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Guide to Unified Communications as a Service: Making sense of it all

This guide to Unified Communications as a Service offers insights on the benefits of cloud-based UC, the development of cloud UC services, ways to deploy a successful UCaaS strategy and more.

Telecommunications services aren't the only outsourced items to which enterprises subscribe. Today's hosted services now include video conferencing, collaboration tools, email, file sharing, instant messaging and more -- all of which can be categorized as UCaaS.

This Unified Communications as a Service guide can help you understand what makes cloud UC different from the phone company contracts of yore. Learn the cost benefits and calculations involved in hosted UC services, and determine which cloud UC services you should consider for your enterprise.


1. Defining Unified Communications as a Service

It is not uncommon for buzzwords to surface and lose their concrete meaning. "Cloud UC" and "Unified Communications as a Service" are two such terms whose meaning is fuzzy, thanks to vendors attempting to make their current products look like UCaaS. In this section of our guide, we help shed some light on the true meaning of these terms.


2. The evolution of Unified Communications as a Service

Just like any technology, cloud UC has evolved over time, and so has the market demand for it. In this section of our guide, we take a look at the technology behind cloud UC and examine its market and business impact.

  • UCaaS market slow to evolve

    It's evident that the UCaaS market has been sluggish in developing -- but there are some indicators that UCaaS solutions will become more in-demand and will pave the way for a strong UCaaS market in the future. In this feature, News Writer Gina Narcisi explores the development of the UCaaS market.


  • Cloud federation needed to integrate cloud-based UC apps

    In order to get cloud UC components from different cloud providers to speak to one another, changes must be made in the industry.


  • The UC cloud evolution

    A cloud UC evolution is in the works, and technological and business factors are combining forces to change the way the UC market operates. As apps, communications services and the cloud continue to develop, the relationship among these three factors will influence the UC market. In this tip, Nolle addresses how the cloud is going to affect the world of UC.


  • How UC cloud service models evolved

    It's key that customers fully grasp which UC cloud service models have evolved and how they are developing. This tip offers a comprehensive look at all the UC cloud service options -- allowing you to weigh your options and determine which models best support your voice and UC needs.


  • Vendors differ in cloud UC strategies

    New ways of collaboration are deeply influencing cloud-based UC strategies, and the ways in which UC offerings are delivered vary greatly, depending on the vendor. Vendors have come up with two different cloud UC models -- application-centric and process-centric. In this tip, Nolle explains both models in detail.



3. Unified Communications as a Service vs. on-premises UC solutions

Businesses have deployed UC solutions on-premises for years. With the advent of cloud computing, enterprises are reconsidering where to host their UC applications. Are you considering ditching your on-premises ways for the world of hosted UC? This section of our guide, containing a comparison chart and advice from some of our most trusted UC experts, can help you decide whether you are ready to make the plunge.

  • UC as a Service: Is it the right move for you?

    A lot of companies rely on UC applications to conduct business, and with money on the line, it's no surprise that people are weary about running these types of apps in a hosted environment. In this tip, Nolle explores both the benefits and potential downfalls of UCaaS.


  • On-premises vs. hosted cloud UC: Side-by-side comparison

    This tech comparison chart offers a detailed, feature-by-feature look at cloud UC to help you decide whether to stick with on-premises solutions or adopt hosted cloud UC. Maintenance, cost, DR plans and more are all addressed, so you can make an informed decision.

    Tech comparison

  • UC: To cloud or not to cloud?

    UCaaS offerings are starting to snowball, and there are many competing on-premises UC solutions. It can be daunting to decide which type of offering is best for your business. In this tip, Dave Michels explains some of the top considerations that can help lead you in the right direction.


  • Should you move your UC apps to the cloud?

    Still need more guidance on whether or not you're ready for cloud-based UC? Answer these questions to see whether UCaaS is right for you. Remember, the cloud and UC are technologies that are always evolving, so even if you say "no" to UCaaS today, review these questions periodically in the future to see if your company has become ready to embrace UCaaS.



4. Selecting your cloud UC service

When it comes to Unified Communications as a Service, enterprises have a lot of choices to make. Is it best to embrace a hosted or a multi-tenant service model? Are all apps suitable for the cloud, or just some? And there's also the ultimate question of whether or not it even makes sense to include the cloud in the typical UC program. This section can help you answer all these questions so you can start planning your cloud UC strategy.

  • Hosted vs. multi-tenant UCaaS: What's best for the enterprise?

    There are many multi-tenant and hosted UC models available. It's important for enterprises to have a solid grasp on providers' delivery models in order to judge their varying capabilities. It's also advisable to "read between the lines," so to speak, as some UCaaS offerings might not be as promising as they appear. Read this article to learn more about hosted vs. multi-tenant solutions.


  • Key cloud telephony service features and cost structures

    Enterprise-class cloud telephony and UC services are catching the eyes of customers. The reason for this is their affordable financial models and extensive features. Are these perks enough for you to move your phone system off-premises? This tip can help sway you one way or the other.


  • UCaaS ROI formula and methodology

    In this tip, learn the costs that need to be considered when you calculate potential UCaaS ROI to determine whether or not deploying UCaaS will be worth your time and money.


  • UC cloud provider survey

    There are a handful of cloud providers who boast Unified Communications as a Service offerings. This UC cloud provider survey will help you review some of the top UCaaS and cloud telephony providers, and see which provider is the best fit for your enterprise.



5. Ask your Unified Communications as a Service questions

Still have more UCaaS questions? You can send our cloud UC experts a question to answer by emailing or by clicking on the expert bios below.