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UCaaS Review wants to help buyers reduce the amount of time they spend shopping for a new business service provider. We offer reviews, blog posts and comparison charts to help guide teams through the decision making process. We are a non-profit website dedicated to eliminating the pay-for-play websites that are notorious for fake reviews, pushing buyers to poor service providers and making money on an uneducated marketplace. If you were able to educate yourself by visiting UCaaSReview.com, then we have fulfilled our mission.

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Helping Hands – Dan S. – Arizona

We filled out a questionnaire about our business and within an hour we received an email with contact information for three providers and why they were put at the top of the list. I have purchased a phone system in the past. Before when I completed a form I was harassed by unlimited phone calls and emails. I refused to go through the same process this time. It was painless

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We decided to use UCaaS Review to find the right telephone system for us. Within 30 minutes of filling out the submission form I was given a list of providers. Our top choice offered local onsite installation. No one called me, I was able to call our top choice myself when it was convenient for me. Within 72 hours we were on our first and only demonstration.

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Cloud Based Solutions

Based on the need to have a mobile workforce & disaster recovery, UCaaS Review focuses on providing a list of cloud based service providers in the following categories:

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What is UCaaS?

Introduction

The world of business evolves at a rapid rate with the continuous integration of IT in its operations. One such innovation is United Communications as a Service or better known as UCaaS. This is an all-encompassing term which refers to a communications model that makes use of different software, normally over an IP network, for messaging, video conferencing and voice calling purposes.

The early adopters of UCaaS are already reaping its benefits. To explore what UCaaS entails, we will briefly look at the terms used for UCaaS and what are the components of a true UCaaS solution. We will round off the discussion with the advantages that UCaaS presents to businesses of all sizes.

Terms used for UCaaS

UCaaS is often referred to as a cloud based phone system. This, however, is just one of the terms used for UCaaS. Cloud based phone systems are often referred to as a type of Private Branch Exchange (PBX). PBX is often preceded by an additional term that further explains UCaaS. Some popular combination of terms include:

  • Virtual PBX – It refers to a telephony system which includes remote or virtual access of communication software over the internet.
  • Cloud PBX – The term "cloud" refers to the internet and the concept of communication using software remains the same.
  • Hosted PBX – This explains how the PBX software is hosted by a service provider from an off-premise location.
Components of UCaaS

A cloud based phone system has the following components that ensures that it is a true UCaaS:

  • Presence – Ability to see your teams current status and if they are available or not.
  • Voice – Voice over IP (VoIP) is integral for making voice calls both internal and external.
  • Conferencing – This includes both voice and video. It provides a platform where multiple users in and outside the network can connect with one another.
  • Messaging – Being able to send out messages to different users is also one of the basic requirements of an UCaaS.
  • Applications – While the major forms of communications are covered through the aforementioned components, some businesses have customized needs such as fax or other modes of communications. This may be handled through modification of the software in order to provide a tailor-made solution.
Advantages of UCaaS

After looking at the details of the system itself, it is important to understand the reasoning for shifting the business phone system to cloud PBX. There are still many business owners who are still hesitant to make the transition. By highlighting the benefits of cloud based phone system, a case can be made to showcase the importance of UCaaS for the well-being and growth of the business. Some of the advantages are listed below:

Work from home

As we have seen in the recent Corona virus outbreak, the option to work from home is imperative in such difficult times. Cloud based phone systems help businesses in facilitating their employees by allowing them to remain connected with one another from remote locations.

Reduction of Costs

One of the key benefits of shifting towards virtual PBX is the minimization of costs. Lowering operating costs is a major concern for every business. With a cloud based phone system, the installation and maintenance costs are significantly lower when compared to traditional phone lines. Moreover, there is reduction of monthly expenses as well as cloud PBX offers payment options on the basis of your usage.

Versatility and reliability

Businesses often have specialized communication needs. This is where a cloud based phone system can really be helpful as it can offer a wide variety of options such as automatic attendants, system generated emails etc. Furthermore, features like bandwidth management ensure that the call quality is always high and there are no interruptions due to disconnections or other failures.

