The way we communicate is changing. Most companies today have started to embrace the remote work model. But these changing workplace trends have put the spotlight on another issue: team collaboration.
How can companies ensure their teams are connected, communicating, and visible? This need is why most companies are turning to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platforms.
Allowing employees to work from home or on the go can improve productivity. But robust communication solutions are needed to keep these teams connected and synchronized to meet key business challenges. These include platforms that streamline voice and video calls, file sharing, messaging, important news, and team visibility.
Handling all the various types of communication your business uses may not be easy for your employees. It may even require implementing a new unified communications solution.
Why Is the “as a Service” Model the Right Choice?
Communications technology is complex. A poorly implemented solution will impact quality. Add to that how expensive creating the necessary infrastructure and finding the right talent is — and it’s easy to see why a UCaaS platform is the right choice.
UCaaS is often the better choice for most small and medium businesses. The as-a-service model takes the burden off your IT department and passes the support costs on to the UCaaS provider. It also lets you access a scalable solution where you only pay for the number of users and features you need.
Unified communications offer your company a robust combination of powerful communication features. These solutions may include voice, video, messaging, and email integration that keep your teams focused and collaborative.
What Features Should You Look for in a UCaaS Platform?
It’s not hard to find a list of the best UCaaS providers on the market. But one thing you should look for is a provider that offers customizable packages capable of meeting your business’s needs.
So, what does that mean in practice? And what features really matter when it comes to the right UCaaS solution? It’s a big choice to make when it impacts your team’s ability to collaborate, stay productive, and visible.
1. Full Communication Spectrum Coverage
Unified communications keep your teams connected. That means voice, video, messaging, and more. If your team still needs to switch apps—what’s the point in having a UCaaS platform?
The right UCaaS platform will include all the communications your business uses, including:
- Voice calls
- Video calls
- Instant messaging
- Video conferencing
- Email integration
- Instant messaging
- File sharing
Before committing to a UCaaS plan, you should review it and make sure you’re getting all the coverage you need.
2. Push Notifications
Push notifications are an incredibly important tool that can increase the visibility of essential communications.
All of the top UCaaS platforms on the market come with push notifications, and you shouldn’t consider a solution that doesn’t.
Push notifications keep your teams connected by ensuring that they see updates from management, essential company communications, and other notifications that need to be seen.
3. End-to-End Encryption (Secure Communications)
While you may expect your company network to be secure, it’s always beneficial to add another layer of encryption to your data. Even the most secure networks have gaps, and human error can expose your valuable data to cyber-attacks.
Data is king today, and you should take extra steps to protect it. If your teams work from home, you must have end-to-end data encryption for your communications. Employees’ home networks may not be secure enough to rely on to protect your sensitive data. Some employees may even be working from public, unencrypted WiFi networks.
End-to-end encryption protects your company’s data from human error without any extra input needed from your employees. This is an important feature in an environment when your employees may be using personal devices while working.
Any UCaaS platform worth considering should include a reliable end-to-end encryption solution.
4. Multi-Platform Support
Today’s employees use a variety of devices to complete their work. Your employees may use two or three devices, including a work computer and mobile device. Accessibility is one of the main benefits of a UCaaS platform.
A reliable UCaaS platform must support all of your employees’ devices, which means it must be compatible with Apple iOS, Android, and Windows without sacrificing access to features.
Multi-platform support ensures that your teams can stay connected and visible, regardless of what device they are using. This also makes it easy for them to communicate using their own computer and smartphone while working remotely.
5. Information Streamlining and Integration
UCaaS platforms quickly become a hub for all types of information and communications. The best UCaaS platforms have a way to organize and make sense of this data. Ideally, each employee will only see notifications that are relevant to them.
But this level of visibility shouldn’t diminish the user experience. It’s just as important employees can conveniently switch between communication methods. One of the benefits of a UCaaS platform is that it allows your employees to sort through all their communications seamlessly.
Integration is another important aspect of UCaaS for reducing inefficiency. Aside from handling data coming in through your UCaaS channels, you want your UCaaS platform to integrate with other services you use. Make sure your existing services mesh well with the platform you’re considering.
