When it comes to collaboration tools for your organization, you might be on the fence: Unified Communications (UC) or Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

While they both have their pros and cons and can provide an upgrade to your system, knowing which is the best one for your industry and individual organization is essential. This will help ensure you’re selecting the system that best fits your unique needs as well as your budget. Below, we’ve quickly reviewed the differences between UC and UCaaS and will provide you with some more details on which system may best suit you.

Unified Communications vs. Unified Communications as a Service

Unified Communications, or UC, is the use of communication and collaboration tools, including instant messaging, voice calling, conferencing, email, and more. This solution is in-house, such as a company’s private data center, which means it requires a higher level of investment, in terms of hardware, software, maintenance, and IT resources, compared to UCaaS.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), however, is the outsourcing of the various communication tools to a third-party provider. The services are delivered through the cloud, which lowers the requirements for technology and initial investment. However, while this solution is flexible, there are trade-offs; those with UCaaS tend to have less control over their data and access to customizable options.


Stuck between UC and UCaaS? Our team can help. Start the conversation here.


UC or UCaaS: Which Is Right for Your Industry?

The differences in UC and UCaaS mean that some of the benefits may serve some industries better than others. However, it is important to note that simply because it is a more common solution for your industry, it does not mean it is the best option for your company. Every business and agency has unique needs, and those must be accounted for. Below, we run through some information that can help you make your decision.


Communication is essential in healthcare. Organizations within this industry need solutions that track data, secure patient information, and scale as the company does.

Unified communications offer healthcare organizations:

  • Greater control over data and compliance to meet industry regulations
  • Customization
  • Long-term cost savings, especially for larger companies
  • The reliability necessary for improved emergency response and overall communication between departments

On the other hand, UCaaS delivers:

  • Lower upfront costs, which can be ideal for smaller companies
  • Scalability
  • Reduced need for an IT staff
  • Access to the latest technologies, including those needed for remote consultations


Communications solutions allow finance companies to optimize performance, offer better customer experiences, and manage risk.

UC delivers:

  • Data security for sensitive and confidential client information
  • Better control over technology maintenance and costs
  • Improved client trust

UCaaS can benefit financial organizations by:

  • Offering quick onboarding solutions
  • Delivering improved security solutions, even for remote and hybrid teams
  • Reducing the IT burden


Manufacturing is complex, so it’s no surprise that the industry has complex communication needs too. By utilizing the right solutions, companies can harness improved operations and efficiency while also elevating their security strategies.

In particular, unified communications can be a good option for those in manufacturing as it:

  • Can be directly integrated into their existing communications infrastructure
  • Provides localized customization
  • Delivers better control over data, production processes, IP, and compliance requirements

UCaaS brings other benefits to the table:

  • Lower operational overhead
  • Frees up IT for other uses within the business
  • Can be used on a variety of communications platforms and devices


The customer experience is everything in the hospitality industry, and utilizing the right communications solutions can help give companies an edge over their competition. Both systems can assist with real-time communication, improving remote and hybrid work, and more.

UC allows hospitality companies to:

  • Utilize omni-channel solutions
  • Personalize the guest experience and offer enhanced guest services
  • Improve meeting and event management

UCaaS, however, can assist with:

  • The scalability required to meet seasonal demand
  • Remote services
  • Developing a centralized reservation system that can be accessed from a variety of devices

SLED and Higher Ed

From emergency notification systems to collaboration tools, SLED agencies and higher education institutions rely on communication to complete their tasks, communicate with their community, and ensure safety. Schools, in particular, can also elevate the learning experience, social interaction, and engagement among teachers and students.

SLED agencies who opt for UC can benefit from:

  • Additional communication services that support teachers, teams, and staff
  • Customization solutions that meet the unique needs of government agencies and schools, including enhanced emergency response tools
  • Better control over sensitive government data

Those who choose UCaaS can experience:

  • Cost-effective solutions, which is beneficial for agencies and schools on a tight budget
  • Remote learning support and remote work tools
  • Scalability for changing community demands and populations

Work With CRI To Find the Best UC or UCaaS System for Your Organization

Finding the best communication solution for your organization may not be clear-cut, especially if your organization has unique IT and collaboration needs. CRI, however, can be your trusted advisor to help you identify the best solution for your team and communication requirements. We can work with you to determine your needs, current communication gaps, wants, budget, and more to answer the question “UC or UCaaS?” once and for all.


Let us help you find the best system for your needs. Book a call with us to get started.