Though unified communications and collaboration tools have been available in the market and used to varying degrees for over a decade, the last four months has shown us that the ability to communicate and work from dispersed locations is a business requirement and not a “nice to have.” In the immediacy of the COVID19 pandemic, many companies gravitated toward Zoom and other free and/or simple video conferencing tools to bridge the immediate gap presented by the need to send employees home. It has become apparent that COVID19 does not have an expiration date. In parallel, Managers, CFOs and employers have witnessed the reliability, productivity, flexibility and cost savings related to a remote workforce, and many have announced that moving forward, employees will be working "outside the box" permanently. In fact, according to a recent Gartner article, more than 74% of CFOs surveyed in March plan to keep a portion of their employees working from home. It is time to look for a communications and collaboration solution for the future as well as the now. The workplace has evolved, and businesses small and large should plan to implement feature rich, integrated UCC solutions for the long term. So, what should you look for when choosing a UCC platform?
What Does a UCaaS Platform Do?
Unified Communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), delivers all communications channels live on one platform. This enables companies need to invest in only one system; manage & train users on one system, and provide a superior, seamless communications solution. Employees can access all communications channels from one place rather than juggling logins and manually switching from one channel to another throughout the day, cutting down on wasted time and the frustrations that can come with a disconnected experience.
Why move to a UCC or UCaaS platform?
Businesses of all sizes are gravitating to UCaaS, including SMBs. As more businesses move to the cloud, the benefits of a subscription-based service for front office tasks, and app-based infrastructures outweigh the expending the cost associated with cherry-picking best of breed solutions. The spectrum of benefits to users and stakeholders include a seamless, intuitive, portable user experience, a less expensive, predictable cost structure for communications technologies and services, and the flexibility of scalability.
Key Factors when choosing a UCaaS Platform
Though some will argue that no “one size fits all,” solution exists in the unified communications market, there are fundamental characteristics and features that every business should consider when looking for a solution.
- Ease of integration– Make sure your unified communications platform will easily integrate with your other business tools, such as O365, your productivity software, and CRM system.
- Intuitive adoption– Employees should adopt the new UCaaS or UCC solution easily & start using the features right away.
- Security– Ensure the communications solution you evaluate has ample layers of security to prevent hacks and ransomware attacks. Over the past four months, unfortunately cybercrime has focused its mayhem on remote users as oftentimes, password controls and end point monitoring management are primarily to blame.
- Mobile capabilities– Your teams should be able to access and use all communication channels from their smartphone or other mobile devices. Ensure they systems you evaluate work with both Android and iOS securely. Users should be able to place and receive calls, determine other employees’ availability, chat, text and sync contacts, as well as manage voicemails.
- Simple remote management– Look for the communications platform scales up and down based on business needs. You should be able to add users as your company grows. Likewise, you want to be able to enable or disable permissions by group or individual user, set up groups based on business requirements, and track employee productivity, all from your management portal.
- Collaboration features including file backup and storage - Communication is critical and so is the ability to collaborate among team members in real time. Or can host a webcast with up to 1000 participants...or 10. THIS is the real differentiator. Productivity should be enhanced by your UCC or UCaaS solution. You should be able to spontaneously move from a conference call or video to brainstorming in real time – where all participants can take part. And, your platform should include secure file storage and backup. This enables your teams to collaborate remotely without worrying about the safety of the files or data loss.
Moving Forward with Unified Communications & Collaboration
Prepare. Improve. Secure. Enable. The right communications platform will allow your employees to communicate easily with each via their channel of choice - whether located in the same building or dispersed across states and counties, working remotely.
If you’re interested, click here to learn more about ARCO Elevate, a fully integrated Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions that presents enterprise class features at an SMB price. If you choose for the now AND the future, support your communication needs, improve employee productivity and provide scale and evolve to meet the needs of our evolving workforce.