Unlocking the power of UCaaS: a comprehensive guide for businesses and MSPs
With the COVID-19 pandemic driving the shift towards hybrid and remote work environments, the adoption of unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has rapidly accelerated.
Why? Because UCaaS is more than just a means for team collaboration; it’s a comprehensive communication solution that can transform the way businesses communicate internally and externally – boosting efficiency, reducing costs and uncovering opportunities.
The UCaaS journey and growth have been remarkable. In response to the pandemic, companies of all sizes implemented UCaaS services to enable remote work, resulting in a global surge in demand across all industries.
According to Grand View Research, the global UCaaS market size in 2021 was $47.64 billion, and it’s forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20% from 2022 to 2030.
In this light, UCaaS seems set to become the go-to communications tool for business – which presents an incredible opportunity for MSPs.
In this essential guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about UCaaS. We’ll start by defining UCaaS, highlighting the business benefits and key features. Then, we’ll delve deeper into the world of UCaaS, discussing the market opportunity and what to look for in a provider. Finally, we’ll cover the UCaaS questions most commonly asked by MSPs, and explore how intY can help you access this exciting opportunity.
So, if you’re tired of handling outdated communication systems from multiple providers, then it’s time to explore UCaaS – get ready to be impressed.
I. What is UCaaS?
UCaaS is an acronym for Unified Communications as a Service, where all cloud-based communication systems come through a single provider, as a subscription-based service. It’s a streamlined solution that brings many business benefits.
UCaaS platforms work by providing businesses with a suite of communication and collaboration tools that are hosted in the cloud and delivered over the internet. Features include voice and video calling, messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and virtual meeting rooms, among others.
Cloud-based storage means that UCaaS platforms can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. And solutions are designed to be user-friendly, with intuitive interfaces that allow users to switch easily between communication channels and collaborate with colleagues in real-time.
By using UCaaS platforms, businesses can reduce their reliance on expensive on-premise hardware and software, while also benefiting from improved scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
II. Benefits of UCaaS
UCaaS solutions offer a wide range of benefits that can help businesses of all sizes to improve their communication, collaboration, and productivity. Here are some of the key benefits of UCaaS:
- Collaboration: UCaaS solutions provide a suite of collaboration tools that enable team members to work together more efficiently, regardless of their location. These tools include screen sharing, file sharing, instant messaging, presence, video conferencing, and more. By enabling real-time collaboration, UCaaS solutions can help businesses to accelerate decision-making and improve the quality of their work.
- Cost savings: UCaaS solutions are a cost-effective option for businesses looking for communication systems. Unlike traditional on-premises systems, UCaaS doesn’t require upfront costs for hardware and software or ongoing maintenance and upgrades. UCaaS is usually offered as a subscription-based service, which means businesses can pay for what they need and adjust their subscription as needed. This helps them save money and focus on other aspects of their operations.
- Time savings: UCaaS solutions can help businesses save time by simplifying communication and collaboration processes. By using a single platform for communication, team members can work together more efficiently without having to switch between different tools.
- Scalability: UCaaS solutions are flexible and can easily adjust to your business needs as it grows. Whether you need to add more users, locations, or features, UCaaS can accommodate these changes without requiring additional hardware or software. This means you can scale up or down without worrying about hardware limitations or expensive upgrades, making UCaaS a practical solution for businesses of any size.
- Accessibility: UCaaS solutions make it easy for team members to access communication and collaboration tools from anywhere, at any time. This means that even if you’re working from home, on the go, or in a different location, you can still communicate and collaborate with your team as if you’re in the same office. You don’t need any special software or complicated VPNs to access UCaaS solutions, making it a convenient option for businesses with remote or mobile workers.
- Flexibility: UCaaS solutions offer businesses the flexibility to customise their communication and collaboration tools according to their unique needs. They can select from a range of features and applications and only pay for what they require, enabling them to save costs. By choosing UCaaS, businesses can tailor their communication and collaboration solutions to their specific needs.
