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The days of the private branch exchange (PBX) are rapidly coming to a close. This old-school phone system is facing extinction as Unified Communications as a Service approaches its tornado phase.

At one time, a company could buy a proprietary key system or PBX from a brand name vendor and know that their telecommunications needs would be fully met, far into the foreseeable future. The customer would, of course, be locked into the offerings of the selected vendor, but that was how the industry functioned at the time, and if you picked a large enough provider, you’d probably be okay.

That was then; this is now.

Today’s UCaaS combines cloud-based voice telephony capabilities with video conferencing, fax, messaging, SMS, web chat, and other communications tools accessible from any device. New features and functions are more easily integrated without needing to replace legacy gear, as is typically the case with traditional PBXs and key systems. With cloud-based management, UCaaS dynamically stays up to date, eliminating the need to deal with updates.

According to a January 2020 report published by Fortune Business Insights, the global UCaaS market is projected to reach USD 36.45 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 10.5 percent during the forecast period. This is up from USD 16.73 billion in 2018.

Meanwhile, AVANT’s pre-sales survey data shows that approximately one in five respondents say their legacy system is just too expensive and not sufficiently scalable. Nearly one-third have a legacy service contract that is about to expire. Another 21 percent say they no longer want to manage their telephony system internally.

Many UCaaS systems are sold integrated with cloud platforms such as Salesforce, Slack, Office 365, Google Apps, and any number of ERP or CRM offerings. In any case, integration with key SaaS (including CRM) applications is usually well within reach. While MPLS or SD-WAN can often provide a positive performance increase, Unified Communications-as-a-Service tends to work well in distributed workforce environments – even those where many employees are telecommuting from home over stable broadband connections.

Beyond that, UCaaS brings to the table a new dimension in data analytics that can help your management to better understand where your business functions are working well, and where they are not.

Because IT is free from managing hardware, your team can focus on delivery of strategic business needs. This is especially important in an era when skilled technical staff is at a premium. In addition, Finance is free from dealing with communications as a capital expenditure, as UCaaS can be purchased on a per-seat subscription basis, making it easy to scale up a business without a major upfront investment. It is also typically less expensive to operate than legacy on-prem systems, especially given that the company is free from having to deal with multiple disparate communications systems.

Legacy hardware can no longer keep up with the pace of change necessary to maintain your competitiveness. In every industry, organizations that rely on legacy technologies will fail to meet customer expectations and will ultimately be left behind as clients shift to competitors who can effectively and efficiently deliver modern solutions. With every passing day, UCaaS takes on strengthened strategic importance in delivering customer satisfaction and sales growth.

For more information, please contact your trusted advisor.