If you’d like to improve your business with enhanced communication tools, it is probably time to deploy an alternative telephony and communication solution. Unified Communications (UC) empowers your people to work smarter, faster and from anywhere. But, improving your workplace and business experience through UC requires careful planning and many strategic and financial considerations.

To help design the best UC platform for you, I have collated five crucial questions that must be answered before you make the switch.

1. What does your workforce need?

I passionately believe that delivering secure, future-proof technology means putting your people first. So, the most important step when creating a solid unified comms strategy is to figure out how your people work and what they need to get the job done.

Establish whether employees work from home, on the road, or at home. Next, consider what devices they use - be it mobiles, PCs, tablets or a mixture of all three. Once you know where and how, take the time to find out what apps they are currently using and why (and if they are up to the task). Also, bear in mind that the way your workforce prefers to work may be shifting; personal tech usage is seeping into work lives, especially for Millenials.

With data protection and compliance more critical than ever due to the introduction of the GDPR, it’s also vital that you establish how secure and appropriate your existing tech is for client-facing communications.

With data protection and compliance more critical than ever due to the introduction of the GDPR, it’s also vital that you establish how secure and appropriate your existing tech is for client-facing communications.

2. What is your budget?

Cost is always going to be an essential consideration when investing in any new technology. To ensure ROI, look at how much your current communications system is costing you. Can you save money with on-net calling, reducing the number of devices, video conferencing, or integrated services such as audio conferencing?

However, when doing this, you must establish the total cost of ownership (TCO). In addition to the initial setup costs, take into account things like hardware, licensing, energy, physical space, upgrades, ongoing maintenance and 24/7 internal support; not forgetting the financial impact of unplanned downtime.

If using or considering an on-prem system, it might be worth migrating to the cloud to access enterprise-level UC technology on a more affordable fixed, managed costs or subscription fee basis.

3. Can you maximise your operations?

When deploying a new telephony and communication solution, you should always look at where improvements can be made. So, identify if there any business processes that could benefit from integration with UC apps.

To help you do this, list any applications that are already deployed, and decide which ones need to be integrated with your new UC setup. You should also establish if you will need external support to deploy, maintain, and support these applications moving forward.

If you opt for a cloud solution, it will be easier to bring new apps on board at a later stage and respond to changing business needs.

4. What infrastructure do you have?

Implementing UC into your business hinges on how well you understand your infrastructure requirements. So, you must substantiate whether your current network can support messaging, conferencing, voice and video calling. If not, set out whether your UC solution will be deployed into a new environment. Here again, security is a key concern, so, also ensure that your network is as secure as possible if you need to support remote working.

5. Do you have a roll-out plan?

When making changes to the way you do business, it can be wise to adopt a staggered approach. To help you ensure a strategic plan to UC implementation, start by establishing what your objectives and priorities are. For example, is your business looking to relocate or consolidate office space? Are you planning to globalise or connect your remote teams better?

When making changes to the way you do business, it can be wise to adopt a staggered approach. To help you ensure a strategic plan to UC implementation, start by establishing what your objectives and priorities are.

In any phased rollout, if you want to minimise mistakes make sure you include staff training to promote confidence and productivity.

Many businesses choose to deploy a hybrid model at the start of their UC journey as sites come out of contract or legacy systems have depreciated. So, a hybrid solution can be used as a natural transition to a cloud only service.

A unified comms strategy is necessary to embed communication capabilities seamlessly into your existing business applications and processes, all into one place. Let’s face it, UC is an incredibly valuable, but not insignificant, investment. So the solution you choose has to be the right one for your business.

To help you ask all the right questions, consider your various UC options, and decide which comms features are most important for your workforce and your business, download our handy Unified Communications Toolkit.

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This content was about: Unified Communications

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