UCaaS Hardphones and Softphones – Do You Need Both?

UCaaS or Unified Communications as-a-service has gone from alternative technology to the go-to option for businesses looking to reduce costs and enjoy smarter and easier ways to collaborate. When evaluating enterprise communication options, it’s helpful to start with the company’s current phone system and review its capabilities and overall satisfaction, compared costs, and long-term goals. Teams should study how employees are using the system, identify pain points, determine scalability, and map out what their feature ‘wishlist’ might be. Companies should also evaluate collaboration goals, mobility needs, and look at BYOD policies. 

Replacement desk phone or mobile application?

For those who see mobility as a primary driver to business success, you’re not alone. Mobile technology has re-invented the way we connect, live, and work. Mobile usage is at an all-time high. Most research suggests that users spend just as much time on mobile devices as they do in front of computers. Baby boomers are on smartphones five hours a day, which is almost the same as millennials who, on average, spend five-and-a-half hours per day on mobile devices. (Source: Forbes). In this environment, employees require enterprise business tools to be highly intuitive and mobile-first – allowing them to get work done whenever and from wherever they feel most productive. In this new digital world, many business leaders are forgoing conventional UC desk phones, also known as hardphones, opting for vendors and technology partners that specialize in softphones. So, what’s the difference and what’s best for your business? 

While headphones generally resemble traditional desk phones, softphones are a mobile application that enables users to place calls using internet-connected devices. Unlike desk phones that run over an IP network, softphones work by having users download UC-based software on smartphones, computers, laptops, or tablets. From there, users can use the device’s microphone, camera, speakers, and the app’s graphical interface to place calls and interact with the UC system.

Softphone nuts and bolts

It’s also important to remember that softphones do much more than forwarding office calls. They are sophisticated software applications that enable users to take their office phones with them. UCaaS softphones allow users to place voice or video calls with a click of a button, manage calls and presence options, search for contacts, and capture and record audio during calls. Softphones also bring a level of consistency and control to IT departments, helping companies maintain regulatory compliance and enforce other corporate policies to keep communications secure. Let’s review the other top benefits of softphones.

  • Cost-effective and streamlined management – One of the biggest benefits of mobile softphone apps, is keeping costs down. Because no hardware is needed, the technology is available at a fraction of the cost of ‘desk phone-only’ UC systems or conventional business phone systems. Also, the UCaaS provider is generally responsible for ongoing maintenance of the application, freeing up internal IT teams for other critical network and IT responsibilities.
  • One number – Instead of changing phone numbers every time an employee moves desks or having employees give out their personal cell phone number, a softphone phone number stays with the user, delivering greater convenience and enhanced productivity.
  • Fast installation – Depending on the size of the organization, it can sometimes take weeks or months to configure and install desk phones individually. Softphone applications, on the other hand, are downloaded and installed on each user’s device, which can be done by individuals. The plug-and-play functionality means that users are up and running very quickly.
  • Integration possibilities – By moving to a cloud-based UC platform, organizations can integrate their business phone system with other enterprise mobility apps using APIs. That might include tying together a cloud softphone application with Salesforce mobile apps, making it possible to set up automation to save customer call recordings directly to contact records in a CRM, for instance.

Evaluate your options

Whether you’re a large enterprise, SMB, or startup, the business benefits of a UCaaS solution make it a popular and intelligent choice for companies looking to stay highly mobile and highly competitive. As organizations consider options for new phone systems, it’s critical to look at the pros and cons of adopting a ‘desk phone-only’ UCaaS system, softphone-only, or platforms with both capabilities. For many, UCaaS softphones are a cost-effective option for delivering must-have features for collaboration while maximizing user productivity in the office and on the go.

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