The benefits of software as a service (also known as SaaS: leasing software vs. outright purchase) is a hot trend that started way back in 2016. With wider adoption of cloud-based infrastructure, even computer hardware has been meeting the challenge, offering devices devoid of hard drives and dependent on an open-source software model. Smart business owners are leveraging this trend to reduce costs and stimulate cash flow while streamlining their day-to-day operations. The upshots are enhanced flexibility, more robust IT security and a competitive edge that allows for growth, nimble adaptation to industry trends and increased productivity across the entire workforce.
Consumer driven trends, enterprise concerns
Consumer trends have driven demand for easier and more economical access to software for a range of purposes, and providers like Microsoft, Google and Apple are meeting the demand in spectacular fashion. In the past, productivity and design software was expensive to purchase and maintain for the average person or small business. Licensing the software was a necessary investment that would then require dedicated hardware and servers to run it. IT staff were tasked with performing regular updates, backups and to manage security and maintenance issues, but with global enterprise running lean and mean, this business model just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore.
Businesses and consumers alike are turning to SaaS options that include:
- Microsoft Office365: cloud storage, proprietary software access, small office networks
- Adobe Creative Cloud: professional design software
- Salesforce: leading CRM for sales-oriented enterprise
- Slack: connects workgroups, file sharing and productivity
- Dropbox: leading cloud storage service
- iCloud: cloud storage, calendars and proprietary software
- Google: cloud storage, shared calendars and office productivity software
- Microsoft Teams: audio and video over IP calling, unified communications
Depending on how you do business, each of these options has its advantages. Some offer free or single-license versions at the consumer level, but others are dedicated to enterprise, providing a range of truly astonishing features that can help you grow your company into a global concern.
Unified communications: how VoIP has changed the business landscape
One of the most important investments a business can make is in their communications hardware and software. Complex PBX systems could carry a price tag upwards of $20K or more. Add to that the cost of trunking several dedicated telephone lines and multiply by the number of workstations in the number of outlets – a sum that could easily run six figures if we’re talking about a large corporation with multiple locations or global concerns. The adoption of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology has literally transformed the way businesses communicate, reducing costs exponentially while adding features that delivered on promises of enhanced productivity, better connectivity and scalable flexibility. VoIP has become the ultimate game changer in the SaaS landscape, allowing businesses of all sizes to grow their bottom line in ways we may have never thought possible, even a decade ago. The sum total of this communications technology and all of its features is commonly known as unified communications.
With the ability to add telephone lines, create virtual numbers in any area code, monitor call volume and quality, centrally manage updates, upgrades and hardware inventory, plus the integration of vital CMS applications, video and audio conferencing, multi-platform integration and the consolidation of all forms of communication (text, email, voice, video), businesses today have a way to meet the growing demands of the global community. Being able to respond quickly is often the difference between landing a job and losing it to a competitor, and this is how it’s done – all at a fraction of the cost of purchasing, maintaining and managing a legacy PBX system. This, in a nutshell, is what unified communications can do for you.