Unified Communications (UC) is more than just a buzzword. It is becoming a business necessity for those who have adopted it and experienced the results of increased productivity and efficiency. UC is not a single product, but, rather, a set of products that work together to provide a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across devices, whether it be desk phone, mobile phone, PC, tablet, etc. At it’s core, it aims to reduce communication latency (think: phone tag, or waiting for an email response on a critical issue) by consolidating phone, email, fax, chat, video and collaboration to work together seamlessly regardless of device. If you are considering devising a UC strategy for your organization, here are some key questions to consider:
1. What features of a UC plan are most important to your organization?
Instant Message, Advanced Call Routing, Collaboration… the list of possible capabilities goes on and on. One area that is identified most frequently as the greatest benefit is Presence. Presence Technology is defined as real time information about a person’s availability. With Skype for Business, for example, Presence is a feature immediately realized, as it represents your co-workers availability at that moment with a color coded system (Red=busy, Green=available). The true value of presence is removing delays in company communication, making your business run more efficiently by increasing employee productivity.
2. What challenges should I be aware of when considering a UC deployment?
The big challenge with UC is integrating multiple communication methods, equipment and software into a seamless end user experience. Having your end users frustrated with a user interface that is hard to use, or having only a partial deployment, leaving your employees wanting for more, can derail the success of your plan. But doing a full scale deployment comes with increased capital expenditures and deployment costs, so the challenge is heightened to deploy while keeping budgets in mind. There are different models you may wish to consider given your budgetary constraints and comfort level: Cloud based/hosted, premise based, or a hybrid of both.
3. Can you easily integrate the UC solution into your current system?
It is imperative to make certain that your existing network, including servers, routers and other infrastructure elements, are ready to handle the additional load UC technology will create. If you will be incorporating some Voice Over IP for the first time, or anticipate using video more often, ensuring bandwidth is adequate and your router’s QOS settings are prioritizing appropriately.
Many companies are currently marching down the path of a UC solution and may not even realize it. For Microsoft Office 365 subscribers, Skype for Business was introduced to allow for Presence, IM, Collaboration, and video conferencing to be deployed easily and integrated with the Office Suite, including Word and PowerPoint collaboration, and Outlook email and calendars.
Taking this one step further, if you are an existing AltiGen Communications client on MaxCS, or are looking at new call center software solutions,you can now integrate the AltiGen phone system with Office 365 and Skype for Business to enable PSTN calling outside your organization, a shortcoming from other solutions in the market, and truly unifying communications for your business.
Learn more about AltiGen MaxUC by downloading our data sheet here.