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ICaaS: What It Is and Why It Matters


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icaas Integrated communications as a service (ICaaS) – just another internet-age buzzword?

It’s certainly true that the corporate IT marketplace is saturated with nonsensical phraseology. And we don’t want to add to the confusion with one more self-serving term.

But the RingCentral team has been working feverishly to transform RingCentral Office from “just” a business phone system into something more, well, integrated. We think ICaaS captures the RingCentral value proposition (there’s some corporate-speak for you) pretty well.

Just in the last 18 months, RingCentral Office has added free, unlimited text messaging with Business SMS, unlimited audio conferencing and video conferencing for as many as 50 participants. Those big-ticket features come on top of various smaller improvements, like better VoIP calling in the RingCentral mobile app, more reliable faxing, bulk account management and lots more.

Certainly, all some people want from a phone system is for it to act as a phone system (i.e., no extra features or functionality). Particularly in the enterprise space, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a common way of thinking.

Yet enterprise IT, like the rest of the economy, is undergoing some major structural shifts. Specifically, IT priorities are increasingly being driven from the bottom up (rather than the top down, as was the case for decades). Individual employees, accustomed in their personal lives to texting, sharing files stored in the cloud and always-on mobility, are demanding these features from the tech they use at work.

While there are a bevy of connectivity services available to the enterprise, integrating these products across platforms and often-distributed workforces is proving to be a real challenge for IT departments. That’s where ICaaS comes in.

As IDC writes in a whitepaper on the ICaaS movement, integrated communications products “are device, location, and network agnostic and enable employees to communicate and collaborate internally and externally with customers, partners, suppliers, and others wherever, whenever, and on any device they want.”

Plus, ICaaS frees companies from being tethered to all-inclusive unified solutions providers. RingCentral Office, for example, works seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Box, and select other cloud services.

ICaaS is, ultimately, easier for IT to manage and more user-friendly than legacy communications offerings. It’s often significantly less expensive, as well.

The real question may be, instead of “why ICaaS?”, “why not ICaaS?”

Learn more about ICaaS’ business benefits in IDC’s free whitepaper!

Originally published Jul 09, 2014, updated Aug 07, 2020

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