Team messaging applications, starting with Slack, have made a huge impact on the direction of Unified Communications. Since Slack launched in August of 2013 most businesses have adopted or experimented with the use of the product or a similar product. The surprising thing about this trend is that it is almost entirely driven and inspired by users, not managers or IT wizards. This is good news for managers who are looking for a way to improve teamwork: people actually want to do this!
Unified Communications (UC) Defined. Finally. Gen-X vs Millennials + UC.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the divide between the Millennials and Gen X'ers. Millennials are often criticized for their tendency to be dreamers and Gen X'ers are said to be directionless and disaffected but got their jobs done regardless. I have been following this season of Survivor where a cast of unlikable characters attempt to outwit, outlast, and outplay in tribes - Millennials vs. Gen X'ers. The Gen X'ers fault the Millennials for receiving participation trophies and tout their own life-long hard work. The Millennials give each other nicknames, struggle to construct a shelter, and excel in physical challenges.
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. This has left many businesses struggling to keep the conversations going in the correct medium. The tools we deployed even 5 years ago are horribly out of date, meaning large swathes of your customer base are not connecting with your team, choosing a more modern competitor. This is clearly seen in companies like Amazon and ZOOM+ as they quickly gain market share, capturing their intended clients by embracing the new communications and technology shift. We must make this shift to meet our clients where they live, or risk losing the relationships we depend on.
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.
SIP isn’t a four letter word, but for many years it might as well have been for most of us trying to use it. The results of a SIP deployment could be messy: poor voice calls, issues with phone features, and dropped connections only scratch the tip of the iceberg. Despite this our clients have often insisted they wanted to deploy SIP to save money. Along the way we have learned some valuable lessons. There is a right and a wrong way to deploy SIP, and I am sorry to say there are good and bad reasons to deploy it, too.
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 cutover 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!
Did you know that according to the National Business Research Institute, they estimate that an engaged employee will save their company 5% or more off the costs they’re responsible for? That kind of savings can add up quickly when more and more employees become engaged with the financial future of their organization. This statistic is powerful, and should motivate more CFO's to look into creative solutions as to how they can create a more financially engaged workforce at their organization. But how can they do it? Consider these employee motivation ideas:
While small business owners definitely face a lot of challenges on a daily basis, one that can have a major impact on whether the business is able to thrive or not is communication. Between vendors, employees and customers, great communication can be a big hurdle. After all, great writing skills and perfect oration are hardly a prerequisite for the dream of owning your own company.
Following are five communication issues that are common among small business owners as well as the communication solutions that can help to ease this daily stressor.
Every day technology gets easier to use. From adding a wireless network to your home office, to upgrading your companies smart phones to new cloud-based solutions like Cloud Phones, the interfaces have never been easier for an end user to navigate. But if you’re a DIYer (Do It Yourselfer), it’s easy to be seduced by the marketing hype around today’s cloud phone systems and therefore skimp on preparing for a successful deployment. With any technology there should always be room for error. However, when it comes time for your business to make an upgrade to your phone system, here are 5 tips to making sure your deployment goes smoothly as possible.