Using SIP Phones with Hosted VOIP

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by Tiffany Torbert — Tiffany is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

voip colorsEveryone knows that you can connect any phone to a hosted VoIP line, right? But what advantages does connecting a SIP phone provide? There are actually a number of them.

It might be natural to think that your work is over once your enterprise has made the decision to go with hosted VoIP. After all, VoIP can run nearly entirely in the cloud, so you won’t have to worry about keeping the resources around to manage the telephony services in-house. This alone can take a load off your mind. And it’ll certainly make life a lot easier for IT. At the same time, though, your employees will still be using their same old desk phones for their telephony needs. And there will be critical decisions to be made in this area — and I don’t mean simply who your hosted VoIP provider will be.

One of the decisions you’ll have to make will be which SIP phone you’ll want to use in order to complement your VoIP service. After all, all SIP phones are not made the same, as some people might have you think. If you do think this, then you might miss out on some critical features that might not be apparent until after your purchase. In order to assure this does not happen to you, here’s three key attributes of SIP phones that you should look for when you’re planning your move to hosted VoIP. They’re based on my extensive research.

  1. Ensure Compatibility with Your VoIP Provider

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s interesting how many times I’ve seen this one overlooked. Surprisingly, though, it’s a complex topic. The main gist of it, though, is that the VoIP service and the SIP phones are going to make up an entire single unit working together. They’ll be a holistic telephony solution, if you will. There are a wide variety of VoIP providers to pick from, and they all have many different features. At the same time, not all of the SIP phones are certified to work with all VoIP providers. So you need to do some homework beforehand in order to be certain that both of them working together will give you the features that you think you must have. If you don’t do this previous legwork, you will risk selling yourself short. At best, you’ll be undermining your own investment in the SIP phones and hosted VoIP; at worst it simply won’t work.

  1. Provide a Quality Experience

SIP phones are about delivering the best parts of VoIP to your workers, more than anything else. When using hosted VoIP, getting a dial tone reliably should be a given. You also shouldn’t need to worry about network management or connectivity. Since VoIP service is pretty much a commodity, the real distinctions are drawn at the endpoints, where the workers interface one-to-one with VoIP directly.

Legacy telephony has actually set the bar for quality pretty high, so VoIP audio quality has to be even better on a consistent basis. Its core feature set also has to be easy to use. If you try and go the inexpensive route — low-end phones that have poor audio quality — your workers will quickly notice, and soon become disenfranchised. To make sure that this does not happen, the SIP phones you choose should be able to use the high-quality G.729 codec. If you want to shoot even higher, for high-def. audio, then look for the G.722 wideband codec.

Simply put, if the SIP phones you invest in do not provide a quality experience, your workers will move on the other modes of communication that do. They’ll use mobile devices, or PC-based VoIP, perhaps — thus completely invalidating your investment in hosted VoIP.

  1. Fulfill the Needs of Your Employees

The workforce of today is frequently mobile and certainly always-on. Legacy telephony fails to address these needs, but it is exactly these sorts of things that VoIP addresses. As far as SIP goes, you should look for Power Over Ethernet, which uses any broadband connection to provide direct network connectivity. With this technology, any location can be utilized by a worker; they’ll get all of the same calling features they’d have at their desk.

Although SIP phones do not offer any mobile functions outside of the office, you can use DECT-based cordless SIP phones to serve the needs of those employees that need to be away from their desks but can remain on site. DECT phones offer a long range and a signal that doesn’t interfere with Wi-Fi. Another use case might be that of desk-based workers whose primary task is working with the phone, such as call center agents. These people would love to have headsets that have good audio quality, are comfortable, and are easy to use.

But not all SIP phone dealers will stock headsets. And not each third-party headset is going to be completely interoperable with every SIP phone. Specifically, you need to also evaluate the merits of cordless versus wired headset models. Cordless models offer a greater range of movement, yet be aware that there are two different types — DECT and Bluetooth. The former has a significantly greater signal range.

Is Metal As A Service The Next Big Thing For The Cloud?

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by Graeme Caldwell — Graeme works as an inbound marketer for InterWorx, a revolutionary web hosting control panel for hosts who need scalability and reliability. Follow InterWorx on Twitter at @interworx, Like them on Facebook and check out their blog, http://www.interworx.com/community.

