Once you buy a smartphone, you no longer need to own a camera, calculator or map. When 1 tool does the job of 3 (or more), the market changes, which is how the voice market developed unified communications.
Instead of purchasing separate business phone systems, video chat software and voicemail applications, companies of all sizes are seeking a solution that combines all 3. They found their answer in unified communications, which is becoming the new norm. By 2025, the global unified communications market is expected to reach $167.1 billion.
What Is Unified Communications?
Unified communications provides a platform where all communication tools are housed in one user profile. The business has the option of including a phone, a PC client (computer-phone integration), a mobility client, voicemail, fax, chat and video.
With unified communications, you can move seamlessly between devices and applications utilizing the same phone number or extension. Affiliated Communications offers a unified communications platform hosted on-premise.
Challenges of Unified Communications Systems
The main concern business leaders have with choosing an on-premise unified communications system is that the upfront costs are very high. While you own the system, you also pay:
- the monthly cost for the local and long-distance lines
- system maintenance costs
- upgrade fees
- maintenance contracts
- software support fees
- personnel costs
Advantages of Unified Communications Systems
With an on-premise unified communications platform, your company has a high degree of control over your business phone systems. You can choose to put everything behind your own firewall and be able to control the information coming in and going out. For companies that handle sensitive data and are concerned about cloud security, an on-premise unified communications system may be the best option.
A unified communications platform hosted on-premise also allows your company to bring your own trunks into the system. You can maintain your applications behind it and easily run your contact center. Your business owns the unified communications system, which ultimately gives you greater control.
What Is UCaaS?
Unified Communications as a Service is the next generation of unified communications technology. Just like its predecessor, UCaaS offers all the communication tools a business might need: a phone, extensions, a PC client (computer-phone integration), a mobility client, video, chat, voicemail, recording, fax and more. However, there’s one major difference:
UCaaS is cloud-based rather than on-premise. It’s typically hosted on a public co-location point, such as Azure, Google or Amazon wireless servers. The equipment and software are all rented and utilize cloud services. There’s no box or CPU on-premise: just phones.
Challenges of UCaaS Systems
The main disadvantage of renting your UCaaS system is that your business will not have complete control. If a vendor’s system goes down, your company can’t do anything and must eat the cost of the downtime.
It’s also important to consider federal taxes and nonrecovery costs, which could be $1–$5 a license, depending on the tools included in the user license. However, the main disadvantage remains that your business will have less control over the system itself because you are renting it.
Advantages of UCaaS Systems
Despite these challenges, UCaaS systems are a popular choice. The upfront installation costs are extremely inexpensive. The vendor often waives the user setup fee and, sometimes, will even waive the cost of the phones. With UCaaS, the upfront capital expenditure is extremely low.
There are also:
- no maintenance fees
- no worries about software bugs or performing upgrades
- no concerns about software support agreements
- included monthly local and long distance
- excellent disaster recovery systems
The key advantage of UCaaS systems is that both the upfront and the monthly recurring revenue cost are much lower than the costs of an on-premise UC system.
How Affiliated Communications Can Help You Choose
Unified communications is rapidly becoming the norm for business phone systems. Because it’s so common, there are a variety of UC and UCaaS vendors that offer different packages and prices. Affiliated Communications can help you determine which vendors offer what you need – no more and no less.
Affiliated Communications will conduct an interview to find out exactly what your business needs are. If you don’t want all the bells and whistles, you can cut costs. You might not need courtesy phones and conference areas. You might not need different clients. The communications systems of today require software, and many applications require VM (virtual machine) software, a hidden cost.
We can help you determine the specific on-premise or UCaaS system that will allow you to tailor your user licenses to limit your costs. Affiliated Communications will help you understand the small but important differences between manufacturers and vendors.
We have the knowledge to help you decide what combination of unified communications tools will bring the best benefit for your vertical, your employees, and against your competition.
Many UCaaS providers are agents only. They resell the service, set up the installation with the manufacturer – and then don’t participate in the installation and never go to your site.
Our Continued Commitment
Affiliated Communications will be your partner in this process for the long run. We assign a project manager to every account. Our team includes certified technicians and trainers to help your employees learn how to operate the new system. Affiliated Communications also benefits from more discounts because of the volume of our business.
For the duration of your agreement, we’ll work as a liaison between you and the manufacturer. We provide multiple options for how to get the unified communications tools to you. Whether you’re looking to receive your services over the internet or through velocloud SD-Wan, we’ll get it to you. We offer SIP trunking, monitoring, alarms, analytics and everything you need through our Total Care Cloud, either locally or remotely.
Contact Affiliated to Improve Your Business Phone Systems
The days of buying a phone system and plugging it into a wall are gone. We believe in offering local support. We’ve been managing projects and call flows for 35 years. We want to understand your needs and make sure everything goes through without a hitch. Most of all, Affiliated Communications wants to make sure your business can operate using the best tools for the best price.
Are you ready to learn more about how unified communications could benefit your business? Contact us to start a conversation.