Technology is ever-changing. Today's business environment is one in which business isn't confined to just one desk, phone, computer, or office. Professionals can share skills, ideas, and opportunities around the world with virtually any device connected to the cloud, also known as unified communications.
What is Unified Communications?
Unified communications, or UC, is multiple types of comms technology but offered by a single provider or host. Video messaging, web conferencing, voice calling, and instant messaging, packaged as one complete tool, might provide you with deep discounts, compared to what you pay for separate communication tools.
Understanding UCaaS benefits and pricing
When making any change in business processes, the whole idea is to lessen complications and confusion. This is just as true when switching from traditional telephony to cloud communications. In fact, cloud communications should be more flexible and transparent than its traditional counterpart.
For instance, have you ever had trouble understanding the various fees on your landline or mobile telephone bill? Phone companies are notorious for adding additional costs, using vague language and implementing service charges for tools you didn't use.
With Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, it's more likely you'll encounter more transparency and have the opportunity to either pay-as-you-go or to scale up or down each month, depending on what you actually need and use.
With a good UCaaS provider, not only will you understand your monthly phone bill, but you'll only pay for tools and additional features you need and use. You'll still want to structure a budget that can provide the tools you need at a beneficial price.
Structuring your UCaaS budget
Have you gotten used to a fluctuating communications bill? Maybe you never know how much should be budgeted for communications because it's always changing? With UCaaS, there are two fundamental shifts – separate service offerings to all-in-one and, in regards to budget, a capital expenditure (Capex) becomes an operational expenditure (Opex).
Capex versus Opex – why this is a good thing
When you choose any service for your business, one of the first things you consider is whether the service will require capital expenditure or if it will be deemed operational spending. With UCaaS, you remove all hardware ownership from your company (Capex) and replace it with a subscription service (Opex).
As with any service, your system administrators will still need to perform certain functions, but they'll no longer stress over installing, maintaining, or upgrading systems as they've done previously with traditional telephony.
Creating your budget
Begin re-examining your budget by taking stock of all hardware and software you currently use. Your communications budget is essentially your communications inventory and the costs associated with their use. If you don't include every item, your budget will not be accurate.
Also, when you migrate to UCaaS, you can't stop at merely porting your phone numbers to your new service. You'll also need to cancel all old phone service and lines and return any original hardware – otherwise, you risk continuing to pay for services and items you're no longer using.
UCaaS consolidates features and budgets
With your traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system, there might be several features or functions that require separate hardware or software and might even be incorporated in the budget for an entirely different department.
When you switch to UCaaS, all of your current features – and potentially many new ones – come with your service. This also means that all related items and services can be housed under one UCaaS budget.
Certain functions and features you've come to rely on as second nature, such as screen sharing, video conferences, and instant messages, might currently have separate service providers.
When you consolidate everything under the UCaaS umbrella, don't forget to cancel these other services and return any hardware or software you'll no longer need. Most, if not all, of these services, will come with your UCaaS service. To save even more on your budget, correlate the beginning of your UCaaS contract with the end of your traditional telephony contracts.
Further UCaaS considerations
You might've used traditional telephony for so long that it can be difficult to even think about switching. Some of the products you've grown accustomed to might already have what you need. Some UCaaS options might not even have the same features.
What most users have found after making the switch, however, is that, even without all the bells and whistles of their former tools, the features of many UCaaS products serve the same purpose. This means even deeper savings if you migrate all your current collaborative tools to UCaaS.
What if you outsource some of your communication? For instance, if you have a call centre, will you still be able to use UCaaS? Absolutely. In fact, many of today's UCaaS services offer the same functionality tools as a separate, off-site call centre, which means you could save even more on your communications budget.
The bottom line
Opting for UCaaS can provide flexibility, enhanced functionality, and deep savings. Overall, most companies that make the change to UCaaS save thousands of dollars per year. You might find that, once you've structured your UCaaS budget, that you, too, are saving thousands.