Do you really need UCaaS when there’s Hosted PBX?

A deep (but not too deep) dive into two hosted communications technologies designed to help small and mid-sized businesses choose the best solution available. 

2020 changed business communications in fundamental ways. 

  1. A Gartner survey of corporate leaders found that 80% plan to allow employees to work remotely on at least one day of the week after widespread vaccination. Almost half (47%) will allow employees to work from home full-time. Similar survey questions by PwC and others point at similarly long-term shifts in where employees do their jobs.
  2. The consumer side has also seen seismic shifts in behavior and expectations. Everything from streaming media services, to Zoom, to social media use and grocery delivery services has grown dramatically. 

With more customers relying on the web to socialize and shop than ever before, many businesses are rethinking their communications infrastructure. UCaaS and Hosted PBX both respond to these challenges effectively.

Are UCaaS and Hosted PBX Similar?

Similar? Yes. 

Functionally equivalent? No.

Services like UCaaS, Hosted VoIP, and Hosted PBX, are a go-to choice for most businesses right now. That’s because they are hosted in the cloud and therefore easily accessible by any device, anywhere. 

This means that without set-up or hardware costs, UCaaS and Hosted PBX deliver some large benefits to your communications infrastructure:

  • Cloud-based: They do not depend on a physical office or on-premise equipment and are therefore ideal in a distributed work environment.
  • Scalable: Service usage can change month to month without disruption, allowing more control over your billing.*
  • Seamless updates: Cloud architecture allows vendors to update their software in the cloud seamlessly to deliver constant improvements of their offerings.
  • Integration with Customer-Centric Apps: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to customer-focused web apps integrate easily with Hosted services, and these forms of communication are becoming increasingly the norm. However, this is one area where you will find some difference and competition. Some Hosted PBX do not integrate with applications and will limit you to fairly conventional telephony. UCaaS typically defines integration as standard.

*Some vendors do try to lock you into contracts. Others like Convergence Solutions (that would be us) retain clients by delivering service and satisfaction.

In more basic terms, Hosted PBX and UCaaS will both deliver:

  • Predictable, low maintenance cost in the form of $ instead of IT resources
  • Well-maintained features development – though this depends on the vendor you choose
  • Unified communications infrastructure across United States with global reach
  • Adaptive infrastructure, so you can set up new employees or change office locations easily
  • Increase transparency and customer service by opening digital communications channels on your website for example

Are UCaaS and Hosted PBX Different?

You might have heard UCaaS mentioned as an “enterprise-class” solution. That is due to the features that are considered standard in UCaaS, as well as the price that vendors charge for these more cutting-edge services.

To keep things simple we’ll compare the most basic Hosted PBX plan with different options that you can find with UCaaS:

Basic Hosted PBX

  • Calls via Internet
  • Traditional call features like forwarding, groups, and Auto attendant, etc.

UCaaS

  • Web conferencing / call recording
  • Remote desktop
  • CRM & Web app integration

Price Difference

To give you an idea of what these additional features cost, at Convergence Solutions we charge $20 per head per month for the most basic, $23 for almost everything including advanced web conferencing and remote desktop, and $35 for web app integration. See our Hosted PBX price list for more details. 

Point is, “enterprise-class” is now a misnomer. Plenty of small and mid-sized companies will find UCaaS affordable. 

The question is, is the 75% price increase worth it for your business? 

In most cases the answer is really about whether you will leverage web apps with your communications infrastructure. If you have abstract, long-term plans to become more digital, then the answer is, “not right now.” The agility of hosted services ensures that you can always turn on more advanced features when you need them.

On the other hand, if you are currently implementing tools on your website/CRM, then you will need UCaaS in order to take your organization to the cutting edge of customer communications.

Barb Peck

I can’t say enough good things about Convergence!  Steve, Paul, Laura and the entire Convergence Solutions team make every effort to be friendly and helpful while taking care of our needs.  They are knowledgeable, patient, and kind.  The initial set up and implementation of our phone system several years ago was flawless, and they have continued to update and maintain as needed.  We’ve had our voice mail go down on a weekend, and they are always accessible.  I was leaving to go out of town recently and emailed a last minute change order.  I wasn’t clear with my request, and Paul tracked me down on my cell phone to clarify the instructions so he could put the change in place that day.  We are truly thankful to all of them!

Barb Peck
LifeBridge Church

Why Convergence Cloud

Unlimited Calling

The telecom industry is moving too slowly. Why nickle-and-dime you over minutes when it’s all just data?

Convergence Cloud delivers unlimited local or long-distance minutes. Every one of our plans are inclusive with no additional items costs.

Friendly Customer Support Based in Denver

As a Denver business, we are in the neighborhood to support you as much or as little as you need. If VoIP is new to you, our service representatives can take you through the process, so you know your communications will go uninterrupted.

The Most Cost-Effective Telcom in the Industry