The data you collect—and your ability to work with that data—is what keeps your organization efficient.
6. Reliable Infrastructure and Geo-Redundancy
Your UCaaS platform could have every feature, but they won’t mean anything if the service is unreliable. It’s crucial to make sure the company you opt with has a history of providing consistent service.
A geo-redundant UCaaS infrastructure allows the platform to continue providing you with service even if one of the pieces of the infrastructure fails. Ideally, your UCaaS platform will have a geo-redundant network covering all locations your employees need to access it from, including your business’s location and their homes.
7. Integrated News Feed
We’ve found that most UCaaS providers struggle to consolidate incoming data for users. Employees can be overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re being flooded with.
Unio comes with an integrated news feed that improves leadership visibility and ensures that important news bulletins get read.
The newsfeed is a highly customizable feature that allows managers to choose which information they want to share with employees. It’s adaptable to almost any use case you can think of.
Here are a few options the newsfeed offers:
- Give employees real-time progress updates from their team
- Display new tasks for the employee as they come in
- Provide a general overview of overall completion status on a project
- Allow teams to comment on a news story
- Create chat rooms that include everyone tagged to a specific bulletin or story
The newsfeed is a simple feature that provides organizations with enhanced leadership visibility, so you never have to worry about memos getting skipped. You can easily see who’s commented on a bulletin, who’s viewed it, and more.
8. Employee/Leadership Visibility
Working remotely has changed the way most employees approach the typical workday. Something as simple as stopping by a coworkers office to see if they’re available isn’t possible in this environment.
Employee visibility is one area where UCaaS platforms excel because they will show you who’s available, you can see where people are chatting in group discussions, and more.
This added visibility makes it easy for your teams to connect as everyone is never more than a single message away.
9. Enhanced Contact Management
Your company likely relies on a large list of contacts that you’ve spent years developing. You can’t afford to have your employees searching through multiple apps to find a phone number or email address.
Contact management is one of the biggest areas that companies struggled with when adopting a new communications platform. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
A worthwhile UCaaS solution will come with some form of a contact management feature. Unio integrates with major identity providers, Azure ID, and other leading contact management solutions to streamline this entire process.
10. Voicemail and Notes
While voicemail and notes may not seem like the most important feature—they’re still important in specific industries.
Sometimes your teams may not have the ability to type when out in the field. Voice notes save time and improve clarity when sending urgent messages.
A reliable UCaaS solution should include a mix of voicemail, voice notes, and video recording functionality—so your teams can stay agile—whether in the office or out in the field.
11. API Functionality
No business relies on just one app for everything they do. Technology is complex today, and that often means integrating several major platforms. Some organizations may use individual platforms for sales tasks, project management, HR, and communications.
You should look for a UCaaS platform that is API-friendly. Your UCaaS solution must pair up with the other platforms your organization uses in its workflows.
An API-friendly communications platform will sync with other apps, improving overall visibility and productivity by centralizing key data points in one convenient location.
12. Single Sign-On (SSO)
Are your employees tired of juggling dozens of logins for all the different software you use? SSO is one of the easiest ways to solve that problem.
While SSO is often considered an enterprise-level feature, many UCaaS platforms are compatible with this time-saving technology.
Unio uses both Open ID and OAuth, making it easy for companies to adopt SSO and streamline how they manage their login credentials.
13. Built-in Analytics
How does your organization leverage data to make better decisions? Analytics is a useful tool that can improve the decision-making process.
When it comes to communications, analytics can help you determine various things, such as:
- How your teams communicate
- Which method of communication they prefer
- Which messages are getting seen
- Whether they’re using a certain communications tool
You want a UCaaS solution that includes analytics tracking—that way you can use the data it collects to identify areas of improvement and create a better user experience.
Unio UCaaS: Feature-rich, Secure, and Built for Collaboration
Are you looking for a new UCaaS solution for your company?
Unio is a secure unified communications platform that improves leadership visibility and team cohesion by providing users with a robust set of voice, video, text, file sharing, and news feed features—all backed by world-class encryption, built right here in Canada.
Want to learn more about how Unio can empower your communications? Get in touch with our team today to book a personalized demo.