UCaaS helps employers navigate workplace trends

April 13, 2018
Josh Pichler

Creative business people meeting via video conference The ability to run Voice over IP has unleashed a wave of innovative Unified Communications solutions that are delivering value from a mobility, collaboration, and cost perspective to organizations of all sizes.

CBTS, which manages, hosts, or maintains more than 700,000 end points across our suite of Unified Communications solutions, regularly meets with clients to help them understand the advantages of these products, and to tailor specific solutions that will help deliver business outcomes.

Tony King, Solution Lead for CBTS, recently discussed the workplace and technology trends that are moving organizations toward Unified Communications solutions, and the benefits these solutions offer.

What is driving clients toward Unified Communications solutions?

The No. 1 driver is total cost of ownership. That’s what we see from small business all the way to enterprise clients. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) gives them an easy, pay-as-you-go, predictable monthly expense, and the service and equipment refreshes as needed. Unified Communications solutions scale users and applications up or down easily. And Unified Communications solutions allow internal IT organizations to focus on value-added initiatives, as opposed to worrying about running a communications platform.

How is the shift in workplace environments impacting demand for Unified Communications solutions?

A typical office today looks nothing like it did 10 years ago. Everybody used to have a designated cube with a designated phone sitting on their desk. They came in and worked from 8-5. You had a mobile phone, but it was separate from your business phone.

Today, you walk into many offices and there are open areas where people come in and work. Many employees don’t even have a designated work space. And everybody uses their smartphones.

Our solutions have to be centric to that. But we also have to be centric to the fact that each client wants a business identity of some type. Employees are still using phones, but the phone may be in a conference room. Or, the employee may not spend very much time in the office and so they have calls forwarded to their mobile phones. Or, the employee needs the ability to pick up any phone in the office, or their mobile phone, and have the call appear as though it’s being delivered from a single business number.

It all goes back to mobility being in high demand. We need the ability to access information immediately on our mobile devices, whether it’s a business call, e-mail, or another application. And we want to do it from anywhere.

What else do your clients need from their communications platform?

Our clients demand the flexibility that collaboration software brings to the table. A lot of that software is focused on making meetings more efficient. How much productivity is lost when people can’t physically make a meeting on time?

Our suite of Unified Communications solutions meets all of these needs for mobility, efficiency, and collaboration. And, getting back to my first point, our solutions provide significant cost of ownership advantages.

What does total cost of ownership look like for organizations that still manage their own communications platform?

The alternative to a managed Unified Communications solution is going out and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – or, in the case of an enterprise organization, millions of dollars – on a platform that the client really doesn’t know how to run, and that the client is not familiar with from a technology perspective.

Total cost of ownership also includes staffing. If a client has an aging communications platform, the expertise required to manage that platform at some point becomes difficult to find. So it’s not just the cost of buying the platform, it’s the difficulty of keeping a highly trained, full-time employee on board.

And you have the hamster wheel of life cycle management. You purchase something in Year 1, knowing that you’ll need to upgrade sometime in Years 3-5. By that time, the technology you’re using may very well be out of date.

That brings me back to this question: Do you want your IT organization managing your communications platform, or do you want it focused on initiatives that generate revenue or some other positive outcome for your business?

The needs also must vary with respect to different verticals. How does that inform the CBTS approach?

That’s right. Some retail businesses, for example, are very transactional. Other retail businesses hardly use the phone. An automotive parts retail shop will take a lot of phone calls every day from multiple customers, so they need a platform that facilitates that connectivity. A shoe store, on the other hand, may take one phone call an hour and have different needs.

We also have clients in verticals like healthcare that are experiencing a lot of consolidation. A client might have 10 different PBX vendors because it grew by acquisition, and each site had its own telephony platform. The client might not even know what they have, and come to us for help with managing the current system, and to create a plan that will eventually migrate them to a Unified Communications solution with single pane of glass management.

So understanding business needs – even when those businesses are inside the same vertical, or in a complex vertical like healthcare – is critical and central to the CBTS approach. We have deep experience in delivering Unified Communications solutions, and tailoring those solutions to meet our clients’ specific needs. That ability sets CBTS apart.

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