Small and medium-sized businesses and multinational corporations looking to empower their mobile workforce are taking full advantage of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) solution to fuel digital transformation and to drive their businesses to success. As more enterprises move to the cloud and adopt UC&C solutions in their operational workflows, having an effective Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) plan can help businesses deliver a seamless, secure, and cost-effective communication across multiple channels.
But how can companies seamlessly integrate an effective Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) strategy into their business processes while concurrently meeting the needs of their employees and customers? In this article, PGi's Chief Technology Officer, Patrick Harper, discusses the importance of having a solid UC&C strategy to help companies stay relevant in today’s ever-evolving communications landscape. By developing a seamless and successful UC&C plan, businesses can streamline processes, accelerate decision-making, improve the customer experience, and boost their bottom line.
Harnessing the Power of UCaaS Solution
In today’s technology-driven world, modern teams and organizations have more ways than ever to communicate, from emails, phone calls, chats, text messages, to audio and video conferencing, voicemails, and social media platforms. And as the modern workforce becomes more mobile and disjointed and their means of communicating becoming more complex, what businesses seek is a solid UCaaS plan that can help them overcome communications challenges. But what exactly is UCaaS and why should businesses consider adopting this innovative cloud delivery model?
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud delivery model that offers a variety of communication and collaboration services and applications that are outsourced to a third-party provider and delivered over the public Internet or an IP network.
According to PGi’s whitepaper on Unified Communications, there are many reasons why enterprises choose cloud UC to power their communications. The main factors include improved engagement, reduced costs, enhanced business scalability and efficiency, higher employee productivity, and seamless communication with customers and workers.
From an IT perspective, UCaaS provides businesses an easier way to employ multiple devices and allow them to communicate seamlessly with their partners, vendors, and customer across different devices, anywhere at any time. “UCaaS easily integrates into existing systems and consolidates existing platforms to ease the burden on IT,” said Harper. “It provides an easier way for teams to cater to end-users on the go who need the ability to use multiple devices and collaborate with ease.”
Additionally, a cloud-based UCaaS strategy becomes even more appealing with open APIs, which allow for interoperability and integration with existing software. “For IT teams and businesses, this makes the jump to UCaaS seamless without inconveniencing end-users or overwhelming IT in the process,” explained Harper.
Given all these benefits of UCaaS, switching to a cloud-based UC infrastructure should be an easy decision for businesses to make. The challenge, though, is in ensuring a smooth and seamlessly transition from a legacy on-premises system to a UCaaS model.
Key Considerations for a Smooth and Seamless UCaaS Deployment
One of the most important considerations any IT team or business can do to ensure that they have the right communication tools in place is to better understand the unique collaboration mix within their business. “Often, communication services and tools are deployed within a business and are not fully utilized because they don’t fit the day-to-day needs of the company,” said Harper. “Understanding the needs of your employees first and foremost can set businesses up for communication success which, in turn, drives business efficiencies and communication goals.”
Harper also emphasized that for businesses wanting a successful UC&C deployment they need to consider a solid implementation strategy to encourage usage and tool adoption. “The first step in any implementation process should begin with a thorough review of your business requirements and processes,” shared Harper. With regards to utilizing infrastructure, Harper also said that IT teams should analyze, plan, and understand the product’s implementation process by asking these crucial questions.
- Do you have the authority to open ports and whitelist necessary domains to guarantee that programs run at top capacity?
- Is your network equipped to handle bandwidth or throughput requirements to support the software or new technology?
- Is the vendor familiar with your security requirements and will they meet them?
There are also several factors CIO’s and IT managers need to keep in mind when deploying new tools to their current UC mix. By getting answers to these important questions, businesses can ensure a smooth and successful UC deployment:
- What are the security features of this new product or service? Do they meet your internal and industry standards?
- Will this new tool help streamline your end-users' work processes and foster a productive business environment for teams?
- Are there any technical limitations to this new software?
- If the software is customer or external-stakeholder facing, is it intuitive for others to use this outside of your organization?
- Does the vendor provide implementation and adoption services to help get your employees up to speed?
- Once implemented, is there ongoing service or support and continued training and education to help IT teams so that the success of your implementation does not stop once you have crossed the threshold?
According to Harper, with any technology deployment, each of the aforementioned factors or considerations can play a critical role – UCaaS rollout or otherwise – to help build a seamless UC&C strategy. "You should always establish factors for success, before any new technology rollout and establish benchmarks (e.g. adoption metrics, frictionless experience, analytical feedback from end-users, etc.) prior to implementation," said Harper. "From there, it’s important to evaluate, optimize, and tailor your technology experience for your enterprise."
How PGi Enables Successful UCaaS Deployment
PGi, the world's largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services, understands that businesses need an effective UCaaS strategy that can be deployed through an easy process. As a trusted provider of UC&C solutions, PGi offers a strategic approach to help IT teams and businesses achieve effortless collaboration and improve the business process in three ways:
- Streamlines communication. When employers and employees cannot communicate with an organization, they cannot get work done efficiently. Having a Unified Communications (UC) provider like PGi enables end-users to connect from nearly anywhere in the world, at any time. “Whether it’s connecting with HD audio quality or hosting a global multi-point video conference, hearing and seeing the difference when you’re connecting with customers or team members in disparate locations can accelerate growth and make the difference,” said Harper. “We work hard to make sure companies can stay connected with one another, and keep business objectives moving forward, regardless of where they’re located.”
- Enables a mobile workforce. “Right now, more than 1/3 or participants joining PGi’s conference calls are taken via mobile devices and, we expect that number to reach nearly 50 percent by 2020,” shared Harper. The good thing about having a solid UC strategy and a reliable service provider is that it empowers a cordless, work environment where communication and connectivity quality isn't sacrificed at the expense of those who are teleworking or are in various locations.
- Drives productivity. One of the major advantages of having a solid UC strategy is that it leads to more effective communication, which drives efficiencies in the workplace. Research shows that more than 80 percent of professionals feel that poor communication and a lack of collaboration lead to work failures, which hampers productivity.
Aside from these benefits, PGi also offers end-to-end collaboration solutions that cater to an enterprise’s global communications needs. According to Harper, what makes PGi stand out from other providers is their exceptional customer service. “What sets us apart is that all our services are backed up by our award-winning 24/7 global customer service and support,” said Harper. “This means we don’t just provide you with exceptional products, we are in your corner from rollout and implementation to ongoing support when there are questions from end-users. “
PGi is a trusted global provider of UC&C software and services with a focus on arming companies with seamless, universal tools needed to unleash collaboration and creativity. Based in Alpharetta, Ga. with a global team of 1,800 employees from 25 locations, PGi facilitates smarter communications for 45,000 customers across the world. Established in 1991, the company offers a full suite of communication tools including audio and video conferencing, webcasting, webinar, and audio integrations with Microsoft and Cisco.