There are right ways and wrong ways to use Unified Communications (UC). The vast majority of companies and employees underutilize their UC platform in terms of how it can increase productivity. UC platforms such as ShoreTel, RingCentral and 8x8 are designed to optimize business processes. Do you really feel more efficient since you installed that application on your computer or mobile device? To truly get your money’s worth out of your communications platform, and experience all the benefits that were promised pre-sale, you need some pointers on how to use UC to work smarter, work faster, and work together. The ideas below are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to functionality; they are written primarily to spark your creativity in bringing out the best in your UC platform.
Phone System Education
Cloud Phones, On-prem, Hybrid
Unified Communications has evolved rapidly over the last 15 years, redefined again and again. Initially if voicemail was received in your email inbox and the system included a basic communicator client it was considered UC, but as technology evolved so did this definition. This slow creep of features developed into a requirement for web/video collaboration, Instant Message, Fax, SMS, Calendar integration and much more. The result is a confusing mess of different clients and tools inhibiting adoption and creating a black hole of communication. Intuitive integrations to your core tools are critical to gaining adoption and seeing value from a UC product set.
Cloud Phone systems, also known as Hosted Phone Systems, are the choice solution of enterprises large and small with 70% having made the move or planning to make the move per Information Week. The reasons for this vary dramatically based on the specific business and sector they belong to. Cost savings and productivity top the list.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years you have watched the evolution of SMS text messaging from the days of pagers to iMessage and GIFs. The SMS world has brought smiley faces, acronyms, and text speak into our world at a rapid pace. Simple, straightforward, fun, and aimed almost exclusively at personal relationships. As users across the globe have adopted SMS, our businesses have fallen behind, unable to grasp how to implement, control, or even understand the scope of how to position it for business use.
Communications is going through an unpredictable evolution. Ten years ago our businesses primarily communicated via a traditional desk phone and email. Today we use our cell phones and desktops to utilize SMS, LinkedIn, chat clients like Slack, face to face video, Facebook, Twitter, Email and much more to communicate with co-workers, family and clients.
If you have ever reviewed a phone bill you know it is written in a language that resembles Elvish rather than English. As the world transitions to phone systems offered as a service in the cloud, these bills and the corresponding pricing models will only become more complex and convoluted. As we evaluate any cloud solution, we are considering committing to paying monthly for a term typically one to three years in length. Small misunderstandings or oversights on pricing can have drastic effects on the long term cost of the solution.
More and more companies are deploying UC, and most hated the process of getting there. They enjoy the end result of having a cloud-managed IP phone system; they like the flexibility of adding and removing user features on the fly, but I dare you to ask them what the deployment was like. How did the migration go from an on-premises UC solution to cloud? Was the cut over smooth as butter? Did the vendor communication make you feel butterflies and rainbows deep inside? Were the users singing your praises after the incredible training experience? Hell no!
Warning: Content is not for the easily offended. Enjoy!