Unified Communications – The age of the 9-5 desktop worker is dead
Today’s professional workforce is tech savvy, active, mobile, remote, on the move, multi-tasking with multiple devices and highly reachable so as a business you need to ask yourself – “what does my business need to make the most of my workforce?”
So how do you give your workforce the ability to communicate and collaborate powerfully? You need a Unified Communication solution that can really drive business productivity, enhance security and guarantee a return on investment whilst at the same time integrate phones, voicemails, email, mobile, Instant Messaging, Video conferencing and where needed, full call centre capabilities.
Choosing a UC solution is an investment for the future and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are just some of the things I believe you need to consider when ensuring that you make the right choice, first time:
Telecoms cost reductions
A UC solution should save you money on telecoms costs, particularly where you have a mobile workforce travelling at home and abroad. When looking at any new system, look at ways to reduce telecoms costs but also look at the administration overheads making sure that any cost savings are not cancelled out by onerous administration costs.
Make sure that any solution you choose is scalable – it needs to grow in line with your business and that means contraction as well as expansion. This allows you to budget for the solution you want NOW and scale it in line with your business needs.
Professionals connected to their company communications via smart phones spend 240 more working hours per year than those non-connected. That’s 30 more business days added to employee productivity! Make sure that smart connectivity plays an integral part of your communications plan. Specifically look at Application and Smart Phone Integration – how many integrated applications does the solution support?
Total system approach
Investing in a UC solution is not just about your phone system, it’s about taking a holistic view of your entire IT infrastructure and that includes the ‘plumbing’ to support your voice, data and multimedia traffic. Make sure that your infrastructure is UC ready and that involves choosing a technology partner that has the technical capability and knowledge to review and assess it competently.
Assess administration overheads
Choose a solution that will allow you to manage the UC system internally, without having to contract in expensive engineering time to make routine adds, moves or changes. This will dramatically slash administration overheads and deliver swift return on investment. Also look at whether your chosen solution offers secure a remote support option, which can lead to a faster response time and lower costs.
Don’t neglect disaster recovery
Ensure that the UC solution always where possible integrates with your DR Recovery plan and will be backed-up, secure and replaceable
Ask to speak to reference customers
There’s no better way to get a feel for a solution than by talking to customers and understanding how they are using the system. Prepare your questions carefully and ask them for a true picture of the solution, warts and all.
MJ Flood Technology is an authorised reseller for ShoreTel unified communications solutions. Unsurprisingly, we believe that ShoreTel has one of the best solutions on the market today with an excellent balance of feature-rich functionality and cost.
But there’s nothing like seeing the solution for yourself. If you’re looking to implement a UC solution in the near future, why not contact us and we can set up a demonstration for you. You can see first-hand the many business benefits this solution will bring to your company.
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