We’re accustomed to thinking of cloud platforms as being irrevocably tied to virtualization. Virtualization — the software representation of hardware — is what has allowed us to build infrastructure and software platforms of exquisite controllability and almost limitless flexibility. In fact, if we’re to believe the cloud’s foundational myth — which is probably just that, a myth — the cloud came about as a way to put virtualization to use in soaking up underutilized server resources.

But really the cloud is not so much tied to a particular technology as it is a set of capabilities: on-demand scaling, fast deployment, API control, metered pricing, and so on. You can have the cloud and its service modalities, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service, without the virtualization layer so long as you have an alternative technology that provides many of the same capabilities — or at least enough of them that they  fulfill the needs of the market while offering a benefit that existing technologies don’t.

Over the last few years we’ve seen the rise of containers, particularly Docker, as a replacement of hypervisor virtualization. Containers are great as a replacement for or improvement to Platform-as-a-service products, but they can’t really replace Infrastructure-as-a-service. A technology that can replace IaaS in many of its most important roles for a large segment of the user base, and especially for those building private clouds, is the bare metal cloud, which can be used to provide Metal-as-a-service functionality.

Bare metal clouds are probably best thought of as an enhancement of traditional server clusters. A cluster controller takes care of scalability — new servers can be added to the cluster at will. API control exists in much the same way as with virtualized Infrastructure-as-a-service. As for on-demand pricing, that’s really a function of the way platforms are designed and sold rather than any specific technology, but it’s not essential for most purposes where long-term hardware stability is more important that fast elastic scaling.

The most important point of superiority where bare metal clouds are concerned is performance. As the name suggests, operating systems or applications run directly on the bare metal without a virtualization layer, or in light-weight containers that offer easy deployment and migration without the overhead of virtualization.

In short, for most applications short of massive scaling on very short timeframes, bare metal clouds and metal-as-a-service offerings are likely to be a superior solution for companies who need to extract optimal performance from their hardware without sacrificing flexibility.

Metal-as-a-service has until now largely been associated with Canonical’s offering of the same name, but the concept has a much wider application and vendors are entering the bare metal arena both from the direction of virtualized cloud providers like IBM and more traditional server management and clustering solution providers like InterWorx. Companies like France’s Online Labs are leveraging low-powered ARM server clusters to provide Metal-as-a-service platforms.

Virtualization has always been a stop-gap technology: one that provides capabilities we need, but at a cost in performance and in complexity. The move back to bare metal without sacrificing performance is one that will pick up speed in the years to come.

How can VoIP Impact the Operations of your Business?

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by Tiffany Torbert — Tiffany is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particularly in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for non-tech personnel.  

Irrespective of a business’ size, it is imperative to maintain steady relationship and communication with customers, business and associates. Lack of a proper communication system will directly hamper your business relationship and you will lose customersworldddddd and business associates. Your business partners and customers will be extra sensitive towards the kind of communication you maintain – if you are inaccessible, you are bound to lose clients to your competitors. VoIP is the appropriate communication solution that your business needs as it has a huge impact on your business operations. VoIP is the latest communication system that helps in building as well as maintaining business relationships.

Is the Investment Large?

VoIP communication systems for businesses do not need huge investment and are even priced lower than the landline or PSTN telephone system. The monthly expenses for using the VoIP phone system is much lower than the landline phones and you will be able to make huge savings on your monthly telephone bills. This saved amount can later be used for other business purposes like enhancing your business operations or buying latest equipment. There are several advantages associated with the VoIP business phone systems.

Advantages of VoIP

The huge advantages offered by VoIP over their landline counterpart are the advanced telephony features that come loaded with these communication solutions. These telephony features affect the call quality and makes communication a pleasurable experience. Callers will be able to reach you or any other designated executives easily, even when you are not at the desk.  Some of the enhancements that come loaded with business VoIP solutions are:

  • Auto Attendant
  • Voicemail
  • Conferencing
  • Hold Music
  • Call Forwarding
  • Find Me Follow Me
  • Ringing of Simultaneous Device
  • Waiting Rooms

There are many other features not listed here which makes your business communication system extra efficient. Not every VoIP service provider offers all the above enhancements as the standard VoIP communication solution only includes the standard features. You will have to do a little research to find out the enhancements that your business communication system needs. Do a little research on your business communication needs to find out whether the standard features would suffice or you will need a few more enhancements. The VoIP service providers are innovating on a regular basis and they try to make it easier for businesses. Here are some of the business areas where VoIP can have a hugely positive impact:

Professionalism

Your business will be able to compete with bigger business when it comes to presenting a very professional image. There are several features that come with VoIP business communication solutions which will help you to project a very professional image to your customers and business associates. For instance, the auto attendant feature can redirect the calls to the appropriate department or executive. Thus, your customers will never be kept on hold and would know the exact reason why they are being kept on hold. Features like waiting room can even let the customers know about their waiting time. Thus, all the calls to your company will handled in a very professional manner with no or minimum human intervention.

