The Basics of Unified Communications as a Service: A Crash Course for Business Leaders

As a business leader, you know that communication is key to success. But with so many unified communications solutions out there, it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. One acronym in particular that has been getting a lot of attention lately is UCaaS – or Unified Communications as a Service. If you’re not quite sure what UCaaS is, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll give you a crash course on the basics of UCaaS, so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your organization.

So, what exactly is UCaaS? Simply put, it’s a cloud-based platform that integrates multiple communication services into a single solution. These services may include voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, email, and even social media. The idea is to allow users to access all of their communication tools from one location, using any device. This is particularly useful for remote or mobile workers, who may need to communicate with colleagues and clients from various locations.

One benefit of UCaaS is that it’s typically delivered as a subscription service, which means you pay only for what you need. This makes it a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. In addition, UCaaS providers typically offer robust security measures that ensure your data is protected. Since everything is hosted in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about maintaining on-premise hardware or software, which can be a drain on resources.

When it comes to choosing a UCaaS provider, there are a few things to consider:

End-User Ease of Use

First and foremost, make sure the UCaaS solution you choose is user-friendly and intuitive for your employees. You want to make sure they can easily access all of the features and services, without having to spend too much time learning how to use them.

The ease of use for end-users in a UCaaS solution cannot be overstressed. An intuitive, user-friendly interface significantly affects the adoption rate among employees, which, in turn, impacts the overall return on investment (ROI). A recent survey by Software Advice highlighted that nearly 67% of employees would be more likely to use unified communications tools if they were combined into a single application. This statistic underscores the importance of a seamless and integrated UCaaS platform for maximizing user adoption.

Moreover, according to a study by RingCentral, organizations noted a decrease in training time by 51% when implementing a UCaaS solution with an intuitive interface. This reduction in training time translates to cost savings and quicker deployment, allowing businesses to reap the benefits of UCaaS solutions sooner.

Prioritizing end-user ease of use can significantly advance user adoption, cut training costs, and boost the overall productivity of your workforce. Always request a trial or demo to evaluate the solution’s interface before making a decision.

Call Hand-off / Call Flipping

Call Hand-off, also known as Call Flipping, is a critical feature in UCaaS solutions. It facilitates continuity in communication, especially in today’s mobile and remote working environment. It enables users to switch calls between different devices seamlessly, without interrupting ongoing conversations.

For a business, this feature ensures that its representatives remain reachable and responsive, enhancing both internal collaboration and customer interaction. According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, businesses that enabled mobile applications for their employees observed a 40% increase in productivity.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Salesforce revealed that 71% of salespeople believed that their company’s mobility leads to improved customer service. These salespeople were able to respond to customer inquiries promptly, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The growing importance of call hand-off is further underscored by the rising remote work trends. A recent report from Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days per week by the end of 2021. This widespread shift towards remote work amplifies the need for call hand-off capabilities in a UCaaS solution, aiding seamless communication regardless of the employee’s location.

In essence, the call hand-off feature in a UCaaS solution links multiple devices under one unified system, ensuring that important calls are never missed and communication remains fluid and uninterrupted. It is a crucial element that boosts workforce productivity and customer service effectiveness, making it a must-have feature when selecting a UCaaS solution.

SMS Support

The inclusion of SMS (text) support in a UCaaS solution significantly enhances the versatility and reach of your business communications. SMS empowers businesses to engage with clients and employees through a medium that boasts response rates. A report by Gartner highlights that SMS response rates are 295% higher than phone call response rates.

Furthermore, the incorporation of SMS support in a UCaaS solution aligns with the mobile-centric behaviors of modern consumers. Given the ubiquity of smartphones, this feature ensures that your business can reach customers, partners, and employees anytime, anywhere, through a medium that they frequently use and respond to. According to a report from Statista, there were 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2021, and this figure is projected to increase to 7.5 billion by 2026.

In summary, SMS support in a UCaaS solution is a critical feature that extends the reach and effectiveness of business communication, catering to the mobile-centric lifestyle of today’s global population. It bolsters customer engagement, enables timely notifications, and complements other communication channels, making it an essential element of a comprehensive UCaaS solution.


Auto-attendant, also known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), is another essential feature of a comprehensive UCaaS solution. As a virtual receptionist, it directs incoming calls to the appropriate department or individual, enhancing the efficiency of your communication system. Not only can this feature manage high call volumes, but it also provides 24/7 service, ensuring your customers can interact with your business at any time. A study by Call Centre Helper found that 91% of customers said they would use an IVR system if it was reliable and met their needs.

