What is a UCaaS Platform?

Author: InterVision
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A UCaaS  platform is a software tool used to integrate business communications functions like phone calls, chats, meetings, and more. There are many types of UCaaS platforms available for businesses today and selecting the right one for your team can be a challenge. Let’s review the 3 main components you should look for in a UCaaS platform, as well as the best UCaaS systems on the market today.

What are the 3 Main Components of Unified Communications?

For a solution to count as a unified communications platform, its functions must have three main minimum components:

  1. User interface: Firstly, there has to be a portal or main dashboard where employees log in and access their communications, as well as become available to receive phone calls or messages from other employees. This interface has to work equally well on many devices and operating systems. When a UCaaS system is being deployed at your business, make sure the service provider or installer helps your team learn how to use the platform, answer any questions, and customize whatever features and outputs possible to align with your team’s existing workflow.
  2. Voice Communication: Secondly, you might be wondering, “ ” If you’ve never used Voice over IP (VoIP) before, you may not be used to the idea that you can make and receive phone calls through a computer dashboard or mobile app. But that is exactly the power and potential of UCaaS. In fact, one specific type of UCaaS platform is call center as a service (CCaaS) which allows remote employees to work together as a call center team.
  3. Presence: Lastly, a UCaaS system must let users know when others are online and available. This is easier with a UCaaS system than a traditional system, since each employee’s schedule and current communication activities are embedded in the system. If someone is on a video meeting, for instance, it is easy for the platform to automatically indicate they are unavailable.

There are many platforms on the market which meet these three conditions and provide more features. Here are some of the recognized industry leaders!

Examples of Unified Communications Platforms

The Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant 2020 divides UCaaS systems into four classes: leaders, visionaries, challengers, and niche players. Here’s what each one means, and the software companies that made the cut:

  • Leaders are ranked highly in both the completeness of their vision and ability to execute. Here is what Gartner had to say about some of the five 2020 UCaaS leaders:
    • Microsoft Teams: “This year, Microsoft took its UCaaS strategy to the next level with countless new features, including virtual backgrounds, live captioning, direct routing in up to 90 countries, and more.”
    • 8×8: “Offering an excellent combination of meetings, telephony, messaging, and contact centre services for the enterprise… Integration enhancements are also a plus point for 8×8.”
    • Cisco UCM: “Cisco has geographically diversified operations, a full management platform, and the user experience benefits of integrating Webex Calling into the Webex application suite.”

Many of these UCaaS platforms have become commonly-heard names around workplaces adapting to remote work requirements, so it’s no surprise to find them on the list of leaders. At InterVision we have decades of experience implementing these solutions to support thousands of end-users, and are certified experts in these platforms.

  • Visionaries are those who have a complete vision but haven’t achieved execution on that idea. In 2020, web conferencing and collaboration platform Fuze was the only Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.
    • “Fuze made the Magic Quadrant for this year thanks to its focus on various messaging, calling, contact centre, and meeting services, in a geographically diversified landscape,” Gartner explained of its selection in the report.
  • Challengers have risen to claim a market share today, but their alignment with the future needs of customers remains to be seen. In 2020, Gartner identified 3 UCaaS Challengers, and here’s how they described each:
    • Google: “Enhancements over the past year have included…meeting safety. There’s also presentation support, bulk provisioning for Google Voice, and the arrival of Google’s UCaaS features within the Gmail sidebar.”
    • LogMeIn: “LogMeIn delivers UCaaS functionality through GoToConnect…including new user experiences for the mobile and desktop clients…as well as integrations with Google, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other leading tools.”
    • Mitel: “Mitel has introduced MiCloud Connect with Google Cloud, and SelfStart self-service portals for improving onboarding experiences for the customer.”
  • Niche Players are those focused on serving the specific needs of smaller audience segments. 2020’s Magic Quadrant UCaaS Niche Players were described as:
    • Vonage: “Enhancements in the last 12 months include… Vonage Smart Numbers for modifying call flows using programmable API technology.”
    • Star2Star: “In the last year, Star2Star launched video meetings – a new self-developed solution for meetings. Additionally, new licensing arrived to bundle capabilities for various types of users, including remote workers.”
    • Dialpad: “The company introduced… voice intelligence functionalities including AI-generated summaries post-call and transcriptions.”
    • Windstream: “Updates include the new packaging of complementary services for enterprise customers, like SD-WAN, security services, and more.”
    • Acatel-Lucent Enterprise: “This solution focuses on file sharing, team messaging, meeting hubs, and mobile technology.”

All the UCaaS platforms identified on this list are serving and satisfying customers every day. That’s why working with an expert to explain your needs can make it easier to compare and contrast the options and decide on the best UCaaS solutions for your business to invest in.

Get Platform-Neutral UCaaS System Consulting, Implementation, and Ongoing Support

InterVision has over 25 years of experience as an IT managed services provider, including the deployment of UCaaS systems for as long as they have been around. We pride ourselves on getting to know our clients’ communications challenges and goals to design a custom solution leveraging industry-leading technologies, and the best support model that makes sense for them. Our decades of experience help project leaders proceed with confidence that cost will be controlled and security and compliance requirements will be met. InterVision can also fully host and support the daily operations of your new UCaaS platform, unburdening your IT staff and monitoring system performance.

Review some of the success stories we’ve achieved for others and see why you can trust InterVision as a collaboration partner and guide.

 

Want to learn more? You may also be interested in these blogs …
UCaaS: Past, Present and Future
UCaaS Providers
CCaaS Companies

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