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UCaaS vs. CCaaS: Weighing communications architecture integrations

More organizations have a need to integrate UCaaS and CCaaS to support office and contact center workers. Two elements, in particular, will affect integration options.

Unified communications as a service, or UCaaS, and contact center as a service, or CCaaS, have long lived in parallel worlds as extensions of their premises-based counterparts. Traditionally, they served different users with different applications. They evolved their own architectures, supported by distinct ecosystems of vendors and partners.

The current scenario of UCaaS vs. CCaaS has shifted, though, where buyers and sellers are looking for integrated platforms that support both office workers and contact center agents. The cloud has made this possible, and IT decision-makers see the rationale for an integrated approach. For partners that can deliver an integrated service, IT would have just one platform to manage and fewer vendors to worry about.

While an integration of UCaaS and CCaaS emboldens cloud adoption, organizations must address some important architectural considerations. Not all scenarios warrant a combined deployment, and decision-makers need to envision how such a move would benefit their business. To make that determination, consider the following architectural elements when evaluating UCaaS vs. CCaaS.

1. Existing premises-based integrations

In the UC world, integrations would include everyday applications and platforms, like Microsoft Office, PBX systems, video conferencing and chat portals. Similarly, contact centers need telephony integration of their own, along with customer care elements, such as customer relationship management, routing, call recording and predictive dialers.

These integrations may be well-established in an organization, but the more complex they are, the more daunting the task for major changes. This is especially true for contact centers that can't endure service disruption for customers. Premises-based technologies are built to last, and it often takes years to get all the pieces working together.

This form of architecture is not really adaptable for change, and organizations have two types of change to consider. First is the migration from on premises to cloud -- as in UC to UCaaS or contact center to CCaaS. Second would be the broader integration of UCaaS and CCaaS into a singular architecture.

Both types of changes are gaining momentum. While the benefits are compelling, decision-makers need a realistic assessment of what their current architecture can support. Premises-based elements nearing end of life can move to the cloud more easily, while newer deployments may need a longer time for cloud migration and integration with a unified platform.

2. Extent of decentralization

Decentralization has more to do with an organization's architecture than the technology. Many factors drive enterprises to decentralize their communications infrastructure to support remote working. Businesses, for instance, might save money by reducing office space, while also drawing from a broader talent pool of remote workers. When digital natives can work the way they want to work, they're happier and more productive.

As such, organizations can build a solid business case for a distributed workforce, but it will only succeed if they provide the right tools. This is where UCaaS brings value and premises-based UC cannot. If management wants this model, then IT might need a different architecture for UC.

The same scenario applies to contact center, where remote agents provide depth for the team and greater flexibility for scheduling, especially on short notice. Most contact centers are constrained by expanding physical operations, so using remote agents is the best way to scale as customer service needs grow.

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