South African businesses looking to rapidly modernise their communications environment and boost collaboration can benefit from implementing unified communications & collaboration as a service (UCaaS) platforms. Such solutions turn communications into a secure, scalable, and affordable cloud-based offering.

That’s according to Hettie Botha, business unit manager: connectivity and voice at Nashua Kopano. She says that many businesses are still running legacy telecom architectures and siloed communications environments that are a poor fit for today’s hybrid workplace.

UCaaS solutions close the gaps in today’s fragmented technology and communications environment, making it easier for employees to collaborate with colleagues no matter where they are. UCaaS makes enterprise-class unified comms easier to implement as well as simple and more affordable to run.

Says Botha: “Unified communications brings a wide range of collaboration tools together in a single platform. Businesses save time and money by managing only one platform instead of disparate systems. But the real benefit lies in the productivity gains and enhanced collaboration it offers.

“Employees can stay connected with all the tools they need to do their job, without switching between devices, applications, and services. Whether they are remote or on-prem, whether they are using PCs or mobile devices, or whether they are on a cellular, home or office network, they get a consistent experience.”

Supporting more flexible working models

Today’s unified comms solutions encompass traditional telephone features such as voicemail, call queuing, call routing and call recording; collaboration tools such as instant messaging, presence information, file sharing, and audio or video conferencing; and integration with enterprise systems such as CRM and ERP.

Botha says: “This sort of functionality is essential in a world that is moving towards more flexible working models. For example, a robust platform should allow remote workers to make and receive calls, access voicemail, and collaborate with colleagues from their mobile devices, all recorded in compliance with POPIA.

“Features such as interactive voice response (IVR) and auto attendant enable companies to run a slick contact centre environment. Integrations with applications such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Salesforce allow employees to communicate from within the tools they use to do their work.

“UC solutions help address siloed communication in businesses. They allow employees to seamlessly manage projects and processes in a consistent way – streamlining workflows, supporting omnichannel customer experience and ensuring teams stay aligned wherever they are.”

UCaaS makes an integrated, enterprise-class unified comms solution more accessible, says Botha. A cloud-hosted solution eliminates the need for expensive hardware and maintenance costs. It is also more scalable and flexible, making it easy for companies to add more users as their headcount and geographical footprint grows.

Another benefit is that UCaaS is future-proof, evolving along with the latest developments in the market. It makes it easy for companies to embrace innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) assistants that transcribe calls or schedule meetings or noise suppression features that block out unwanted background noises.

Says Botha: “Unified communications is a foundational technology for any organisation that wants to embrace digital transformation. It’s key to delivering the experiences today’s customers and employees expect, streamlining collaboration and supporting new working models.