Customer Satisfaction

All the calls to your office would be handled in a professional manner without having to wait for too long. Customer queries will be addressed without delays and this will result in complete satisfaction. When your customers are happy, your business will be able to establish goodwill in the market pretty easily.

Use all the resources (both internal and external) you can and create a very professional image in the market for yourself. You will then find that your business operations will turn seamless without too many glitches to worry about.

4 Vital Things to Consider When Pursuing a Cloud Computing Career

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by a guest contributor.

There is a ton of growing demand for IT professionals who possess the skills to thrive in the field of cloud computing. Today’s professional is required to be fluent with emerging technologies.

It will be necessary for this new army of tech professionals to understand new technology and how everything interacts. The focus, while remaining relatively the same, is centered on the end user accessing information through a dynamic system of interconnectivity. There are four vital things to consider if you are interested in pursuing a cloud computing career.

#1. Cloud Certifications Since continuing education is the key to success in this emerging field, Cloud providers now offer cloud education to help get professionals up to speed. Examples include, but are not limited to, MCSE: Private Cloud, VMware Certified Professional Cloud, and Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect. However, a practitioner should not limit his or herself to these certifications. An EMC or NetApp certification can be just as useful in getting professionals through the front door of companies looking to hire. No matter what you hear about the industry, certifications matter. Real-world experiences and knowledge can be just as important.

#2. Cloud Computing Jobs in High Demand:

  • Cloud Architect – These professionals help lead the race in developing and implementing systems that are reliable, secure, and that fall within budgetary constraints.
  • Cloud Software Engineer – They design and develop software that can integrate with systems provided by cloud service providers.
  • Cloud Sales Representative – Someone has to help develop and grow the industry. These individuals often interact with C-level clients while prospecting and developing new business.
  • Cloud Services Developer – Developers are required to design and building customer-facing-tools and portals that facilitate how end users interact with cloud services.

#3. Cloud Computing Skills As an industry professional, there are a number of skills you’ll need to possess or develop, which include project management, impact assessment, risk and consequence, and experience across numerous devices.

#4. Being Able to Determine the Bottom Line Like everything in life, at the end of the day it is about being able to define the bottom line. Is the solution cost-effective? Will it get the job done?

Having all the right personal career assets in place is one thing. Partnering with the right staffing professionals is quite another. Staffing solutions offered at Randstad Business Support are the types that can help individuals take their possibilities of success to the next level.

5 Mistakes Most Businesses Make with the Cloud

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by William Hayles – Will is a technical writer and blogger for Outscale, a leading cloud hosting provider in the USA and France.

Cloud Mistakes

The cloud’s awesome, but only if it’s properly implemented. Ask yourself: have you used it effectively, or have you committed one of these common mistakes? Is your organization using the cloud effectively?

As the services and platforms that comprise cloud computing become more widespread, more and more businesses are looking at it as a viable option. And really, why shouldn’t they be? In the right hands, it’s an incredibly powerful technology, allowing for better collaboration, faster development/deployment, and reduced costs all across the board.

Of course, like any technology, the cloud’s only effective if you use it properly. Improperly implemented, a cloud computing solution could actually end up increasing your overall spending, to say nothing of the potential for a data breach associated with an unsecured cloud network.

Today, we’re going to go over a few of the most common mistakes made by first-time cloud adopters – and more importantly, how your organization can avoid making them.

Failure To Understand The Cloud (And Your Needs)

By and large, the most frequent – and most significant – error on the part of cloud adopters is a simple lack of understanding. Perhaps thanks to the culture of buzzwords that’s grown up around the tech industry, many businesses see the cloud in only the vaguest sense. This leads them to adopt a cloud model that’s ill-suited for their needs, since they see the cloud as a single service.

The truth is, “cloud computing” is a lot more complex than one might expect. It’s a catch-all term, one that covers a wide spectrum of different services. It’s thus important that you know the different types of cloud models available to you, as well as which one best suits your organization’s needs – including capacity.

