Business today moves so fast, it’s not enough to operate efficiently. Companies need to be agile and able to satisfy customer demands and marketplace shifts if they’re going to remain competitive. With the advent of products “as-a-service,” organizations can take advantage of a range of tools to aid innovation cost-effectively.

XaaS, or Everything as a Service, is the term used to describe the IT products and services now available to businesses, delivered over the Internet on a subscription basis. One of those is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), which uses the cloud to enable a variety of communications and collaboration applications. Similar solutions include Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Why does the C-suite like XaaS? CIOs can increase computing power and functionality without the costs traditionally involved in upgrading software and on-site hardware. CFOs like XaaS because it reduces their IT infrastructure’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). But CEOs and CMOs like it, too, because it provides the entire organization with access to the newest technologies.

3 Ways UCaaS Improves Business Agility

In a recent Deloitte survey of 1,170 IT and line-of-business professionals from large U.S. companies, respondents said they value “as-a-service” products more for their impact on innovation and agility than the effect on operational efficiency. Almost two-thirds (61 percent) reported that XaaS accelerates innovation. 

Workplace productivity. UCaaS, in particular, enables businesses to become more agile because employees can communicate more effectively. In the 2017 Workplace Productivity and Communications Technology Report, respondents rated the efficiency of various modes of workplace communications tools. Overall, the efficiency ratings for each mode averaged only 79 percent.

The reason for the gap? Today’s workplace communications are a jumble of devices, inefficiently connected and often inappropriately used. For instance, email is frequently employed for a “chat” with a long thread of short messages. With UCaaS, employees stay in touch using the most appropriate communications channel – email, text, web chat, phone or video – on a variety of devices because everything is unified and seamless. It’s easy for them to start a conversation in one channel and move it to another as the conversation changes. 

Innovation. The oil in the wheels of innovation is strong communication. When customer demands change or the marketplace shifts, your organization needs to respond quickly. With UCaaS providing audio, web and video conferencing along with document sharing, your teams can brainstorm and problem-solve no matter where they’re located. Three-quarters of the Deloitte study’s respondents reported that XaaS enables them to “rapidly design, develop and deploy new products/services and reinvent business processes.”

Leveling the playing field. UCaaS and other XaaS applications enable businesses to access the newest technologies without spending a lot of money on software and hardware. Paying “as you go” means even the smallest firms can take advantage of powerful technology, scaling up or down as needed; having little to no IT staff no longer limits them. 

In fact, Nicholas Bloom and Nicola Pierri argue in the Harvard Business Review that using the cloud has “democratized computing,” giving smaller firms a leg up. They report that companies with less than 25 employees use the cloud at a much higher rate (10-15 percent) than businesses with more than 500 employees (5-10 percent). 

To remain competitive and agile, your organization needs cloud communications tools that support innovation. UCaaS and other XaaS services give you that power at a lower cost, when and how you need it. Whether it’s redesigning a product on the fly, using artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things or implementing predictive analytics, accessing solutions via the cloud is the most cost-effective and efficient way of putting your resources to use.

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