shop, or on the go using any device they choose — whether that's a traditional office phone or their favorite mobile device. Colleagues can quickly collaborate about emerging opportunities, jointly review a proposal in a video conferencing session, or coordinate a rapid response to a client via a brief messaging exchange.
UCaaS offers businesses flexibility and reliability, allowing them to scale their implementations for growth as needed. UCaaS also allows businesses to enjoy predictable, manageable costs while avoiding expensive upfront capital expenditures. UCaaS solutions now also integrate with leading business applications, delivering businesses an even more appealing return on their technology investment. This dynamic cloud-based communications technology can benefit businesses of all sizes and stages of growth, enabling organizations to stay connected, collaborative, and productive no matter where they are headed in the future.
You'll also want to be sure that the API your UCaaS provider offers is able to successfully support the integration capabilities you need, such as Click-to-Dial and automatic call logging.
4 Business Requirements of UCaaS
Because UCaaS is a cloud-based technology that can largely be handled via a third-party vendor, the lift for the business isn't particularly heavy. However, there are a few technology requirements and other key elements that you should get in order before implementing the technology. You'll want to carefully prepare both your network infrastructure and your employees for the change that UCaaS represents by putting the following in place:
- A reliable, high-performing network. There are a few infrastructure requirements for UCaaS. Certain features, particularly video conferencing, may require significant bandwidth in the form of one or more dedicated T1 circuits to run smoothly — though the amount of bandwidth required will depend on the size of your organization. Some businesses use SD-WAN technology to cost-effectively deliver UCaaS services across multiple locations. If your network is not adequately resourced to support UCaaS, you may encounter latency or call quality issues, so configure quality of service (QoS) settings to prioritize these types of network traffic. You may also need to ensure that you have enough Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches (ideally managed switches with 1000Mbps or gigabit ports) to provide electric power and network connectivity for your VoIP phones.
- Appropriately trained staff. UCaaS may pose a learning curve to some of your IT staff if they haven't yet administered a collaboration platform of this type before. Make sure that they have the training they need in order to fully support UCaaS. You'll also want to ensure that your network administrators and systems administrators — who will manage the UCaaS solution or the network environment supporting it — are well-trained on their respective responsibilities. Also consider which types of users, such as receptionists and executive assistants, may require specialized training.
- An integration plan. Integrating your CRM with a UCaaS system enables your employees to deliver better customer service, using Click-to-Dial to quickly call a customer straight from their customer record in the CRM and take advantage of automatic call logging to keep more accurate records. When your CRM is integrated with a UCaaS system, team members can take notes on calls, store them in one central location, and easily access them on future calls, making customer interactions even more seamless. Integrating will involve some careful advance planning, though. You'll want to ensure that your CRM can be integrated with your UCaaS solution. From there, you'll also want to be sure that the API your UCaaS provider offers is able to successfully support the integration capabilities you need. If you want your employees to have mobile access to these integration benefits, make sure to specify that requirement in advance of implementing UCaaS as well.
- Change management. Set your organization up for success by considering in advance how you'll communicate with users in various departments during the implementation and who they should contact for support both during and after the switch to UCaaS. You may need to provide tailored support to users with specific responsibilities, such as receptionists, executive assistants, and call center agents, so consider how best to communicate the unique changes they will experience in advance of your switch to UCaaS. If your organization is already experiencing considerable change in other areas, it's all the more important to ensure that your IT team has a clear plan for communicating the changes users can expect well in advance of your UCaaS implementation.
Set Your Organization Up for UCaaS Success
UCaaS offers powerful business benefits, but it does require some careful advance planning in order to reach its greatest potential. By preparing now for the UCaaS implementation you want to achieve, from factoring in network requirements to taking change management considerations into account, you'll position your organization well for UCaaS success.