Thinking Exclusively In The Short-Term

Far too many professionals think only in the short-term – what action can make them the greatest profit in the shortest possible time? Approaching the cloud with such a stance is asking for failure. You can’t simply focus on what the cloud can do for you in the immediate future; to properly implement a cloud service model into an organization requires careful planning and a long-term roadmap

Not Implementing Proper Security

One of the most common arguments against the cloud is that it’s inherently less secure than more traditional computing models. In unskilled hands, this argument’s actually true. Before settling on a cloud service provider, make sure you understand what areas of security they’re responsible for – and which fall under your purview.

“Security is an afterthought in a lot of scenarios for companies because traditional applications have been hosted behind a firewall,” explained Riverbed Technology’s Technical Director Steve Riley at a recent ITEXPO West Panel.  “But it no longer can be an afterthought; it has to be part of the deployment and design.”

Taking On Way Too Much At Once

Cloud computing is incredible, as is its potential to improve your organization. Seeing how much money it can save – and how efficient it can make your business – means it can be tempting to try to replace your business’s infrastructure overnight. Don’t do it.

Especially if your business maintains a large network of legacy infrastructure, the cloud is something that needs to be adopted gradually. Start slow. Test out small-scale changes first before you implement anything too huge.

Making Foolish Assumptions

There are two assumptions you should never make about the cloud:

  1. That it will instantly solve all your problems
  2. That your entire organization will be on-board with the idea the second you pitch it.

Before you try to add a cloud to your business, you need to make sure you’ve actually got a clear idea in mind of what problems you want to address with it. It’s also vital that you discuss the matter with your IT department – not everyone is going to like the idea of a large-scale switch.

“Many existing enterprise organizations, both within their current IT team and across other departments, may not perceive the value of a move to the cloud,” writes Ken Christensen of Datalink.  “Be prepared for the culture to push back against the notion of the cloud. In some cases, you may even face active opposition.”

In order to effectively pitch the idea, Christensen advises that you be both specific and measurable. You need to give some clear, concrete demonstration of the value cloud computing holds to your business. Otherwise, you may as well scrap the idea altogether.

Get Your Head In The Cloud

Like any tool, the cloud’s only functional if you know how to use it. It’s not something you can implement halfway, nor can you utilize it without fully understanding what it does. If you try to use the cloud knowing your organization’s requirements and culture – as well as the underlying technology – then you’re simply asking for trouble.

So, I ask again – is your organization using the cloud effectively? Hopefully now you know the answer.

What is the New IP?

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by Michelle Patterson – Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Have you heard a new term taking ahold of the telecom industry — “the new IP?”  If you’re anything like me, you’ve wondered what that was.  Intellectual property?  Information processing?  Industrial property?

Turns out it’s none of these.  It’s the same old familiar Internet Protocol.  But it’s simply viewed in a different way.  It’s viewed in a new, more user-centric way, as opposed to the older more IT-focused model.

When the web was first coming out, and people were first starting to use mobile devices, then it made sense for the old IT-focused model to be continued to be used.  After all, it had worked since the days when computer filled entire rooms; why should things change now?

Yet now with most of the world on mobile devices — some estimates say nearly 7 billion cellular contracts signed by the beginning of 2015, and that’s not even counting devices tethered to landlines — now the time has come to focus on the user’s part of the equation rather than the corporate part.  Providers and networks alike are being forced to tackle this progress straight-on, welcoming the change with the flowering of virtualized networks with a strong focus on both service and software.

Neglecting to include these new expansions in their overall model for business can mean a grievous death for providers and networks.  Their more progressive competitors will surely leave them in the dust.  Therefore, making sure both yourself and your staff are educated so as to make informed and intelligent decisions is crucial.  The future of your operations hangs in the balance, along with your software, services and networks.

How to understand “The New IP”

The way to understand the new IP is to take a deep and detailed look at the changes that are underway already.  In the old IT-centric IP structure, the majority of the focus was on the network and infrastructure.  The architecture was rigid and decisions were centralized around IT.

In the new IP, focus has changed to the user.  This has pushed other things such as BYOD, COPE, cloud applications, applications functions, content, mobility, data centers and virtualized networks into center stage.  The new IP seeks to scale to resources and clients on-demand by aiming its power at the user, using a cloud-like design.  Contrast this with the older way of doing things, with a rigid, IT-based architecture.

We see that it is now software that forms the backbone of what we call the new IP, changing the old mentality that “hardware is the center of the computing universe.”

So what does this mean for the wholesale telecom industry?

