You’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your communications solution, and you know that unified communications is a cost-effective way to access the latest technology with a subscription-based pay model. Perhaps you’re stuck there because the number of solutions available on the market and the range of features make it hard to narrow the choices and move toward a migration.
It’s important to do a full assessment of your communications requirements, your infrastructure, and your budget before you examine options, but once you start to consider unified communications solutions, there are five key elements that you’ll want to prioritize:
Ease of Use: Your unified communications solution should be usable and convenient with intuitive desktop, mobile, and web applications. It should be easy for not only managers to manipulate but also for end users to make permissible changes. Look for standard features such as real-time ordering, tracking, trouble tickets and billing for services, as well as simplified end-user and site-level tools for monitoring, reporting, and analytics. Be sure to begin with a demo to see how easy each solution is for the end user and the administrator of the system.
Scalability: If your enterprise has any element of seasonality or if you are subject to rapid growth, you’ll appreciate the scalability that comes with hosted unified communications. Discuss with your provider how wide the geographic area is that they serve, because you want to be sure all of your branch locations are serviceable, particularly if you don’t have the IT staff necessary to support branch unified communications.
Integration: When your solutions exist in silos, it’s much harder to introduce the streamlining and collaborative benefits that come with cloud solutions. Examine key integration opportunities, such as customer relationship management (CRM), email and calendars, making note of integrations with the scheduling and management of web meetings. Determine whether the unified communications solution will support mobile employees using voice assistants for hands-free connections.
Service: This is the factor that causes an enterprise to switch away from a particular unified communications provider, even if that provider is rated well in the other areas. Look for a provider that is offering software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). This is an indication that you’ll have excellent visibility and control all the way to the application management level.
Security: If you’re in finance or health care, your industry will largely dictate which unified communications tools will meet your needs. Find out in your initial conversations with providers which certifications they hold for compliance and bring a complete security feature checklist to these discussions. Your provider may have just the features you need to support your security policies but remember to be diligent because it’s still your data and your customers.
These considerations are just the beginning of the factors you’ll need to include in your unified communications selection process. Contact us at One Connect to learn more about best practices for a seamless transition to a unified communications upgrade.