Flexibility

As the business goes through different ups and downs, it often needs to adjust the allocation of its resources. Cloud PBX offers the flexibility to add or remove features on the basis of the current situation without the need to make changes to the physical infrastructure.

Highly scalable

As a consequence of its flexibility, virtual PBX makes it easier to scale the business phone system according to business needs. Normally, in case of expansions or rollbacks of a traditional phone system, a great deal of physical work for installing or removing the hardware is needed. With cloud PBX, the same result can be achieved by re-routing cables as most of the infrastructure is on the cloud.

Backups

Downtime of the phone system translates to loss of business for many companies. Cloud based phone systems ensures that it rarely happens by having the necessary contingencies in place. As a result, your business is able to utilize phone services without any interruptions.

Uniform expansion

As your business grows to different locations, it is important to have standardized implementation of your communication systems. By using a unified communications model, you can easily deploy the cloud PBX across different locations while offering the same call quality and other related features.

Reduced burden on IT department

A business IT department is already engaged in many important activities. Adding maintenance of communication systems may place undue burden on them. With a virtual PBX, the infrastructure is on the cloud and it is handled by the service provider. This frees up the IT department for more important tasks.

Greater security

Security of data is always a concern for businesses. With a cloud based phone system, you get secure lines of communications even with customers who exist outside the company infrastructure. As a result, this mitigates the risk of data leaks which may have caused losses for all stakeholders.

Better ROI

Return on Investment or ROI is always an important point of consideration for businesses when making decisions. Adoption of cloud based phone system can generate greater revenues with relatively lower initial investment. This makes it an interesting proposition for business owners to say the least.

UCaaS vs VoIP

Introduction

The communications network of a business is an integral part of their operations. Conducting transactions, handling queries, placing orders are just a few examples of day to day activities performed using a communication system. That is why it is imperative that we make the right choice when selecting this key component of the business structure. Considerations such as functionality and cost need to be made before taking the final decision.

Two popular options when it comes communications include Unified Communications as a Service or UCaaS and Voice over IP or VoIP. Today, we would try to understand what defines each of the two options. We would also look at their role in a business environment and what considerations need to be made when making a choice between the two.

What is UCaaS?

In simple terms, UCaaS can be broken down in two terms to explain what it entails. The first term is “Unified Communications”. This refers to the idea that you can have multiple forms of communications such as voice, video, text messages, email etc. through a single streamlined interface. The second part is “as a Service”. This refers to the fact that the aforementioned communication services are provided by a cloud service provider. They are responsible for hosting the service and maintaining the cloud infrastructure. To sum it up, UCaaS can be described as a suite of cloud communication services.

In a business environment, having UCaaS in place brings a host of benefits. It can lower the costs of operations. It also improves the customer experience as they can communicate with the company through the communication mode of their own choice. Scalability and uniform implementation facilitates the growth of the business to multiple locations. Moreover, on day to day basis, it increases productivity by unifying the different channels in a single interface.

What is VoIP?

VoIP serves as the alternate to the traditional landline. It replaces the conventional cable based system by providing telephony over IP. It has become a highly popular option in recent years. A testament to its popularity is the fact that it was declared as the fastest growing technology of 2000s which is big achievement considering that groundbreaking concepts like search engines and online shopping originate from the same decade.

VoIP implementation in a business involves installation of a special adaptor that can connect handsets and softphones to the internet. This adapter replaces the telephone cables. The system itself can be managed on-site or off-site depending on the service agreement with the VoIP vendor. Like UCaaS, VoIP has its advantages as well . It reduces costs that may have been incurred on long-distance or international calls. Management of the system is not a hassle like the intertwined web of telephone cables. Furthermore, compared to the traditional landline, it offers more add-on features such as voice recognition, automatic call routing etc. which may help in improving the efficiency of the business.

UCaaS vs VoIP

After addressing both systems individually, let’s us try to bridge them. It can be said that VoIP is one of the services offered within the scope of UCaaS. In other words, VoIP can serve as the voice component of UCaaS. This means comparing the two as services directly might not make sense. However, it does make sense to try and understand whether our business operation needs just VoIP or would it be better off with a more complete package in UCaaS. To assist you in that regard, we will look at some of the key considerations when making this choice.

