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What are the benefits of UC in a cloud-based office suite?

Adopting the UC tools within a cloud-based office suite may be the most beneficial option if users are already comfortable with the suite's features.

When IT decision-makers start their journey towards investing in unified communications, several important choices must be made. Some decisions are interrelated, such as staying on premises or going to the cloud and choosing to stick with incumbent vendors or taking a clean-slate approach. The direction an organization takes with one decision will affect the choices in another.

One choice with intriguing possibilities is whether to go all in one with a cloud-based office suite through a single partner or support UC with a mix of different vendors.

For organizations that choose to get UC directly from a cloud-based office suite, the most common option is to build off of Microsoft's Office 365 platform. If both users and IT are highly comfortable with Microsoft, using Microsoft Teams -- which is included in Office 365 -- to handle UC is the path of least resistance. The integrations will be seamless, and users will already have familiarity with the tools and UI.

The same principle applies to Google and G Suite: Take advantage of UC capabilities offered in the cloud-based office suite used for everyday workflows. Not only is this the easiest path to UC, but it's likely the fastest. Using the included UC offering can also be economical since many competing UC offerings look to partner with foundational productivity platforms.

The benefits may well be attractive, but there's a reason why we have so many UC offerings to choose from. UC's value proposition is strong because it integrates diverse applications into a singular UX. Making a unified experience looks easy but requires a lot of underlying complexity. In reality, no single vendor excels in all areas of communications.

Historically, for example, Microsoft didn't have native voice capability and partnered with PBX vendors. Microsoft Teams now has a phone system that offers cloud-based calling and Direct Routing. An all-in-one approach has its advantages, but in most cases, there will be some compromise in performance. You need to carefully weigh the tradeoffs for each core application against alternatives from other vendors.

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