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