Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is sweeping across the Asia Pacific region as businesses seize the opportunity to enable employees to communicate and collaborate from any location over the cloud.
According to IDC, the Asia-Pacific UCaaS market is poised to grow to US$659 million by 2018 at a five year compound annual growth rate of 89 per cent.
So what is UCaaS and why the surge in demand? According to Frost & Sullivan, mobile and social collaboration technologies are changing the way people work. Employees expect to access corporate data and applications on tablets, smartphones and laptops whether they're in the office, at home or travelling to a customer site. These devices may be company-issued or user-owned, have widely varying specifications and be manufactured by one of several vendors.
Unified communications (UC) meets this demand by allowing users to collaborate with each other using any device, whether in real time or not. For example, a senior executive in a Hong Kong hotel room can hold a videoconference with his direct reports in Singapore from a tablet device, while using instant messenger to update his chief executive officer on a likely sale to a key customer. Once the videoconference is finished, the executive can log in to his email to access a voicemail message the customer has left on his desk phone.
Meanwhile, businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud to deliver files and applications to users as a service via a web browser. Giving customers the option to have highly secure collaboration services with public, hybrid or private cloud services can allow businesses to repurpose or dispose of on-premise hardware, access and retain talented resources and services, support business growth and demand peaks without compromising performance. All under a budget-friendly per user per month fee (usage can mean per minute or second) rather than significant up-front investments.
Running a UC system in the cloud enables businesses to achieve considerable productivity gains without investing scarce capital and management resources. So how should your business proceed with deploying UCaaS?
1. Choose an experienced UCaaS provider using proven cloud and UC technologies - A multinational provider with points of presence worldwide ensures employees in remote locations enjoy fast, consistent voice, video and data services on any device. Check whether the provider can tailor its offerings to the needs of different types of employees, such as information workers, office workers or mobile workers, to speed up deployment and maintain relevance. All of this should be done while always complimenting and augmenting your business processes. .
2. Check the pricing structure is appropriate for your business - Many cloud services are priced individually, charging each worker using the product per month, which makes widespread access within a company a substantial investment over two or three years. By auditing your workforce to see where the greatest productivity gains could be made by providing access to UCaaS, you'll ensure the investment is directed towards impacting business effectiveness as well as getting employee buy in at an early stage.
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