Furthermore, an effective IVR system can manage multiple language preferences, thus broadening your customer engagement. Through speech recognition and touch-tone technology, IVR can solve routine customer queries, schedule appointments, and perform other customer service functions, thus freeing your staff to focus on more complex tasks.

Finally, a report by Accenture states that automation technologies, such as IVR, can save businesses up to $8 billion annually as they reduce labor costs and increase efficiency. The importance of the Auto-Attendant/IVR system for a UCaaS solution cannot be overstated, due to its potential to optimize communications, increase customer satisfaction, and yield substantial cost saving.

Advanced Call Routing

According to a survey by Software Advice, 48% of customers think that the most frustrating aspect of a customer service call is being transferred multiple times before reaching the right person. Advanced call routing is a critical feature of a robust UCaaS solution that ensures efficient communication within your organization.

Advanced call routing allows incoming calls to be directed to the right person or department promptly, reducing wait times and improving customer experiences. It operates based on pre-set rules, such as the time of the call, the caller’s number, or the selected options in an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

In a modern business environment where timely response can be a game-changer, advanced call routing helps to streamline communication, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately, bolster your business performance. A study by Fonolo, an industry leader in cloud-based call-back solutions, suggests that businesses can lose up to $75 billion annually due to poor customer service, including inefficient call routing.

By seamlessly directing callers to the right person or department, businesses can minimize customer frustration, improve service efficiency, and prevent potential revenue loss.

AI-powered Analytics and Reporting

Adapting AI-powered analytics and reporting into your UCaaS system offers immense value to your business. With AI, the system can process vast amounts of data to generate detailed insights into call patterns, caller behavior, and usage trends. The advanced analytics provide deeper insights into customer experience, caller sentiment, peak call times, call duration, call abandonment rates, and more. This AI-driven approach enables businesses to make informed decisions, optimize resources, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

For instance, a Gartner report reveals that companies leveraging AI in their analytics witnessed a 45% increase in operational efficiency. It further states that AI-driven insights could reduce call handling time by 30%, significantly improving customer satisfaction. AI-enhanced reporting also offers predictive analytics, which can forecast future call volumes or potential issues, allowing businesses to proactively address them. Hence, integrating AI-powered analytics and reporting in your UCaaS solution can unlock new avenues for business growth and customer satisfaction.


Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that the UCaaS solution integrates seamlessly with any other existing tools and applications your organization is using. This will ensure that you don’t have to invest time and money into integrating disparate systems and will ensure a smooth transition.

The ability of a UCaaS solution to integrate smoothly with pre-existing tools and applications cannot be overstressed. This aspect of UCaaS directly affects workflow efficiency, streamlining of processes, and overall productivity. According to a study by RingCentral, 69% of workers waste up to 60 minutes a day navigating between apps, which accounts for 32 days of lost productivity per year.

Hence, the UCaaS solution you select should offer integrations with commonly used applications like CRM systems (Salesforce, Zoho, etc.), productivity tools (Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, etc.), and task management platforms (Asana, Trello, etc.). By integrating UCaaS with these platforms, businesses can improve cross-functional collaboration, enhance customer service, and optimize business operations.

Always inquire about potential integrations and confirm their compatibility with your existing systems to minimize disruptions and productivity loss while delivering a unified and efficient communication experience.

Webchat Integration

Webchat integration is a pivotal feature of a comprehensive UCaaS solution. It provides an immediate, convenient, and user-friendly platform for customers to connect with businesses. Real-time web chat support is an effective way to enhance customer service, boost sales, and improve customer satisfaction. It’s a vital communication channel that aligns with the expectations of today’s digital-savvy consumers, who demand efficient, swift, and seamless interactions with businesses.

Several studies underscore the importance and effectiveness of web chat in improving customer service. A report by Forrester Research found that 44% of online consumers state that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Moreover, a study by eMarketer revealed that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.

Furthermore, according to a report by ICMI, website visitors who engage with your company via live chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors who don’t. This data highlights the potential of web chat in not only improving customer service but also driving sales and revenue growth.

In conclusion, webchat integration in a UCaaS solution bridges the gap between businesses and customers, providing a platform for real-time, efficient, and convenient communication. The data-driven benefits of web chat – improved customer satisfaction, increased sales, and higher customer retention rates – make it an essential feature in a UCaaS solution.

Reliability and Quality of Service

Another critical factor to consider is the reliability and quality of service provided by the UCaaS vendor. Downtime in communication services could cause significant disruptions in your business operations. As such, you want a provider that guarantees a high uptime percentage—ideally, 99.9% or better. A 2019 study by Nexmo established that 92% of businesses believe the quality of voice calling is a dominant factor in customer satisfaction.

