What is Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) Management?

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) refers to cloud-based communications solutions that deliver multiple types of digital communications services in one unified system. UCaaS solutions typically include voice (VoIP) phone calls, instant messaging, web conferencing, and virtual presence detection tools – packaging them all in one technology platform or software application. UCaaS solutions enable collaboration and productivity for corporate workforces and are particularly helpful for remote workers and digital interactions. These services will be vital into 2024 and beyond, which is why reviewing our 2024 IT Trends and Savings Recommendations is important to ensure you identify all cost saving opportunities.

The UCaaS provider delivers multi-channel communications services from a common software platform and licenses the application for a monthly, recurring, subscription charge. Sample services include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, 8×8, and Webex by Cisco to name just a few.

Learn more about UCaaS Management with Tangoe’s Cloud Expense Management (CEM) solution, Tangoe One Cloud for UCaaS.

The most common problems with UCaaS solutions are corporate overspending due to having too many UCaaS tools in place and unreliable services disrupting phone calls and video conferences, which can be solved by utilizing a cloud services management tool like Tangoe One Cloud. A cloud report showed that most companies have 11 UCaaS solutions, and these common challenges help explain why only 39% of UCaaS investments have fully delivered on anticipated benefits.

Overspending due to redundant applications

The problems of Shadow IT and the 2020 pandemic have resulted in companies owning a menagerie of collaboration applications, many of which are duplicative tools generating wasteful spending. Now, CIOs, CTOs, and other leaders seek to make hybrid and remote work models sustainable, consolidating redundant applications and using economies of scale to negotiate favorable terms at reduced costs. Standardization exercises are necessary as these leaders rationalize their communications strategy across one consolidated toolset.

SaaS management solutions are the answer for this, even for the providers of the software. Check out how Tangoe cut its cloud costs with its own solution. Tangoe’s CIO discovered each department was still using different video collaboration platforms, even after the company had standardized their communications on Microsoft Teams. This led to savings of $347K in SaaS costs.

Unreliable UCaaS services disrupting calls and video collaboration

UCaaS solutions and their voice and video conferencing applications are known as bandwidth-hungry tools that can take a toll on corporate network resources. In order to deliver perfect user experiences, the network supporting UCaaS must be high performing, putting the right bandwidth resources in the right place at the right time. Jitter, latency, and packet loss can impact call quality. Adding to this problem is the inherently unpredictable performance of the public internet. Many remote workers are using unreliable networks to power their UCaaS applications.

Telecom audits can help with UCaaS performance problems. Technology consultants can work to evaluate the network(s) supporting your communications services — whether it’s your own corporate network, your UCaaS provider’s network, or the public internet or a mix of these. Telecom audits help optimize both performance and cost, offering professionals trained in leveraging advanced technologies like SD-WAN and SIP Trunking services to ensure cloud application performance meets user expectations, workforce productivity remains high, and business continuity is protected.

Tangoe One Cloud for UCaaS is a Cloud Expense Management (CEM) platform, also accurately referred to as a Cloud Cost Management (CCM) platform, that can help identify duplicate UCaaS solutions and maximize the value of your communication investments with granular insights into application usage and call detail records. It combines advanced application usage reporting and analytics with financial management automation to help enterprises better understand the total cost of ownership for all their UCaaS services. Better still, it takes insights across all your UCaaS and other SaaS applications and aggregates it into one platform, so clients can simplify, manage and optimize their expenses, applications, and license usage all in one place.

In addition to our streamlined expense management and invoice processing tools, Tangoe offers features that will pinpoint what communication services employees are using and identify if they are adhering to corporate standards and company policies.

A UCaaS management solution like Tangoe One Cloud can help enterprises gain visibility and control over their growing software costs and identify Shadow IT and usage spikes across cost centers, locations and geographies. It also allows you to allocate or chargeback UCaaS costs to the appropriate business unit with efficiency and accuracy. Automated tools also highlight billing mistakes, ensuring invoices align with contract terms and service utilization. Bill pay services are also available. As with any other cloud services, utilizing a software solution to manage UCaaS provides comprehensive insights via rich data and analytics for better financial, compliance, resource allocation and productivity outcomes.

If and when you need to better understand the performance of your communications services, the Tangoe Advisory Services provide 60 technology consultants who can evaluate UCaaS networks and the reliability of them, bringing forward recommendations on how to improve call quality while lowering costs. Learn more about UCaaS consultants and Tangoe Advisory Services.

Key features of Tangoe One Cloud for UCaaS include:

Advanced Usage Reporting & Analytics: provide cost management, traffic monitoring, trend tracking, fraud, abuse, misuse identification and more. UCaaS Utilization and traffic monitoring reports identify the following:

  • performance and productivity for Call Centers, Customer Service, and Help Desk
  • specific location costs,
  • high-volume, peak timeframes, and
  • call frequency and duration 24/7.

