A guide to comparing UCaaS technology in 2022
The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is growing at an incredible rate, and is expected to reach a value of approximately $70 billion by 2028. Although the demand for flexible and scalable technologies in the communications environment is not new, interest in these solutions has undoubtedly grown in recent years. The pandemic, flexible working and hybrid employment mean that UCaaS is no longer an option for most companies – it’s mandatory.
Only with a flexible and agile environment like UCaaS can business leaders prepare for anything the future may have to offer. UCaaS paves the way for remote working, better business continuity, and rapid innovation at scale.
Of course, if you’re considering investing to join the revolution and invest in UCaaS technology, you’ll need to start by comparing some of your options. Here’s a guide to achieving UCaaS in 2022 and beyond.
Step 1: Consider your cloud strategy
In today’s fast-paced market, chances are your UCaaS investment isn’t in a vacuum. Many brands are in the midst of a digital transformation process that involves moving a significant portion of their work and processes to a cloud environment. While UCaaS may be the most crucial investment for your brand today, there are other elements of cloud technology that you may want to implement in the long run.
If you’re making a full cloud transition, now might be the time to start looking for vendors that can combine multiple cloud solutions into a single ecosystem. Increasingly, we are seeing the rise of “consolidated cloud” environments, where companies can unlock contact center technology, unified communications and other tools delivered “as a service”.
Brands planning to implement UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS technologies in their ecosystem in the coming years could benefit from examining vendors that can support all of these tools in the same aligned environment. Alternatively, you can think of providers with settings that are open enough to make it possible to use devices in the future.
Step 2: meet specific needs
One of the main advantages of UCaaS as a collaboration and communication tool is that it is inherently flexible. Over the past two years, many companies have discovered that “out-of-the-box” communications solutions aren’t always ideal for their brands or budgets. UCaaS makes it easier to build more personalized environments from scratch.
Depending on your unique business needs, you may need a higher degree of flexibility from your supplier than most. This may mean that you should prioritize finding a provider with low-code or no-code CPaaS technology built into the UCaaS framework or easy access to plugins and APIs.
At the very least, you’ll need to ensure that any UCaaS technology you invest in today will work with the tools you already rely on in your business, from desk phones to video conferencing technology. Look for a company that can integrate with a wide range of critical tools and systems. Talking to the vendor you’ll be working with to access UCaaS technology can help answer any specific questions about your toolkit.
Step 3: Don’t skimp on compliance and security
Security and compliance are concepts that many companies have overlooked during the rapid transition to UCaaS and cloud technologies over the past two years. Brands are putting things like user access controls and encryption on the back burner to maintain business continuity. A long-term approach to UCaaS-based innovation requires a closer look at security and compliance.
Start by thinking about how you will manage the data flowing through your communications ecosystem and where the data you collect will be stored. Check with your UCaaS provider to check data sovereignty elements if possible and stay GDPR compliant.
You’ll also need to consider things like access control and how easy it is to quickly add and remove people from your communication ecosystem, especially when working with remote employees and in the office. Today’s leading UCaaS solutions are even beginning to offer a wider range of smart tools specifically aimed at improving compliance, such as AI systems that can minimize the risk of fraud or biometric two-factor authentication.
Step 4: prioritize the user experience
More than ever, companies are realizing how vital the user and employee experience is to business results. If your employees can’t get a great experience from the UCaaS tools they use, they can’t deliver a fantastic experience to your target audience. UCaaS solutions should be flexible and easy to use, no matter what devices your teams rely on.
This focus on UX is becoming increasingly important in the age of hybrid working. Different team members will need to leverage various tools from around the world to stay connected to the business ecosystem. A great way to make sure you’re taking the right steps with user experience is to talk to the people who will be using your UCaaS tools.
Find out what types of features are most important to your employee personas. For example, some staff members will want to continue using the apps they already need for productivity, like Microsoft Excel and Word, which require integration with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Others will want to quickly join video conferencing sessions from of a mobile device on the go.
When prioritizing user experience, remember to strive for simplicity when provisioning and managing UCaaS tools. Your business owners will need to deploy new features, add new professionals to the business directory, and even create new numbers in a convenient cloud-based portal.
Step 5: Look for innovation opportunities
UCaaS is becoming smarter and more advanced as it emerges as the central environment for work and productivity in a hybrid space. Many modern enterprises entering the UCaaS environment must be prepared to innovate to stay ahead of the competition.
If you plan to update your UCaaS strategy in the coming years, start by looking at the opportunities you can take advantage of now. For example, you may be able to experiment with artificial intelligence in the form of virtual assistants and bots offered by your UCaaS provider.
If you want to make your teams more efficient, you can turn to self-service solutions and automation tools that minimize the demand for technical support from remote workers. As the cloud environment evolves, we are even seeing the rise of things like 5G connectivity to facilitate mobility in a changing workplace.
What innovative tools will you need in your UCaaS investment? It’s best to ask this question before you start implementing new features.