Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud delivery model that offers a variety of communications and collaboration applications and services. Offering similar capabilities to Unified Communications, UCaaS requires very little in the way of on premise equipment. Appealing to an OpEx heavy finance model, with far less in the way of CapEx, UCaaS brings the power of Unified Communications into a more accessible arena for small and medium businesses.
UCaaS offers features such as instant messaging and presence, conference bridge and online meetings, team collaboration, and of course telephony. Many UCaaS providers also offer PBX replacement features such as auto attendants, hunt groups, call centers, call routing, virtual numbers, corporate directory, and customized extension numbers.
Uses of UCaaS
Many companies particularly small businesses avoid the large up-front capital expenditures associated with Unified Communications by using Unified Communications as a Service. Small businesses were the early adopters of you cast technologies because they often do not have a large IT staff, the space, or the finances to support on-premise Unified Communications. Especially when it comes to small remote locations, UCaaS is far more affordable.
You cast offers a lot in the way of scalability and flexibility with the capacity to add and remove users quickly. In addition the services available to mobile users typically mimic those in office workers, making workflow and collaboration seamless and consistent.
One other consideration is the inbuilt disaster recovery. Cloud-based systems, by their nature, do not exist at the site so they are not affected by geographic disasters or interruptions of service.
There are two primary architectures to Unified Communications as a Service. Single-tenancy gives each customer their own enterprise. They're data and their services are kept separate from other customers on the same platform. This ensures that changes to call flow, users, and access to services cannot be made from outside of the organization. Single tenancy tends to be a little more expensive.
The other approach multi-tenancy, will have many customers sharing a single software platform. This is a more cost-effective approach with more redundancy and support. Multi-tenant architecture is less flexible and customizable compared to single-tenancy.
Some enterprises adopt a hybrid approach, with a portion of their unified communications on-premises, with other applications hosted in the cloud. This can be a temporary solution until all sites are on UCaaS, or it can be maintained for security or other purposes.