This ensures you are allocating the right resources within your organization, making the right hiring decisions and driving workforce productivity.

Trend Monitoring and Analysis: UCaaS Trend Monitoring helps track and reign in UCaaS costs by automatically allocating and charging back costs to the right department / cost center. As automation drives accuracy and process efficiency, you’ll be able to budget and forecast with confidence, and eliminate late fees so that as you license subscriptions grow, the ROI on your UCaaS investments can too.

Compliance and Security Reporting: With Tangoe’s UCaaS Exception Reporting, you can tighten compliance across your organization and mitigate the risk of toll fraud, abuse and misuse. With access to millions of call traffic records, cost-center managers can identify call durations, frequency, and timing, as well as any calls placed during or after business hours, and/or calls placed to blacklisted locations/ countries. This helps strengthen compliance and regulatory protocols and identify policy abuses.

Emergency Management Data: Emergency Management Usage Data notifies managers that an emergency call was placed with the appropriate contact information and provides records needed to be well equipped to respond to legal and/or regulatory inquiries to reinforce workplace safety.

Invoice Management: and automated processing offer centralized and scalable billing.

Accurate Cost Allocations: and chargebacks that integrate seamlessly with your business systems and tie back to your subscriber data.

Cost Analysis, Rate Plan and Pricing Validation: identifies all billed UCaaS resources, normalizes and consolidates the data in one central location.

License Management: by service provider and contract identifies usage discrepancies and validates charges. UCaaS Vendor License Usage Management allows clients to view licenses purchased and costs per license per user across their entire organization in order to determine consumption, utilization and reassess needs. With this feature, you’re able to validate charges to contract, view capacity license usage (used vs unused) with charges broken out by assigned users and category level at the user level.

When you pair Tangoe’s UCaaS solution with our Tangoe One Cloud for SaaS solution, you also get:

  • Wide Shadow IT Visibility: Tangoe offers the highest number of direct SaaS integrations in the industry and uses five different ways to uncover sanctioned and unsanctioned apps
  • Smartest SaaS & Security Insights: No one comes close to Tangoe’s deep user analytics for Microsoft 365 — plus threat intelligence helps you gauge the security risk of unsanctioned apps
  • Hyper-Automated SaaS License Management: Industry-leading automation allocates and reallocates SaaS licenses using customizable no-code playbooks with 1,000 automated actions — administrators can get feedback on the right apps for each employee based on department and role and get them set up quickly and easily
  • 30% Lower Costs on Your SaaS Applications: Recommended SaaS vendors offering cost-saving alternatives, helping consolidate redundant apps with a track record of slashing costs by at least 30%
  • SaaS Expense Management Services: Tangoe monitors your SaaS spending against your budget, handling your invoices, contract renewals, procurement, financial reports, and bill pay
  • SaaS Contract Management Services: With Renewal Management, you get notified as soon as a contract is up with the benchmark data you need to negotiate rates and terms based on the contextual intelligence of your historical and previous usage data with granular insight into users, usage habits and usage frequency.
  • Savings that Go Beyond Just SaaS: When you’re ready to expand, Tangoe optimizes your entire tech landscape, stretching savings further with IaaS, telecom, and mobile expense management

UCaaS Cost Savings: With end-to-end expense and invoice management, you gain financial visibility and control from a single source of truth. Tangoe provides a detailed yet holistic view of all UCaaS costs and usage with actionable analytics and suggestions for cost cutting and tighter operational management.

Productivity Gains in Managing UCaaS Vendors, Licenses, Invoices, and Costs: Tangoe One Cloud for UCaaS streamlines and centralizes all UCaaS invoices, automates all invoice approvals and payment and generates accounts payable/general ledger files so processing and payments work in sync with your corporate Finanancial systems.

The solution saves you time by:

  • leveraging automation to identify all billed UCaaS services,
  • normalizing data from multiple providers,
  • consolidating information into one centralized database,
  • categorizing it accordingly, and
  • then linking costs, spending reports, and invoices to the appropriate projects, departments, and employees for accurate cost allocations and reports tailor made for each stakeholder

With usage, capacity, and cost management data in one place, it’s easier to optimize costs, budget and forecast. With UCaaS data in one platform, the solution identifies wasteful spending and low employee adoption rates, showing who uses and does not use UCaaS service(s). It also lets you know if employees are using UCaaS services in a responsible manner by monitoring international calls. It also helps you eliminate waste and reallocate unused resources, downgrading licenses and/or deactivating user accounts in the event you may have duplicate licenses that offer the same features.

Improved Compliance, Security, and Governance: Call detail records and usage data can strengthen compliance and security with deeper insight into how communications tools are used and visibility into Shadow IT applications, including the security risk levels of each unsanctioned software in use.