According to Global Market Insights, Inc., the unified communications (UC) market is forecasted to reach $96 billion by 2023. Many companies across the globe are seeking the ability to attain real-time communications services for vital business operations. And a majority of these businesses are finding that the solution they are seeking can be found in adopting a cloud-based UC strategy in their organization. For enterprises reaching the threshold of a UC implementation evaluation, these six tips can assist in navigating the process.
1. Review the Components of Cloud-based UC
When adopting a cloud-first unified communications strategy, companies need to begin by identifying the elements of cloud UC:
Conferencing and Collaboration (Audio, Video and Web Conferencing)
Social Media and Communications-enabled Business Processes (the integration of communications capabilities into software-enabled business applications, procedures and technologies)
Each of these UC components can add value to the communications strategy in your organization, but factors in making a selection should be determined by deciding which of these components best meets your organization’s communication requirements.
2. Assess User Needs
Once you've determined available cloud-based product options, you'll want to check-in with users to understand their UC needs. To optimize the communications tools available to employees, you'll need to assess how users currently communicate with colleagues and where there are inefficiencies in the communications process. At this point, you will have probably heard frustrations expressed at the lack of functionality or integration available with current tools. But in addition, you might conduct a formal user poll to see what tools could make their jobs easier and help them perform more efficiently. Using an online survey tool can help to customize a questionnaire and record employee viewpoints in an anonymous format. Users are more likely to be honest about their challenges with current software solutions if they are not worried about later being singled out for providing negative feedback.
3. Evaluate the Role of Existing Equipment
In some situations, such as when a phone system has failed or its current features are lacking in functionality, the reason to go to a cloud-based system is cut and dry. But other infrastructures may possess a level of equipment that could still add value to the overall unified communications solution. Either way, IT stakeholders need to evaluate whether current on-premises equipment will have a role in the UC strategy.
UC solutions providers like West can work with your company to maximize the use of existing network devices in a hybrid environment, developing a plan that integrates with the current infrastructure while adding features and functionality users are clamoring for. We have expert consultants in UC system integrations that can help your organization design and architect a UC plan that works with your on-site technology and equipment. West can ensure that you gain the UC features and utilities your company is seeking while maintaining a solid ROI on legacy infrastructure components.
4. Design the UC Network to Work with your Devices and Needs
Changes in technology are continual and advancements in equipment will continue to arrive. It’s important to design your network not only to work with your current computers, smartphones and tablets, but with expandable and flexible configuration options that work with the ebb and flow of technological advancements. On top of future-proofing your network, your organization should consider other important factors such as the desired level of disaster recovery, available security protocols and QoS controls. For networks requiring high-availability, those with a small network support staff, or companies with complex WAN infrastructures, the addition of continuous network monitoring may be appealing too.
5. Communicate the Value of Cloud-First
Decision-makers want to be sure there will be a measurable ROI when adopting cloud-based UC. To convince stakeholders to pull the trigger and to maximize its effectiveness, each UC solution should be custom-designed to meet a company’s unique needs. Additionally, overall benefits to adopting a cloud-first UC strategy realized by all organizations include:
Reduced equipment and support costs
Better flexibility and scalability
Enhanced corporate collaboration
Greater stability and less downtime
Higher level of security
Better work-life balance for employees
Implementing a cloud-first UC solution gives companies peace of mind. With cloud UC, enterprises are getting an always on, disaster-proof, customizable set of software tools and reporting to optimize communications across the organization.
6. Choose the Right UC Vendor
A final tip when adopting a cloud-based UC strategy: ensure that you partner with an industry-leading expert in unified communications. Some UC providers may specialize in various market segments or business sizes. To determine a vendor’s level of experience, it might help to view their current client list to see if they would be a good match for your organization. West has the experience and knowledge-base to work with companies of all shapes and all sizes. As proof, West has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, Worldwide, for the 6th year in a row. Talk to us today for more tips and guided assistance in adopting a cloud-first UC strategy in your organization.
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