Adapting or implementing unified communications for a rapidly changing world
As the top telco trends of 2020 begin to emerge, one that stands out is a shift in mindset around the value of unified communications (UC). Around the world, CIOs and IT leaders are starting to take note—in a recent survey from Ribbon, 64% of companies with more than 1000 employees said they plan to increase investment in UC within two years. Similarly, a recent Frost & Sullivan study found that 71% of companies are currently leveraging or planning to deploy enterprise IP telephony by the end of 2021.
But are they being too short-sighted when implementing UC or UCaaS solutions? Are they looking at the right factors when assessing their options? Are their current UC systems viable in the face of changing trends?
If you’re in the C-Suite and examining the state of UC at your company, here’s what you need to know for 2020 and beyond.
Benefits of unified communications
When entire workforces were suddenly thrust into work-from-home scenarios, more and more companies were finding their employees struggling to connect and collaborate across a tangled web of siloed communication platforms.
When one platform, such as video conferencing software, doesn’t integrate with another, such as the corporate digital calendar, it slows employees down. When all platforms—email, IM, VoIP, file sharing, cloud networks—don’t seamlessly integrate with each other, it causes needless logistical gridlock.
This doesn’t just result in a productivity pinch. It also limits a company’s agility, putting a ceiling on that company’s pace of innovation and iteration. Effective UC systems, by contrast, enhance a company’s agility, productivity, and employee engagement.
Evolving your unified communications
Whether you’re introducing UC to your company for the first time or doing an audit of your existing UC system, there are some key themes to focus on. Not all UC solutions are created equal, and some are more future-proofed than others.
To identify the best UC strategies for your company, there are a number of key factors for CIOs and IT leaders to consider. Here’s a brief look at three of them.
High-level collaboration is essential
The UC tools of today and tomorrow go far beyond the simple integration of one platform with another. Highly functional teams now need the ability to collaborate seamlessly across any media device, with little or no fuss.
A one-on-one chat session, for instance, can be turned instantly into a group video meeting—complete with screen sharing, file sharing, and multiple team members connecting from smartphones as well as laptops or PCs.
Ease of use encourages adoption
High-powered UC tools are of little practical use, if they have a steep learning curve and only a subset of tech-savvy employees use them. To ensure widespread adoption, the user experience of the UC systems you choose must be incredibly intuitive.
This goes for administrators as well as everyday users. The purpose of UC is to make everyone’s life in the workplace easier, therefore things like self-serve portals, zero-touch provisioning, and comprehensive analytics will help IT teams manage, support, and troubleshoot.
Advanced security is critical
One of the benefits of UC is the ability of high-functioning teams to work together, even if they’re not located physically together. Another benefit of UC is its effective use of the cloud, which enables real-time collaboration and sharing.
But these benefits both present some considerable risks. As data is shared with cloud servers, platforms, and Wi-Fi networks outside the company’s digital walls, opportunities for security breaches increase.
To combat this, the next generation of UC solutions must include enhanced protection of user privacy and confidential information, encryption of data in transit and at rest, and mitigation of DDoS attacks at all layers.
UC solutions for today and tomorrow
The world is changing and changing fast. With work-from-home on the rise, successful companies need digital tools that empower high-functioning teams—regardless of where they’re located or which devices they’re using. UC unlock those abilities, creating more agile companies.
To explore your unified communications options, take a look at Bell’s guide to optimizing your UC roadmap.