Early adopters will rush in to take advantage of the new IP.  In the face of this, there is an overall secret to staying ahead.  Overall, you should virtualize many of your network processes, especially those that focus on open-source, open-interface services, network function virtualization, modernized operations and simplified software defined networks.

There is potential in the new IP to save a great deal for a communication providers’ profit, especially regarding operating expenses and capital expenses.  This is while at the same time creating additional proceeds through content-driven services.  You might as how this is possible; I was skeptical as well.  But when I studied some more, I realized the answer lay with the virtualization of the network landscape.  Since with virtualization, you can limit unnecessary hardware purchases, this helps to create an environment where savings are promoted through effectively using infrastructure and personnel resources.  The same can be said for using automated on-demand services.

What about the end-users?

The new IP is very good news for end users.  The changes are bringing greater flexibility and control when picking applications and services.  As people advance their fluency with the Internet, the new IP is altering the landscape to fit their needs.  This “better fit” allows a more customized experience that’s shaped by the users themselves — altering, adding and removing services in moments rather than months.  All Internet-related operations are more simplified, resulting in both happier users and happier IT staff; usability and services are both propelled to the forefront as a result.

Bare-Metal Cloud Beats Virtualization for Web and eCommerce Hosting

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided by Graeme Caldwell — Graeme works as an inbound marketer for InterWorx, a revolutionary web hosting control panel for hosts who need scalability and reliability. Follow InterWorx on Twitter at @interworx, Like them on Facebook and check out their blog, http://www.interworx.com/community.

Here’s a question that many who enthusiastically embrace the cloud don’t seem to consider: who does cloud virtualization benefit? The cloud industry would have you believe that the checks are all in the client’s column, but for the vast majority of use-cases, and particularly those that involve web and eCommerce hosting, virtualization’s main benefits accrue to the vendor. If you recall, the first cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms were developed by Internet giants like Amazon who had excess capacity that frequently sat idle. Virtualization allowed them to sell that excess capacity to clients as virtual servers and networking infrastructure, maximizing the ROI on their hardware procurement and maintenance budgets.

It was a smart strategy and one that prompted an explosion of interest from data center and hosting providers who wanted a way to increase the efficiency of their hardware utilization in an industry that was being forced by price wars in a highly competitive environment to ever narrower profit margins.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service provided definite benefits to certain areas of the market. But those benefits are not universal, in fact they pertain to a fairly narrow sector. It’s useful to those who want access to High-Performance Computing without renting time on a supercomputer. It’s great for a service like Netflix that depends on high levels of elasticity. And it’s handy for development and testing, where the ability to spin up an ephemeral test platform is useful.

But web and eCommerce hosting are a radically different proposition, ones for which performance, stability, reliability, and availability are of significantly greater importance than by-the-hour elasticity. For site owners, the purported benefits of virtualized platforms don’t really apply. Instead, the vendors get the advantage of virtualization and clients get the all of the negatives: degraded performance for very little in return.

In comparison to virtualized cloud platforms, bare-metal clouds, in which the virtualization layer is eschewed and client operating systems run directly on the physical hardware, provide significantly better price/performance ratios.

Cloud cheerleaders might consider bare-metal clouds a retrograde step, but that’s an attitude that reflects a belief that one strategy is best for all situations. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Stepping back from the hype and focusing on what hosting clients really need, it’s clear that bare-metal clouds or server clusters are the best option. They’re not as elastic as virtualized platforms, but almost no-one actually needs that level of elasticity, and certainly not the average web site or eCommerce store. Any decent hosting provider is capable of managing horizontal scaling of a bare-metal cloud on a timescale of hours and days, which is more than sufficient for all but a tiny percentage of users.

With a bare-metal cloud, you get all of the performance, scalability at speeds adequate to meet the needs of almost every business, and none of the negative consequences of running a virtualization layer.

Infographic: APIs that Secretly Rule Your Life

Data and user information is the lifeblood of businesses in today’s market, and having the ability to collect and utilize that information is essential. Application program interfaces, or APIs, are used by companies and establishments to collect, organize, and analyze data on a daily basis. But what type of information is being collecting? In one word – everything. This includes political preference, social insurance number, Facebook likes, emails, reviews on Yelp, ecommerce, and much, much more. The data collected is then used by companies to learn about their customers (or target market) and create messaging that is custom tailored for each individual. Check out this infographic, provided by Who Is Hosting This?, to learn just how pervasive APIs are:

The-APIs-That-Secretly-Rule-Your-Life-ver.02-01

 

How do you feel about companies using your online information to promote their product or service? Is this a natural progression as we continue to move to a more virtual lifestyle? Let us know what you think by posting a comment below

The Future of Cloud Computing Infographic

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided by Ivan Serrano, an online entrepreneur who enjoys writing about tech, globalization, and business communications. He often contributes to 1800-number.com’s blog, and he prides himself on his love of sharing information with others. Ivan is passionate about what he does, and aims to stimulate conversation with his work.