While there are many benefits to using UCaaS solutions, some managed service providers (MSPs) may hesitate to adopt it due to a lack of knowledge or experience.
However, help is available, as many UCaaS vendors provide complete support throughout the sales cycle, and some even provide training programmes. RingCentral, for instance, offers the Harmony programme, which equips partners with the necessary training and tools to provide excellent customer service and support for UCaaS solutions. intY can also support you with UCaaS opportunities via our Agency Model – removing the risk of losing out on deals because you aren’t upskilled on a particular solution. Learn more about this model here.
III. The UCaaS Market Opportunity
The adoption of UCaaS solutions is expected to increase significantly in 2023 due to various trends. One of the key drivers is the rapid shift to cloud-based environments, which was boosted by the pandemic. As businesses make this shift, they’re abandoning traditional hardware and outdated VoIP systems that don’t meet the high standards of security and reliability needed for the modern workplace.
Another trend is the increasing focus on cybersecurity, as customers demand sturdy systems to protect their information. UCaaS providers offer robust cloud-based security solutions using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to help customers work safely and businesses protect their data.
Mobile integrations are set to become more critical, especially iOS and Android, as more employees use these devices for work. Integrations are on the rise, notably messaging integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and mobile voice integrations with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management tools.
Finally, 5G and satellite technology look set to boost the adoption of UCaaS technologies, by using advanced wireless networks to support cloud communication services. This will allow people to access UCaaS solutions from any location and any device, with a fast and reliable connection. This trend will help remote work grow by providing a seamless and reliable communication infrastructure that enables remote workers to be just as productive as in-office workers.
IV. Key features of a UCaaS solution
UCaaS solutions bring together different communication channels to create a seamless experience for users. They don’t require extra equipment or complicated setups, making it easy for businesses to adopt and use. These features make UCaaS an excellent choice for businesses looking to improve their communication and collaboration capabilities.
But what features are included in a typical UCaaS solution?
- Voice and telephony: UCaaS provides a complete phone service including voicemail, call recording, call routing, and call forwarding. These features are essential for businesses that need reliable and high-quality phone services.
- Video and meeting solutions: Video conferencing capabilities will be included for individual or multi-participant meetings. These video meetings can be conducted from anywhere with an internet connection and provide an excellent alternative to in-person meetings.
- Messaging: Messaging solutions provide real-time chat for individuals and groups. This feature is perfect for quick conversations and collaboration among team members.
- Collaboration tools: UCaaS solutions come with a suite of collaboration tools that include quick scheduling, presence/availability (status online/offline), screen and file sharing, recording, and coaching. Essential kit for team collaboration and productivity.
- Mobility and apps: Mobility and app features allow employees to access a range of tools and applications from anywhere using the cloud. This feature enables users to stay connected to their work even when they’re not in the office or when they switch to different devices.
V. What should your UCaaS provider be offering?
UCaaS providers bundle key features together to help businesses enhance their communication and productivity. But what are the essentials you need to look for? Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your UCaaS provider:
- Technical quality and reliability: A good UCaaS provider should offer superior call quality and a better Service Level Agreement (SLA) than traditional PBX or team collaboration options.
- Security, scalability, flexibility, and support: UCaaS providers should offer strong security measures, the ability to scale to changing business needs, flexibility to adapt to various communication channels, and reliable vendor support for seamless operations.
- Core UCaaS features and collaboration tools: Essential UCaaS features like voice, messaging, video, and collaboration tools such as screen sharing, recording, and coaching should be included as standard.
- Cloud-based and internet-hosted: UCaaS platforms should be cloud-based and hosted over the internet via the provider’s secure data center for easy access and maintenance.
- Advanced reporting and analytics: Advanced reporting and analytics tools should be offered to help businesses analyse their communication data and optimise workflows.
- API integrations: UCaaS providers should offer API integrations with popular business software like SAP and Salesforce and team collaboration tools like Teams.
