When we talk about collaboration, we are talking about more than just your team working together effectively. At Be Structured Technology Group Inc., collaboration means unified communication tools. We streamline communication into a single, unified platform. We unify your communications as a service so that your business can operate more efficiently. By improving communication between your team and between your company and its clients, you reduce the number of errors made through misunderstanding. This also reduces the amount of time it can take to get in contact with the right people and even reduce the cost of doing business.
What is Unified-Communications-As-A-Service (UCaaS)?
UCaaS offers a variety of unified communication and collaboration applications that provide services through a cloud platform. UCaaS brings together all of a business’s communication tools, including VoIP, video conferencing, collaboration tools, file sharing, and instant messaging, into a single platform. By doing so, it creates a single space for all of your team’s communications. This makes it easier to find specific information, keep your unified communication tools up-to-date, protect your data, work remotely, and keep all your employees on the same page.
Because it relies on cloud technology, UCaaS didn’t exist prior to 2014. Before the cloud, companies often relied on internal communications infrastructures such as PBX switches to provide employees with their own phone number extensions. With VoIP and virtual data centers, this has changed, and many companies are now looking to partner with service providers rather than create their own systems. That’s where UCaaS comes into play. It’s a more flexible solution that is also economical. You can change the services you need at any time without buying equipment or other expensive resources. This scalability is one of the most powerful aspects of any cloud-based application, including UCaaS.
Aside from simplifying communications, UCaaS provides many other great benefits to your business:
Unified Communication Increases Team Productivity
With everything in one central location, your team won’t have to spend time searching through emails, instant messages, file-sharing platforms, and other locations. All contacts, communications, and shared information are in one location, and users will only need to conduct one search to find what they need.
Unified Communication From Anywhere
Because its cloud-based UCaaS offers instant access from anywhere, your team can get an internet connection or cell phone signal. Team members can log in and access the team’s collaborative space from home, while on a business trip, or from a client’s location. VoIP phone numbers travel with the employee, allowing clients to reach them even when they’re not at their desk.
UCaaS Lowers the Total Cost of Ownership
Instead of purchasing and operating multiple communications platforms, everything is consolidated. This means one licensing fee, one area to protect, and one place where something could potentially go wrong. That lowers your overall cost of ownership since you don’t have to make certain multiple systems are secured or worry about conflicts between systems. You don’t have to spend time or money on training employees to use multiple systems, either. There’s little, if any, additional equipment needed.
Unified Communication Enhances Security
With multiple platforms, you have to secure each one. Every one of these platforms can leave you open to attack. Your instant messages could be intercepted if they’re not fully encrypted. Your emails could be hacked or sent phishing attacks. Everything has to have its own security, and every one of those security systems has to be set up correctly for your overall network. These systems also need to work together, which isn’t always the case. Conflicts between your security can create vulnerabilities. Securing one cloud location for your unified communications allows you to focus on that area, building enhanced security measures into it. When it comes time to update or patch applications, the updates are pushed to the cloud server, not individual computers or other devices. This virtually eliminates the risk of someone using a device with older apps that are vulnerable. UCaaS platforms are often also compliant with PCI, HIPAA, and other security regulations.
UCaaS Allows for Transformative Collaboration
“Collaboration” to some employees means meeting up in the conference room or gathering around someone’s desk to bounce ideas off each other. UCaaS transforms collaboration into something much more. Now team members can share files, edit documents together, and chat from any location, allowing collaboration anywhere.
Unified Communication Platforms Provide Superior Reliability
Cloud platforms have several built-in redundancies to ensure that the services you need are available when you need them. This includes redundancies to keep your VoIP lines up and data backups that can be used to restore your written communications whenever needed. Most service providers have backup servers that can quickly and seamlessly come online when your primary server encounters a problem or must be taken offline for maintenance.
We Partner With Unified Communication Leaders in the UCaaS Field
We work with several partners in the Unified Communications field to ensure that all of our clients have the services they need at their fingertips. These partners include Microsoft Office 365, Jive, Lifesize, and BlueJeans.
Cloud communication tools can easily be integrated with Office 365 for simplified scheduling and a better meeting experience. For example, BlueJeans is partnered with Microsoft, allowing you to keep track of all of your scheduled video conferencing through your Outlook calendar. Through one-click Office 365 scheduling, employees can give one-click meeting access to users across all Outlook clients. Everything is kept on the same calendar without the need to enter information manually. This reduces the chance that someone will forget about their meeting or that their invite will get overlooked. Sharing files, contacts, and other information is also incredibly easy since all of your employees are using the same software. Office 365 collaboration allows for better user experience, simplified scheduling, and enhanced business performance.