Reliability is a pivotal factor when selecting a UCaaS solution. In a world where businesses are increasingly reliant on digital communications, any downtime can have significant implications. A study from Gartner estimates the average cost of IT downtime at around $5,600 per minute. Considering these high stakes, it’s crucial to choose a UCaaS provider that guarantees a high uptime percentage, preferably 99.999%.

Apart from uptime, the reliability of a UCaaS solution also pertains to the quality of the call and video. A research study conducted by found that poor call quality could cost a company up to 29% of its customers. Therefore, it’s essential to select a UCaaS solution that ensures crisp, clear call and video quality, with minimal latency or distortion.

Lastly, consider the provider’s disaster recovery capabilities. In unexpected events like a power outage or natural calamity, a robust disaster recovery plan can ensure business continuity. According to a report from Uptime Institute, 60% of companies that experience a data loss will shut down within six months. Hence, an effective UCaaS solution should feature strong disaster recovery capabilities to safeguard your communication data.


Scalability refers to the capacity of a UCaaS solution to grow or shrink based on your business needs. As your organization expands, you may need to add more users, features, or communication channels. A scalable UCaaS solution can accommodate this growth without substantial changes to the core system, thereby saving cost and reducing potential disruptions. According to a 2021 report by Metrigy, businesses that leverage scalable UCaaS solutions improve their ROI by 61%.

Scalability is an essential trait in a UCaaS solution, enabling businesses to adjust their communication infrastructure according to their needs. Whether it’s expanding with a growing workforce or incorporating new features, scalable UCaaS solutions offer businesses the flexibility they need to adapt and flourish.

Hybrid work can also be enabled by good scalability. A 2020 report by Synergy Research Group, found that UCaaS adoption increased by 26% that year. The primary driver behind this surge was the swift transition to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – growth enabled by scalable UCaaS solutions.

In summary, the scalability of a UCaaS solution boosts business agility, provides cost efficiencies, and supports seamless growth trajectories. It allows the organization to remain responsive to changing business conditions, ensuring communication infrastructure is never a restrictive factor in business expansion and evolution.


Exceptional customer support is a critical aspect of any UCaaS solution. Businesses must ensure they select a provider that offers consistent, reliable, and timely support to ensure that their communication systems run smoothly. Whether it’s technical issues, service inquiries, or system upgrades, robust customer support is essential to maintaining high-quality, uninterrupted communication.

Good vendor support includes 24/7 customer service, dedicated account management, and regular updates and maintenance. A survey by BetterCloud in 2020 revealed that 72% of businesses value vendor support as a critical factor when choosing cloud services.

Comprehensive, responsive, and efficient customer support is essential for the successful implementation and ongoing operation of a UCaaS system, significantly impacting customer satisfaction and long-term business success.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, UCaaS is an innovative solution that can help businesses of all sizes improve collaboration, reduce costs, and simplify operations. It’s important to keep in mind that UCaaS is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A leading provider can be a great fit for many organizations, it may not be the best choice for everyone. It’s important to evaluate your specific needs and goals, and to work with a provider who can help you identify the right solution for your organization.

By understanding the fundamentals of UCaaS and working with a knowledgeable provider, you can ensure that your organization is equipped with the communication tools it needs to succeed in today’s fast-paced business world. If you’d like to learn more about UCaaS and how it can benefit your organization, contact us today. Our team of experts is here to answer any questions you may have and help you find the perfect UCaaS platform for your business.

3 Reasons Why Microsoft Teams Matters

The shift to hybrid work has made Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) one of the fastest-growing technology sectors. In Q1 2021 the UCaaS user base grew by 46% from the first quarter of 2020 according to a recent Synergy Research Group report. 

UCaaS brings together voice and video calls, meetings, and messaging functionalities that a hybrid workforce requires on a platform that can be accessed from the cloud. It effectively delivers the collaboration and communication tools of their office to wherever they work. 

In looking at the UCaaS space, there is one product that is really shaking up the market right now. That is Microsoft Teams. We think there are three reasons for this: 

1. Teams is Now the Second Largest UCaaS App 

2. Identity for Teams is Deeply Integrated with Microsoft 365 

3. Built Like a Modern IT App, not an Aging Telecom System 

1. Teams is Now the Second Largest UCaaS App 

Microsoft Teams is the fastest-growing business application in Microsoft’s history. The usage of Teams has grown tremendously during the pandemic. As reported by the Business of Apps website, the daily active users for Teams expanded 894% during the first few months of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Teams has rapidly established itself as the internal collaboration platform of preference for many businesses, becoming the new way to work for more than 145 million daily users. Many large organizations around the world are using Microsoft Teams: 124 organizations have more than 100,000 users of Teams, and nearly 3,000 organizations have over 10,000. 