- Call recording: Call recording capabilities should be offered for quality assurance, training, and compliance purposes.
- Real-time call quality reporting: Real-time call quality reporting should be included to help businesses identify and resolve call quality issues quickly.
- Call handling and call queues: Call handling and call queues are essential to ensure that businesses can manage their calls efficiently and provide excellent customer service.
VII. Access intY’s UCaaS expertise
As reliable, secure and integrated communications become more important, we want to help you take advantage of this growing market. At intY, we specialise in providing UCaaS solutions and have a team of experts to help our MSP partners choose the best vendor for their customers and upskill where needed.
We know that each partner has different business goals, which is why we offer two ways to work with us: the Reseller and Agency models. This enables you to choose the option that best fits your business needs. You can learn all about this opportunity here.
Discover our agency model
Our Agency model is a way for partners to refer customers to top UCaaS providers like Zoom, RingCentral, 8×8, GoTo, and SCB Global. This means that you don’t have to worry about not having enough knowledge about a particular vendor, as they will handle everything on your behalf.
Through our Agency model, you can earn a one-time bonus for qualifying deals and a monthly commission for as long as the customer uses the service. So, by partnering with us, you can focus on growing your business while we take care of the hard work.
Frequently Asked Questions on UCaaS
Why integrate a UCaaS provider for Microsoft Teams?
Integrating a UCaaS provider with Microsoft Teams brings extra features that work well with and improve how Teams operates. This includes call recording, reporting and analytics to boost communication, productivity, accuracy, and customer satisfaction, a sturdy system for great-quality calls, a guarantee of 99.999% uptime, backup plans for emergencies, and contact centre abilities for a seamless experience across different channels.
What is the process for engaging with UCaaS vendors?
To get started with UCaaS vendors, reach out to your intY Account Manager. They will guide you through the process of signing up for intY’s Agency programme, setting up your account with the vendor and granting you access to their portal.
Once you have access, you can register potential customers and complete training, and you’ll also have access to marketing materials to help you sell your UCaaS solution.
When you register a lead, the vendor’s sales team will contact you to schedule a call with the customer. The vendor will work closely with you throughout the entire sales process. You can also count on support from your intY Account Manager and our Agency lead to help you close the deal.
How does UCaaS work from a support and deployment perspective?
UCaaS vendors take care of deploying the solution and providing full support to both you and your customers. This saves you time and resources so you can focus on other areas of your business, such as customer acquisition and growth. Some vendors also offer options for you to provide 1st line support and complete the deployment if that is your preference.
How does UCaaS billing work?
The UCaaS vendor provides billing to the customer. Once the customer pays their invoice, the vendor will pay the commissions to intY, which we will automatically pass through to you at the end of every month without you having to invoice.
How does the referral model (Agency Model) affect my earnings?
In the referral model (Agency Model), you earn money in two ways. First, you receive a commission every month for as long as the customer remains under contract. Second, you’ll receive an upfront payment when you sign up a new customer or when an existing customer upgrades their service. This payment is based on the amount of money the customer will pay each month and is paid upfront, giving you cash quickly. The vendor takes care of most of the work, so you can focus on earning money.
What’s the difference between UCaaS, CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) and CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service)?
UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS are different categories of communication service, each serving specific business needs.
CCaaS solutions provide call centre agents with necessary tools to manage customer interactions.
CPaaS solutions are designed for developers to add interactive functions to their applications, such as video calling or chatbots.
In contrast, UCaaS is a comprehensive platform that offers multiple communication technologies within a single solution. It’s an excellent choice for businesses looking to streamline their communication processes and enhance efficiency.
How will the ISDN switch off impact the adoption of UCaaS solutions?
The ISDN switch off means that BT’s older phone systems, called PSTN and ISDN, will no longer be available for businesses and homeowners to use. This will happen gradually until 2025, and means that everyone will need to move to a fully digital phone network. Businesses need to start planning now by choosing the right digital phone system and deciding what they can offer their customers.