Considerations for a Business to choose between UCaaS and VoIP Need for video communications

One of the main considerations that you need to make is whether your operations require video communications. For some businesses, their clients are spread across different countries. This means that clients cannot physically meetup with the employees on a regular basis. In such cases, video conferencing becomes necessary and UCaaS becomes the better option. On the other hand, if operations is limited to a small region where frequent physical meetings are possible then opting for VoIP might make more sense.

One channel or multi-channel

Similar to the previous consideration, apart from video and audio, the value of other forms of communications need to be assessed as well. For instance, some employees with certain disabilities may prefer text-based communications over voice. Such individuals can be facilitated through the versatility of UCaaS. On the other hand, if the business model is such that it does not have diversity in workforce and the operations are uniform then VoIP may work perfectly fine as well.

Level of integration

A business which offers various related services requires a high level of integration where all the information and data can be accessed from a single hub. UCaaS, with its ability to integrate with CRMs like Salesforce, can fulfill this need as all the communications can be bundled and streamlined together. For instance, records of all forms of communication like voice calls, chats, emails etc. with a particular customer can accessed from one place. This improves the customer experience as the employees dealing with them are able to view the prior correspondence and there is no need for repetition on their part.

Degree of flexibility

Both UCaaS and VoIP offer a great deal of flexibility. A comparative analysis is needed to determine what degree of flexibility is required by the business. If the business needs greater features within the voice telephony domain only, then VoIP is a viable option. However, if you require a communication system that allows you add and remove features according to your requirement across a multitude of communication streams then UCaaS is definitely the better option.

Security and troubleshooting challenges

Security and troubleshooting are two constant sources of challenges for any communication network. With UCaaS, there are many different forms of communications which are centralized in a single hub. So compared to traditional multichannel systems, this makes troubleshooting and maintaining security an easier job. If the business only requires voice communications then this challenge can be simplified further by adopting VoIP

Cloud PBX vs On-site PBX

Introduction

Developing and operating a business is filled with many major decisions. One such decision is the choice of the communication network. There are multiple perspectives for approaching this decision. You decide between type of communication network in terms of cost, functionality, flexibility,technology etc. Among these dimensions is the differentiating factor of choosing an on-site PBX or a cloud PBX. Both essentially fulfill your communication needs but with different approaches. Today, we would try to understand the key difference between the two and focus on why cloud PBX is generally the better option when compared to on-site PBX. Furthermore,we would also look at how cloud PBX facilitates in disaster recovery and working remotely.

Basic difference between on-site and cloud PBX

Before proceeding ahead, it is important to note what each of these communication networks entail.

Cloud PBX or hosted PBX refers to the communication system where you have operational control of all the telephony and other communication streams but the service itself is hosted by a third-party vendor from a remote location. This means that service provider is responsible for providing the necessary infrastructure and for the maintenance of the network itself. That is why it is generally the preferred option for small and medium scale businesses.

On the other hand, on-site PBX, as the name suggests, refers to the network where you not only retain control of the communications services but are also responsible for hosting the services. This implies that all the hardware installation and deployment becomes your responsibility. This is normally preferred by large scale companies who can afford the expense of the hardware and maintenance requirements. Normally, the primary motivation for opting for this option is to maintain a high level of security and confidentiality. Some businesses work with sensitive data that may become a matter of national security. To minimize and mitigate the risks involved in dealing with such data, they opt for an on-site PBX.

Advantages of cloud PBX over on-site PBX
Payment options

Acquiring an on-site PBX system normally requires an upfront payment in order to acquire full ownership of the complete system. While Cloud PBX is a subscription-based monthly service which means a lesser investment is required to acquire the necessary services. This makes it highly attractive for startups and new entrants which are normally cash strapped.

Infrastructure

Similar to previous advantage, cloud PBX also saves the investment for acquiring the space and equipment needed to operate the communication network. This is a necessity for an on-site PBX but with cloud PBX, most of the infrastructure is located in remote locations. Its maintenance and upkeep is the sole responsibility of the cloud service provider.

IT staff skill levels

In case of on-site PBX, the IT staff need to be trained for troubleshooting and maintaining the communication infrastructure. This is not the case with cloudPBX as the service provider takes care of the maintenance duties. As a result,the IT staff can focus on other business related tasks.