We partner with Jive by LogMeIn as our cloud communication tools vendor. Jive is a VoIP provider helping organizations simplify how they manage their phone, conferencing setup, as well as video conferencing. Jive provides VoIP phone number management and customization, allowing you to build and oversee your call flow quickly and easily. Their simple management tools allow you to customize your Hosted PBX without reading through pages of tutorials. Jive offers mobile, web, and desktop access.
We partner with Lifesize and BlueJeans to offer video conferencing and meeting room solutions for a modern workplace. Lifesize offers 4k video resolution that seamlessly integrates into your existing system. It’s backed by a global network of data centers and employs independent third parties to evaluate its security and privacy regularly. BlueJeans focuses on modernizing the meeting, creating a simple HD video feed that can be set up and shared in seconds. Voice recognition and AI technology help make these meetings more productive and efficient.
In more traditional communication methods, scaling up involved purchasing additional phones and other hardware. This hardware was often costly, and when it was no longer needed, companies had to store it somewhere or sell it for a fraction of their investment. During busy seasons or new expansions, it was easy to over-estimate need and over-buy hardware. This often resulted in both unnecessary spendings and in an “equipment graveyard” of unused hardware that does nothing but collect dust. With a cloud-based system, it’s much easier to scale up or down. Simply add additional VoIP phone numbers as needed and release them when they’re not. There’s no extra hardware necessary. You don’t even need to purchase company cell phones since VoIP numbers can be routed to existing cell phones or landlines. VoIP can also be answered through a computer or tablet.
Unified Communication Allows You to Work From Anywhere, With Anyone.
UCaaS opens up a world of opportunities for businesses across the globe. It doesn’t matter where someone is, whether they’re traveling or at their office, or even what time zone they’re in. Employees can log in at any time to view files, share information, message others, or make use of any of the other tools. With the smartphone app, there’s never any need to carry a laptop or be at a desk. Even employees who are traveling for work or for personal business can check-in with full access to everything they would see as if they were in the office. VoIP phone numbers can be forwarded to cell phones, other office landlines, or can be answered on laptops, computers, or tablets. With UCaaS, no one is ever out of reach.
For large companies with multiple offices, this central communications hub brings together employees who may have never seen or spoken to each other. It takes company collaboration to a new level, allowing those who work across the globe to share ideas and information just as easily as those in the same office. You can harness the resources of your entire company for every project, putting your best team members on it regardless of their physical location.
It also makes it easy to bring contractors, freelancers, and temporary employees onto your team. You don’t need to create multiple accounts for each person since everything is through one system. These accounts can be assigned roles that limit what applications they can use and what data they have access to, allowing you to keep your confidential information restricted. This flexibility makes it both simple and safe to bring in extra help when its needed without leaving your system open to people you may not fully trust just yet. Once these temporary employees are no longer needed, scaling down is just as easy, and there’s no unneeded hardware to store.
Collaboration With the Cloud
Our goal with collaboration and UCaaS services is to provide a simple user experience while driving cost savings, more efficient operations, and improved customer engagement. True collaboration happens when employees can exchange ideas easily and effectively. An easy-to-use, widely adopted communications solution provides the right environment for unified communication, collaboration, and business success. Everyone has access to the same tools in the same environment, regardless of where they are.
This type of collaboration is a driving factor in today’s new workplace. While salary is an important part of why someone takes a job, younger professionals emphasize the perks that come with a job. In fact, a number of surveys have shown that employees are likely to take a job with better perks over one with a slightly higher salary. One survey conducted by Glassdoor.com reports that 80% of employees would take additional perks over a pay increase. A study conducted by SCORE highlights the benefits employees want, including flexible hours, work-from-home opportunities, and additional vacation time.
With UCaaS collaboration, these benefits are easier than ever to achieve. Working from home or working non-traditional hours is possible in many industries, thanks to the improved communications and collaboration tools offered by UCaaS systems. Employees don’t have to be tied to their desk—they can take their laptops and other devices to a common area, a conference room, or even a coffee shop and continue to work with the same level of efficiency and productivity. Working from home or a client’s location is no different. Offering these perks may be the deciding factor that makes potential employees sign on with you instead of competitors.
Don’t waste your time with ineffective, outdated forms of communication that hurt productivity. When you partner with Be Structured for our all-encompassing managed IT services, collaboration is something that we offer as a service. We want your business to perform as efficiently as possible in every area. By improving your communication tools, unifying them into one platform, and simplifying the user experience, your organization will be more productive than ever. To learn more about collaboration and UCaaS services, contact Be Structured today.