When considering Unified Communications (UC), our experience as an MSP has given us a unique perspective, especially when it comes to using a mix of platforms like Slack, Zoom, MS Teams, and the Google Suite. It's a common scenario we've navigated, not just within our own operations but also while assisting a broad spectrum of clients. We've seen how easily multiple UC tools can lead to a bit of a tangle, each with their distinct features and costs, often resulting in inefficiencies and added complexity.
Here's our perspective: it’s less about jumping onto the newest tool or sticking with the old, and more about aligning these tools with the specific rhythm of your business and the needs of your team. Our approach is about diving deep into your current UC setup & workflow processes, identifying the overlaps and gaps, and guiding you toward a strategy that truly fits your business's unique workflow.
Through our journey with numerous clients, we’ve identified key areas that out of the gate or immediately need to be considered (listed below). It’s about making well-informed decisions, not just for the sake of change, but to genuinely enhance your team's productivity and collaboration. This is our recommendation, a pathway we've seen work time and again.
Typically, we work with clients on this as part of our onboarding process or when addressing operational needs to optimize their communications, facilitate new business services, or even during business acquisition(s) they may be going through, tailoring our approach to each different scenario.
Key Areas for Consideration
Assess Workforce Needs: Understanding how your employees work and what tools they need is crucial. The first step in a robust UC strategy is to determine the requirements of your workforce.
Budget Considerations: Cost is a significant factor in any technology investment. Evaluate your current communication system costs and potential savings through on-net calling, reducing device numbers, and integrating services like audio conferencing. Of course, this would need to be prioritized against an overall IT budget.
Maximize Operations: Look for opportunities to improve business processes through integration with UC applications. This can streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Check out example use cases here.
Infrastructure Requirements: Assess whether your current network can support the demands of a UC solution, including messaging, conferencing, and voice/video calling. Security is also a crucial factor, especially if remote working is supported. Check out our article: Infrastructure Essentials for UC - Unified Communications.
Strategic Roll-Out Plan: Adopt a staggered approach to UC implementation. Establish your business objectives and priorities, such as office space consolidation or improving remote team connectivity. We would typically build this out in with a client through our technical advisory team as part of an IT roadmap.
Support for Collaboration: Ensure the UC platform supports collaboration, allowing teams to work together on documents and applications even when not in the same location. This enhances productivity and ROI.
Cloud Hosting and Connectivity: Many UC platforms are cloud-hosted, simplifying provisioning and updates. However, a reliable connection is essential for quality service. Also check out Streamlining the Cloud Journey Network Infrastructure & Bandwidth Optimization for Unified Communications.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Allowing employees to use their smartphones can save money and ease the learning curve. Ensure the UC platform supports BYOD with appropriate security measures. Read: BYOD in Unified Communications: Navigating Challenges, Harnessing Benefits.
Data Security: In compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR, ensure the UC platform securely handles data to prevent leaks or losses.
Decommissioning Old Systems: To maximize the value of your UC investment, plan to phase out old tools and systems. This reduces overall running costs and increases efficiency.
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