What is Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS)?


Two trends have been evident in recent years, in part exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first is the shift to remote or hybrid working, which many workers have viewed as a significant improvement in their working lives. A Statista study of workers in January 2021 revealed that 73% wanted flexible working options to continue after the emergency measures were put in place during the pandemic.

The second trend is the move toward cloud-based resources, which combine several functions into one, and Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) is an example of one such product offering. Unified Communications, Grand View Research reports, is an industry worth $78.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to show a CAGR of over 20% between 2021 and 2028. 

Companies need UCaaS solutions and are looking for providers, giving your business a unique opportunity to grow your business by expanding your service offerings into the UCaaS world. So, what is UCaaS, why is it proving to be so popular, and how can you add a new revenue stream by reselling UCaaS to your customers?

A Simple Definition of UCaaS

As its name suggests, UCaaS describes a platform that unifies and integrates a company’s communication systems, both internally and externally. This unification process involves moving much of your data processing to the cloud, enhancing efficiency, data storage, security, and disaster preparedness.

A typical UCaaS platform will usually incorporate:

  • Telephony – a system for making, recording, and searching phone calls.
  • Email – replacing or building on legacy systems like Gmail or Outlook.
  • SMS messaging – both externally and internally, to mobile devices.
  • Push notifications – these can be sent to employees’ devices or desktops/laptops.
  • Video calling and videoconferencing – replacing or building on Zoom and other videoconferencing apps.
  • Simplified document sharing.
  • Collaborative workspaces – some UCaaS systems include these.

Crucially, all these facilities must be just as available to employees who are office-based as those who are working from home or catching up on emails on the commuter train. They must also be secure, which is where the next part of the puzzle comes into play – SASE.

Related: Do Your Customers Need Enterprise Voice Communications?

What is SASE, and how does it Enable UCaaS?

With so many people working remotely or in a hybrid environment, security concerns are real. How do companies keep data and systems secure when its people aren’t physically in the office but are accessing work resources remotely? Enter SASE.

SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge (pronounced “sassy”). It’s a cloud-based suite of fully-integrated features for advanced security, which makes remote access to even the most secure data sources possible. Adopting SASE means that companies can have a distributed workspace that’s just as available in employees’ homes as it is on the go, on their handheld devices. 

Workers are no longer tied to their office workstations (although some will prefer the community inherent in co-location). What SASE and UCaaS together provide is flexibility – they give organizations options for working in an agile and responsive manner.

Included within SASE are the following elements:

  • Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) – a secure, private network of potentially unlimited size whose boundaries are defined and policed within the cloud by software rather than by physically localized hardware routers.
  • Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) – a security protocol that doesn’t assume an identity but requires users to prove their identity on each new device upon login. It may incorporate MFA or 2FA features, including the use of third-party authenticators, biometrics, or other measures to reinforce secure access.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) – a method of incorporating cloud-based firewalls to prevent cyber-attacks by using technologies such as URL filtering, early threat detection, intrusion prevention, and DNS security measures.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) – Security measures to ensure that third-party apps accessed via the cloud do not infect your network with viruses, bots, trojans, or other unwanted intrusions.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG) – This part of SASE protects the user from accessing unsecured or malicious websites, as well as protecting against inbound threats such as data-scraping bots and malware.

Together, this suite of capabilities forms the security architecture upon which UCaaS is built. Your customers need these capabilities to keep up with the changing ways of working, and you can fulfill those needs to retain more customers by reselling them under your own brand. You can also attract new customers with a robust UCaaS solution. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out alone. Companies already established in the industry offer reseller platforms that make it easy for you to sell UCaaS.

What Are the Benefits of Reselling a UCaaS solution?

For a host of reasons, selling a UCaaS platform to your customers is highly beneficial. First, you are helping your customers modernize their business communications. Forbes recently wrote, “adopting UCaaS is a smart strategy for many SMBs. Not only does it enable your team to embrace the shift to work-from-home and work-from-anywhere, but it can also provide your business with some breathing room on your bottom line and enhance how you communicate with colleagues and customers.”

