For over a decade, VoIP phone systems have dominated voice communications infrastructure for businesses. The most forward-thinking and ambitious of VoIP providers have not stopped there, though, pushing the envelope of what businesses should expect from such services by rolling out business instant messaging and video conferencing features with enterprise-grade security.
Integrations with business CRMs and more advanced features relative to traditional, on-premise business phone systems, such as call statistics and cloud-synced call recording quickly made it clear that these new telecoms businesses were shattering the glass ceiling imposed by traditional telecoms hardware and technology.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ and a VoIP phone system will handle your business’ external and internal voice communications. VoIP phone systems come in various shapes and sizes, with some significantly more capable than others, offering more detailed and complex configurations to better suit the needs of the largest enterprises.
The Benefits of VoIP
VoIP technology itself has many benefits when compared with traditional phone systems. For starters, it’s much cheaper in terms hardware maintenance and acquisition, monthly fees, and call costs.
We’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating; when it comes to call costs, an international landline call on the standard BT international rate, at time of writing, would cost you 55p/min. With a VoIP provider like Yay.com, on the other hand, it would cost you 1.5p/min. This is a saving of over 97%.
In terms of hardware, VoIP apps (or ‘softphones’) remove the necessity of purchasing desk phones for your staff unless you want to. The platform itself won’t require you to purchase any hardware, which means you’ll also be saving on the costs of regular hardware maintaining and servicing.
We’ve already alluded to the powerful features possible with a VoIP phone system that would be impossible with a traditional PBX, but one of the most fundamental advancements VoIP made possible is the significant improvement to call quality.
Better data transport protocols and signal processing technology allow any noise to be more easily removed from a signal (and a cleaner, more intact signal to be transported in the first place). When combined with the transport medium of high-speed wireless internet and fibre optic cable versus long-distance copper cables, more data can be transported at once and at a faster rate. Combined, this results in much higher call quality for VoIP phone systems.
What Is UCaaS?
UCaaS stands for ‘Unified Communications as a Service’ and these platforms aim at being ‘single-pane-of-glass’ solutions to your business communication needs. Internal voice calls, file sharing, business instant messaging and video conferencing amongst your teams all come under the umbrella of unified communications.
The Advantages of UCaaS
Whilst VoIP deals solely with voice communications over your internet connection, unified communications combines this technology with a number of other services to bring you a fully-fledged communications software suite that covers all bases.
Since the voice communications of most UCaaS platforms are VoIP-based, you should be able to benefit from a powerful VoIP phone system to handle your business’ external voice calling and call routing, alongside the internal collaboration features brought to the table by your UCaaS service’s other facilities like business instant messaging and video communications.
Whether you’re communicating internally within teams or externally with customers and clients, though, the added modes of communication supplied by unified communications suites go a long way towards eliminating miscommunication and keeping everyone on the same page: moving confidently towards shared goals.
The Difference Between VoIP and UCaaS
External Vs Internal Communications and Collaboration
Though you should benefit from all of VoIP’s advantages with a unified communications service, not all VoIP services are created equal and even UCaaS solutions that provide excellent tools for internal communication and collaboration are not guaranteed to offer the granularity and control your business needs for its phone system.
If yours is a large business, with multiple departments within multiple locations and further substructures, then it’s essential that your business phone system can be configured to reflect such corporate structure. Without advanced business phone system features and options, then, a unified communications solution may not, on its own, be able to fulfil all of the needs such large corporations have for their phone system.
In employing a UCaaS solution, you run the risk of using a service that provides lots of good tools without providing any great ones. Dedicated providers who do one thing well, or began by perfecting one aspect before moving on (like Yay.com with our VoIP phone system), are more likely to offer a best-in-class solution to one particular problem. Therefore, it is often still necessary for businesses with particular requirements to combine various third party services, despite the existence of unified communications solutions.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the perfect unified communications solution for your business doesn’t - or won’t - exist. Forward-thinking VoIP providers are working towards offering their own unified communications solutions with internal collaboration features for your internal teams, including file sharing and business instant messaging with enterprise-grade security. This means that products are being built right now that can deliver the kind of powerful, configurable business phone system that you need while also offering polished, new tools for internal collaboration amongst teams.
As always, there will be pros and cons to the offering of each provider as they measure up to the needs of your business. Some platforms will offer better internal communication and collaboration tools in the vein of unified communications. Others will excel with their business phone system capabilities.
If your needs when it comes to business communications are voice-first, then you’ll want to be sure that the business phone system capabilities from any UCaaS provider you’re considering is strong enough to meet your requirements, just as you would if you were comparing VoIP providers.
CRM & Productivity Suite Integrations
As should now be clear, and despite the ‘single-pane-of-glass’ promise discussed above, no single piece of software can do everything. That’s why the capability for cross-platform integration is so important - no matter what provider you choose for your business communications.
If you’re a sales firm that relies on a CRM like Hubspot or Pipedrive to keep on top of your prospects, you need a business phone system that can integrate tightly with these solutions.
You may also need integration with productivity suites like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. This is one reason why so many businesses are using Microsoft Teams for their business communications despite its limitations as a phone system; it blends seamlessly with Microsoft Office, Onedrive and Outlook, meaning it’s capable of bringing a level of ease to staff collaboration that providers without their own productivity suite can find difficult to compete with.
The Best of Both Worlds
To pair the best business phone system with the best internal collaboration tools for your corporation, you’ll want to look for a solution that aims itself more accurately at meeting the specific needs of your business.
If you’re a company that does a lot of its business over the phone, you’ll want to go for a solution with a proven track record of having a capable VoIP phone system that can scale. If your business instead is driven by great ideas, generated internally and then seamlessly propagated throughout your company, then collaborative tools for your internal teams are of vital importance.
Ideally, of course, you’ll want a solution that can do both. Since the perfect one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to exist, however, you’ll also want your multi-skilled solution to be able to integrate with the third-party services you rely on to do business.
Here at Yay.com, we offer all the capabilities of an advanced business phone system, pairing the kind of granular configurations and administrative control required by the largest corporations with an intuitive, elegant graphical control panel accessible to even non-technical staff at the smallest of startups. With us, you’ll find it easy to keep connected with your external partners, clients and investors while giving them the caller experience they deserve.
We also offer video calling to and from hardware devices like IP video intercoms and IP desk phones, along with instant messaging for businesses. This means we’ve got all the tools you need to keep your teams communicating and collaborating effectively, whether they’re working from home or from offices around the world.
Better still, we integrate with a whole host of CRMs, meaning we bridge the gap with third-party services in a way that all modern businesses need.
Still, we understand that different businesses have different needs. If your staff are used to using Microsoft Teams, for example, as a solution for internal collaboration, but you’re struggling to build the phone system you require, Yay.com’s Microsoft Teams Direct Routing integration is here to help.
With our Direct Routing integration, you’ll be replacing Microsoft Phone System in the back end with our leading business phone system. The back end is all that changes, though, meaning your IT admin will be able to build the perfect phone system for your enterprise, with no limitations, while your staff don’t even have to know anything has changed. They’ll continue to see and use the same Microsoft Teams GUI they’re used to.
You can get started with a free VoIP trial of our services for fourteen days. If you’re interested in further information on our Microsoft Teams Direct Routing integration, call us to find out more or have our five-star support team integrate you with Yay.com.