In our previous post – What is Voice Over IP (VoIP) and how does it work? – we touched on how VoIP technology can be used to integrate all of an organisation’s communications into a single solution. This is known as Unified Communications (UC) and it’s something that affords a host of benefits for businesses.
In a nutshell, Unified Communications enables everyone in an organisation – regardless of where they physically are – to communicate with everyone else by phone, video, email and instant-messaging, using desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Businesses that have adopted Unified Communications enjoy faster decision making, more efficient workflows and better cost-control among many other benefits.
However, it is not always easy to maximise the benefits of Unified Communications, especially when it is overlaid on to a legacy private branch exchange system, which many businesses still use. Sure, it’s possible, but it will probably involve changes to the telecoms infrastructure and the use of specialised equipment and software, especially where users employ a wide variety of access devices.
That’s why here at Everyday Communications, we have developed our own hosted Unified Communications infrastructure and offer Unified Communications as a Service. It is a relatively low-cost way for businesses to benefit from Unified Communications, without making major changes in-house. By eliminating the need to specify, install and manage an on-premises system, an entire Unified Communications deployment can be vastly simplified.
The Unified Communications platform resides off-premises at one of our secured data centres, businesses can enjoy all the benefits of Unified Communications, without any of the associated infrastructure changes and associated costs.
All that is required is a broadband connection into our secured data centre, taking advantage of our hosted Unified Communications.
Hosted Unified Communications makes a lot of sense particularly for SMEs, which tend to have limited budgets and specialist IT telephony employees.
Here are some of the benefits you can afford by taking advantage of our hosted Unified Communications service:
Setting up an in-house Unified Communications system requires time, money, and expertise. If an SME does not have all three, their Unified Communications solution could be over before it is even started causing major complexities and disruption for any organisation.
By investing in a hosted Unified Communications solution, businesses can start benefitting instantly. Furthermore, because our hosted Unified Communications service can be tested in a demo environment before it is made available across an entire organisation, the chances of problems occurring are significantly reduced. It also provides the opportunity to try our service and see exactly what it is all about before you buy, providing you with complete peace of mind.
How would your business cope if your Unified Communications system were unavailable? The bottom line is Unified Communications system outages inevitably cause major problems for businesses
The advantage of our hosted solution is that it offers high built-in system redundancy across our secured data centres, so there is absolutely no risk of downtime and the communications platform is always available.
The number of communications devices and operating systems on the market is constantly increasing – as is the regularity of upgrades. This imposes major issues for on premises-based Unified Communications systems, which will require equally regular software upgrades and installations to keep pace.
A hosted Unified Communications service is essentially device-neutral, so it will be able to cope with the full range of components and endpoints, while system upgrades will be automatic and transparent to your business and its end users.
Having an on-site Unified Communications system requires additional administration and system management. Skilled IT staff are not cheap and will not necessarily be with the business for the long term – which in itself could also cause problems.
With a hosted Unified Communications service, there are virtually no additional administrative issues. Indeed, management time could be freed up to deal with, more important matters.
An in-house Unified Communications system will require significant financial investment, both when it comes to the equipment and software. Plus, there’s the installation and staff training costs to consider too.
Everyday Communications hosted Unified Communications service has a low upfront cost and can be easily installed with minimal disruption to your working practices. Moreover, training can be performed offline, so that legacy systems can continue to be used while your staff are getting up to speed. A gradual deployment schedule also enables the Unified Communications system to be implemented at a pace that suits your organisation.
Always opt for a hosted UC solution that’s tried, tested and trusted
There are lots of hosted Unified Communications offerings on the market, but it is important to establish exactly what is being offered. This is because, for reasons of cost and administrative simplicity, some hosted services only offer a limited range of Unified Communications capabilities. You should always be fully aware of exactly what you are getting as a service before you commit to purchasing to avoid any nasty surprises later.
Our Unified Communications service is comprehensive, reliable, and professionally managed 24/7. It is based on the well-established and reliable Cisco Jabber desktop application, enabling full Unified Communications, involving instant messaging, and cross-company collaboration. It can also be fully integrated with Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams which enables online meetings, and videoconferencing.
Voicemail is incorporated, users can access their messages while on the move, and video-calling is also a feature associated. Single-number reach, which enables multiple devices to ring simultaneously, is a feature that will be of interest to CEO of any organisation.
Customers will be able to use these secure connections for voice and videoconferencing, with instant messaging using iPhones, iPads, and desktop clients. Detailed billing and call recording are provided, enabling simplified and effective cost-control.
Experience in the market demonstrates that the full range of benefits and cost savings only result when a Unified Communications system is correctly implemented, which is why a hosted service is often the best option – especially for SMEs. Our hosted solution is flexible to suit the needs of the business and also scalable, to allow for future development. For a growing business, this is a considerable benefit, one that is maximised by the fact that zero on-site equipment is needed. It also means that applications can be added or changed to suit the changing needs of the business.
As we have outlined, Unified Communications systems are immensely powerful business tools. They open entirely new ways of working, faster decision making, more efficient supply-chain management and increased productivity.
However, inertia and the cost of changing legacy systems are potential barriers to these benefits. But a hosted Unified Communications service will bypass those barriers, quickly and without risk to the organisation’s day-to-day operation.