Small businesses are reaching for the cloud for Unified Communications

Voyager_Focus_male_office_tablet_cmyk_06JUL15-SSmall businesses are embracing Unified Communications (UC). A survey conducted by Plantronics a few years ago found that 54 percent of small businesses were utilizing UC or planning to implement the technology platform that integrates desk phones, PCs and mobile devices into one data and voice network so that these devices can talk to each digitally.

Driving small business UC adoption is the need to enhance collaboration, especially among remote and mobile workers, and boost productivity, and UC achieves both. UC supports collaboration by enabling employees to work anywhere with the devices they prefer and still stay connected to each other. In fact, through the use of presence, a status display, employees know when a colleague is available for a call or a video conference or to chat to resolve a customer’s question.

UC also boosts productivity in a number of ways. For starters, the platform provides a host of collaboration tools, including e-mail, instant messaging, web and video conferencing and fax, all of which are accessible through the convenience of one interface, saving time to check multiple inboxes. To further boost productivity, the unified messaging capabilities of UC enable seamless movement between all modes of communication. As an example, unified messaging can send a voice message to your universal inbox where you can either play the message directly from the email; play an audio file attached to the email; or read a transcribed text of the message sent in the body of the email, which you can forward on to someone else if you need additional input.

Advantages of hosted UC over on-premise solutions

When it comes to deployment, small businesses have been “flocking” to cloud-based Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) or hosted UC versus on-premise solutions, reports TheUCBuyer. They expect the UCaaS market to grow almost 22 percent annually for the next seven years based on forecasts from several market research firms and that small and medium businesses are the most likely buyers.

Since hosted solutions eliminate the need to purchase equipment and pricing is by subscription, cost savings is a major factor behind small business demand for UCaaS. However, cost is not the only driving force. As Spiceworks, the IT pro community, points out in its “Reducing UC Costs and Increasing Business Performance in the Cloud with UCaaS” survey, hosted UC offers several other advantages over on-premise deployments. Among them:

  • Reduced IT burden: The responsibility for maintaining the system rests with the service provider and not a small business IT manager or team.
  • Improved scalability: You can add more seats as business grows or reduce users if business slows down.
  • Ready access to new features and technology: You can take advantage of new features and technology immediately and selectively, installing only features your team wants or needs.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery: UCaaS shifts the burden of business continuity to the provider, eliminating the need to build a costly redundant architecture.

Before you talk to UCaaS vendors, be sure to assess your availability and performance needs, Spiceworks advises. Choose a vendor based on those needs.

Get UCaaS with Plantronics audio solutions

Plantronics Device-as-a-Service Pro makes it easy to acquire Plantronics products along with a complete Unified Communications-as-a-Service solution. The program bundles UCaaS offerings and Plantronics UC audio devices from the Voyager®, Savi® and Blackwire® families or the CS540 into flexible 12- 24-or 36-month payment options.

With Plantronics Device-as-a-Service Pro, you can easily scale usage up or down to align with changes in business. You also can match the right audio device with team members’ work styles to enhance the UCaaS experience.

For information about Plantronics Device-as-a-Service Pro, visit: http://www.plantronics.com/us/daas-pro/.

 

 

About Judi Hembrough

Judi leads Americas Marketing strategy and go-to-market programs for the Small and Medium Business (SMB) customer segment at Plantronics. Judi has been a marketing director at Plantronics for 10 years in various roles focused on Strategic Alliances Marketing, SMB and Home & Home Office solutions. Prior to Plantronics, Judi was President of William-Christie Associates, Inc. -- a management consulting practice, for 10 years where she guided numerous companies such as Palm, Intuit, CBS MarketWatch and HID, in driving new initiatives.