Many SMBs don’t know where to start, so if you can inform them of the UCaaS benefits, you are a step closer to being their provider. Secondly, you can add a recurring revenue stream to your business, helping you stay relevant and profitable. Even if you don’t have extensive UCaaS knowledge and experience, you can use a turnkey reseller platform that has everything you need to be successful. They offer you their expertise, their systems and process, and their solutions to resell so you can get started on day one.

Let’s explore some of the benefits your customers see by incorporating UCaaS benefits you can relay to them:

  • Time and efficiency savings – there’s no time lost in switching between platforms and systems. Employees’ concentration isn’t derailed by process switching either.
  • Integrated communications allow for more sophisticated workflows. Now their sales and marketing strategy can incorporate a range of options tailored to each prospect. An initial call reveals their lead would rather be contacted by email with further information – that’s no problem. Perhaps they’d like a text notification of future discounts? They can set that up too. A client won’t commit to a large enterprise sale without a face-to-face meeting. They can offer a Zoom conference with all key stakeholders on the same call and share documentation and live product demos.
  • Everything is Recorded, Stored, and Searchable. Many UCaaS systems are designed to automatically record calls or transcribe conversations so that they become searchable by keyword. Even AI-driven methods such as sentiment analysis can be applied in some instances, allowing them to locate that very valid product criticism that can inform their R&D.
  • Metrics are Easier to Apply. When a unified communications system is in place, one can derive a host of stats to demonstrate performance. This is particularly effective in a sales context, of course, where the volume and duration of calls, conversion ratios, and other measures are important.
  • Remote Working is Empowered. Cloud-based secure access portals allow employees to use all their tools, even when circumstances or personal preference means they must work from home or another non-office location.
  • Accuracy and Completeness are Assured. When everyone is using the same system and integrations, meaning they can plug in calendars, reminders, and prompts, it’s much harder for important steps to be forgotten or workflows circumvented. Calls won’t be lost to personal mobiles, and follow-up emails can be sent when the sales rep promises because the system will prompt them to remember.
  • Disaster Preparedness. Floods, fires, power outages, and pandemics do happen. With fully remote or hybrid working enabled, they’ll be ready to deal with every eventuality.

All in all, workflow is optimized by having one unified nexus for communication. Managers and executives are freed up to concentrate on improving the business on a macro level, secure in the knowledge that team leads have full visibility over day-to-day operations. It’s easy to see why UCaaS is easy to sell.

Related: How Can a White-Label UCaaS Platform Meet Your Customers’ Needs?

UCaaS from an IT Lead’s Perspective

Heads of IT love the unified approach too – there’s just one main portal to maintain and upgrade, and they often have additional support available from the platform provider.  

Two main types of providers exist, and it’s important to choose the option that’s right for your customer’s business model. The options are:

  • Single-Tenancy: Your UCaaS partner builds a bespoke portal for your customer, enabling them to ringfence all activities and data, and design exactly the portal they need.
  • Multi-Tenancy: Your UCaaS partner gives your customer access to a readymade yet customizable UCaaS portal, but it’s very much a one-size-fits-all approach. This option is often less expensive.

The former approach is optimized for each specific use case. However, it’s important to ensure your customers have ongoing support and upgrades after their UCaaS system is installed. With the multi-tenancy approach, economies of scale do apply, but your customers may have to accept some compromises in terms of product design and fit.

The Best of Both Worlds – UcaaS Tailored to You With Ongoing Support

A great UCaaS provider should allow you to enjoy the benefits of being a reseller while you provide your customers with efficiency savings and workflow advantages of UCaaS. Reselling UCaaS isn’t difficult if you choose the right UCaaS partner, one that is backed by an experienced UCaaS provider who can offer the hardware, software, and support you need to build your business quickly. 

Help turn your customers’ workforces into hybrid powerhouses with unified communications which are 21st-century fit and future-proof. Get everything you need to get started and become successful faster with SkySwitch. Getting started is easier than you think.