Scalability

Cloud PBX is highly flexible when it comes to degree of activity it needs to handle. Upscaling or even downscaling services can be normally done by a simple change in the subscription package. On the other hand, on-site PBX is normally designed for handling specific number of customers so increasing operations requires reinvestment while rolling back services could mean financial loss.

Uniformity

If the business is located across multiple locations, implementing a standardized on-site PBX can be a logistical and financial challenge. With cloud PBX, you can expand operations and offer standardized communication services at different locations without much of a hassle.

Cloud PBX and work from home

After discussing some of the general advantages of cloud PBX, we would now look at some of the more specific ones. We will start with how cloud PBX can facilitate with the idea of working from home. This concept has become even more relevant given the recent Covid-19 pandemic. People are instructed to follow social distancing and stay at home as much as possible to limit the spread of the disease. This has affected the business of many companies and they are forced to consider options like limiting operations and down sizing the staff.

However, companies with cloud PBX have been able to retain some degree of normalcy by maintaining their operations and having their employees work from home. Even in normal circumstances, such companies enjoy quite a few benefits when it comes to their workforce. It has been noted that employees that work from home miss lesser work days, deliver more efficiency and work for longer hours. All this is made possible through the flexibility of cloud PBX.With features like call forwarding which allows clients to reach employees of the company at their work phone number, the employee-client relationship remains unaffected despite the fact that the employee is working from the comfort of their home. Overall, it creates a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

Cloud PBX and disaster recovery

The business landscape is fraught with uncertainty and continuously shifting dynamics. The next big crisis or system failure can be just around the corner.This is where another specific advantage of cloud PBX comes to the fore –disaster recovery. With various fail-safes installed in place, cloud PBX ensures that your communications remain uninterrupted. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Call fail over – It is possible to create pre-defined forwarding lines so that if any of the phone line goes down, the call automatically gets re-routed to the alternative and the service remains seamless.
  • Infrastructure redundancy – Normally the hosting service provider for acloud PBX have several physical backups for the infrastructure. For instance, if the server goes down in one the locations due to an accident, they are still able to provide the necessary services.
  • Overflow control – If there is an unexpected high volume of calls or communication attempts from customers, cloud PBX can easily upscale the system to facilitate the high traffic.
  • Distributed management workload – The maintenance of the communication infrastructure is the service provider’s responsibility. If there is a business related crisis, management can fully focus on it without worrying about the communication network.

How is UCaaS Review Funded?

UCaaS Review is funded solely by donations from happy visitors. We were tired of hearing nightmares about fake reviews, bait and switch tactics and getting put on calling lists that bombard you with unrelenting phone calls. We are the antithesis of the pay for play review sites that exist across the VoIP and UCaaS market.

At UCaaSReview we believe that today’s buyer wants to be educated. Today’s buyer wants to be able to shop on their own, visit a list of websites and research who they think will be the best provider for the unique needs.

We have set out to disrupt the current marketing and lead generation tactics that force buyers to look only at the top 3 companies willing to pay the most for a specific lead. Lead generation for business service providers is a very lucrative industry. Oftentimes some service providers will pay up to $800 per lead, and that lead will be sold to three or five different providers.

By refusing to be a pay to play lead generation site, UCaaSReview can be focused on educating its visitors about industry specific service providers. We rely on satisfied visitors to share our site with their network of professionals. We also rely on these satisfied visitors to donate to help fund the site. We use all of these donations to promote our site to other businesses that need our unbiased opinions and education tools.

We stand by our promise that we will never provide your details to any vendors. If you complete a questionnaire, you will be given our top three choices based on your answers. Included with those top three choices is contact information so that you can research these companies on your own without them harassing you.

UCaaS Review wants to help buyers reduce the amount of time they spend shopping for a new business system/software. We offer reviews, blog posts and comparison charts to help guide teams through the decision making process. We are not seeking a profit. We are dedicated to eliminating the pay-for-play websites that are notorious for fake reviews, pushing buyers to poor service providers and making money on an uneducated marketplace. If you were able to educate yourself by visiting UCaaS Review, then we have fulfilled our mission.

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