In 2019 Microsoft’s Skype for Business had a negligible share of the UCaaS market. By integrating what is now called Teams Phone into Teams, it turns Teams into a powerful UCaaS platform for both internal and external communication. This has vaulted Microsoft’s UCaaS market position from outside the top five to number two in just 12 months, easily overtaking many established UCaaS providers. Included as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription, there’s no incremental cost for Teams Phone.  

For all these reasons, the growth of Teams Phone currently has no hindrances. 

2. Identity for Teams is Deeply Engrained with 365 

All of the Teams capabilities use the common user identity that is a part of Microsoft 365. This seemingly benign capability enables truly powerful unified communications experiences. 

This unified identify simplifies group work with multiple easy-to-use channels of communication from group chats to video seminars. Multiple teams groups can be set up in a click or two, organizing conversations – whether chat, voice, or video – to make them easier to follow, and notifications can be set to pop up on-screen. File sharing is also deeply integrated and the same identity that controls file access rights is also part of the Teams experience. 

Remote meetings that are as effective as being in-person 

  • PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams: Entirely new PowerPoint presenting experience exclusive to Microsoft Teams that benefits both presenters and attendees. As a presenter, you can lead meetings while having access to your speaker notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants. As attendees, you can view slides at your own pace and use Slide Translate to see the slides in your own language.
3. Built Like a Modern IT App, not an Aging Telecom System

Microsoft Teams is encroaching on the traditional territory of VoIP solution providers like Cisco, Avaya, and others. Microsoft partners are positioning Teams Phone as a way to replace an existing PBX system, or cut costs from more expensive VoIP providers. 

Built more like an IT Application than a telecom system, Teams make sit easy for your IT department and employees to work faster, smarter, and better together. Teams is designed with a simple and intuitive user interface, making it easy to learn for your employees. Administration of Teams is handled in an IT-friendly way that is familiar to IT professionals, who can often find traditional telephony services to be arcane and antiquated. 

This modern, IT-centric approach leads to some direct feature advantages for Teams Phone users. Calling, for instance, is integrated directly into the flow of devices and applications of modern workers. Enabling features such as: 

  • Easily transfer calls: Teams Phone now offers the ability for you to transfer a call from your computer to a mobile device or vice versa, without interrupting the call. 
  • Apple CarPlay: Apple CarPlay support for Teams enables users to join calls and meetings using your vehicle’s built-in controls or hands-free using Siri. 
  • “Better together” device experience: The “better together” experience means that Teams devices now complement each other, allowing users to answer a call, mute or unmute, and end the call on either the device or the Teams client. 
  • Spam call identification: Teams Phone uses advanced industry techniques to identify likely spam calls, allowing users to avoid unnecessary interruptions to your day by spam calls. 
  • Walkie-talkie for desk phones: Connect quickly with colleagues with a push-to-talk function available on desk phones. 

This IT centricity does not come at the expense of traditional telephony features and integrations including: 

  • Operator Connect: Operator Connect, enables customers to simply connect your operator-based public switched telephone network (PSTN) service into Teams with a managed experience, now extending the ability to enable PSTN calling in Teams to three great options. 
  • Teams Phone Calling Plans: Teams Phone Calling Plans offer a simple way to deploy calling in Teams without on-premises equipment, available in 33 markets. 
  • Bring Your Own Contact Center: Teams Phone integrates with your existing contact center solution, and Microsoft’s connected contact center program provides a new level of validation from rigorous third-party testing to ensure seamless and reliable integration. There are now 8 certified contact center solutions with an additional 14 in the certification process. 

For IT departments, Teams Phone eliminates complexity and cost of managing a legacy set of telephony systems and services from their operations. Replacing legacy on-premises phone systems with a UCaaS solution such as Teams Phone has a clear, strategic business advantage, but the transition to cloud-based telephony can be challenging. This is largely because the start point for many organizations is a disparate array of legacy on-premises hardware and a patchwork of carrier relationships across all their sites and countries. 

Need a Partner? 

Transitioning your company’s communication to Microsoft Teams Phone is relatively straightforward but enlisting a partner that has done it before can assure that you have a smooth and successful transition. Talk to us today to learn how your company can also take advantage of this modernization in communications.