The digital revolution is long underway, moving from block-sized computers of the 90’s to sleek, one-pound MacBook Air laptops to a now invisible landscape up in the clouds. Cloud computing, where computers can sync up and store data on large databases “in the cloud” is growing increasingly popular for companies to store and share data in a safe and reliable way.

The digital clouds are now blowing north. Cloud computing is primarily used by American companies, who have been using the cloud not only to store and share data, but also for messaging and conferencing purposes. But two years ago, the cloud had yet to catch wind in Canada. In fact, until recently, Canada had the lowest internet caps in all of the developed world. This is something the Canadian Cloud Council is trying to change; to create an open and democratized proliferation of information online. While the Canadian government remains skeptical of cloud computing for security purposes, Canadian companies are beginning to privately take the reigns using dot-ca domain names hosted outside Canada, and the cloud is becoming the route to take. This infographic explains how cloud computing works, and the dangers that come along with it.

 

CloudUpIntheAir

Measuring the Value of Unified Communication for Business

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided to us by Tanya Williams, a freelance writer and blogger. She has been working with telecom companies for over 20 years, writing about new technologies and how businesses and business owners can take advantage of them. Her topics included IP based communications technologies, cloud computing, website development, and many more.

Up until now, Unified Communications (UC) has been an ambitious promise — albeit one that seemed quite likely to come true. The real bottom line, though, and the deal-breaker with any technology – no matter how promising it seems, is its return on investment (ROI). In the case of UC, it’s been difficult to truly define because it’s so diffuse in nature. Thus, it is a difficult matter to get a real handle on its ROI. However, as of late this metric is finally shaping up for the following seven reasons.

The Story from Vendors

There is considerable progress being made in the video conferencing and telepresence sectors, and these types of platforms are being included in unified communications packages more and more. CDW’s business development manager, Bill Coe, said that if he can inform a CFO that adding video will reduce the time-to-market of a product by up to six weeks, then the gains are often enough to convince that senior exec to give it the green light. If that’s not enough, then he just has to remind the exec of the added advantages that the same video platform will provide elsewhere in the company when moving forward.

Cost Reduction

By deploying a cloud-based communications solution, the need for installing, supporting, managing and maintaining an in-house infrastructure is eliminated. This allows your enterprise to downsize its IT management and maintenance costs. Deploying UC also allows other resources to be redirected to other tasks.

Productivity

Return on investment is not always measured in dollars — sometimes it comes in the form of increased productivity. This is certainly the case with UC. Since communications are made so much easier with UC, the productivity of your employees is enhanced almost immediately. For example, Salesforce has developed an interface that integrates click-to-dial technologies, saving the user 15 to 20 seconds per phone call. That may not sound like a lot — but if you multiply that figure by the hundreds of calls your sales team makes every day, and the thousands of calls they make every week — it adds up, giving them a few extra hours every week to connect with customers or prospects. And on top of that, UC enabled systems allow for improved collaboration and communication, as there is less time wasted trading unproductive messages back and forth or tracking people down.

Mitigation of Risk

Given its redundant, cloud-based infrastructure, communications are far more stable than non-unified solutions. Therefore, a UC service is much more likely to stay up and running at all times.

Better Customer Service

One major factor setting any business apart from its competitors is how quickly it’s able to respond to its customers and partners, and how effectively it’s able to resolve their problems. Businesses that take steps to improve their communication systems are much more likely to enjoy customer loyalty, retention, and repeat business.

Heightened Business Agility

By using UC, information can be distributed quickly across your entire enterprise. This enables your team to act as a cohesive unit, and to gain a better understanding of critical information than ever before. This, in turn, positions your organization for faster decision making.

Mobile Employees are Supported Better

Since UC connects all devices across your enterprise, no matter where they are, it allows any employees that are in the field to work with real time information. They don’t have to wait to “check in” to get the latest data.

Conclusion

UC always did seem like a good idea, as did what it’s built upon — things such as video conferencing and VoIP. There is one major difference now, though: The industry is finally at a point where it can actually be proven.

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