There are many notable differences between companies with traditional business technology models and the digital native organizations that have been web- and tech-focused from day one. But one thing they have in common is that both can benefit from cloud-based unified communications (UC).

Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, is something that more and more companies are embracing as they recognize the value of migration away from a traditional premise-based approach and the value of emphasizing other communications channels along with voice for employee collaboration and customer engagement within newer digital environments.

The motivations may differ, but the business case is solid. UCaaS offers cost savings, flexibility, a rich data channel, and the confidence that a company has a future-proof solution with which they need not worry about upgrades or buying the latest equipment.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these advantages.

Cost savings

 Moving to UCaaS can deliver significant annual savings. The costs of management, maintenance and software upgrades, for example, are all transferred to the service provider. And any need for future hardware investment is removed from the equation.

One Sprint customer in the financial services industry has benefited from savings of 65 percent — quite a return — due to the migration from a particularly antiquated communications system. For most companies, savings will start around 35 percent, but may be higher depending on how much older legacy equipment is installed.

Those figures reflect strictly the hard-dollar, easy-to-measure costs. There is no doubt there are many soft cost benefits as well, as employees become more productive due to the enhanced ability to communicate and collaborate.

Flexibility

In contrast to legacy on-premises systems, UCaaS offers a high degree of flexibility. For instance, it allows a company to provide new and compelling ways of engaging customers and allowing employees to collaborate, in addition to enabling traditional voice communications. And while early systems may not have delivered the high quality of voice desired by some enterprises, the quality has since improved significantly.

This ability to leverage voice and enhance collaboration is helping drive digital native companies to consider UCaaS. Previously, these newer companies thrived relying on web-based communications with text as their primary means of interaction. Now, they’re recognizing the value of including multiple channels of communication including voice, chat, video and two-way SMS.

This allows them to enhance their customer engagement by adding yet another communications channel while at the same time improving employee collaboration.

Rich data channel

Once a company embraces UCaaS and communications in the cloud, there is so much more they can leverage using this foundation as a starting point. It becomes simple to interact through different channels, living up to UC’s promise of enhanced collaboration and the smooth transitions from one form of communication to another.

For example, this may involve moving from a simple one-to-one phone call to a group collaboration effort by first easily checking on team members’ availabilities and then inviting them to participate in a more engaging call without any additional effort.

Or, increasingly, it may involve leveraging video. It could be a simple phone call that morphs into a collaborative video-enriched session with screen or document sharing, or a company creatively finding ways to put video to work in customer interactions by recognizing the increasing importance of video in today’s marketing environment.

UCaaS also opens the door to mobile integration, the ability to extend your interactions into a mobile context. Even when that mobile device may be an employee’s BYOD phone, these integration solutions, such as Sprint MultiLine, can allow you to, in effect, divide that phone and make it also a company business device, with the “company” side of the phone retaining all the enterprise data and information in line with usage policies that are set by the organization.

Future-proofing

As with other as-a-service type of offerings, UCaaS ensures that a subscriber organization will never have to worry about lagging behind as technology advances. That is always a concern when a company makes a big capital investment in its own on-premises equipment. In some ways, that equipment begins to get out of date the day it is installed.

Yes, you will have software upgrades along the way and stay abreast of the latest technology reasonably well. But because of the capital-intensive nature of the on-premises equipment purchase, a company is always likelier to keep that older equipment in place longer than its ideal useful life. That’s not a concern when your provider is the one whose job it is to buy the latest equipment on your behalf.

In this new year, perhaps the best advice — if you haven’t been planning this already — is to chart a course to move away from legacy equipment and get your voice and your UC into the cloud. There are some very good solutions out there that can make that transition as smooth as possible.

That’s for the non-digital native companies. For the natives, the advice is just a bit different: Evaluate the value of voice as a communication technology and discover how the collaboration that UCaaSenables can benefit your organization.