In an age when effective communications is a major key to business success, unified communications (UC) tools are taking those benefits to the next level. UC tools allow companies and employees to collaborate with clients and colleagues anywhere, using various devices and incorporating advanced services.
While a move to UC tools seems like an easy decision, there are costs to consider prior to deployment. The actual cash cost of purchasing hardware, software, and systems to facilitate UC is obvious. But there are other costs that are not as obvious or easy to spot during the deployment process.
Following are several examples of unexpected costs that might come up during a UC deployment or after a system has been implemented.
Today’s business environment is increasingly mobile and less likely to be contained within the four walls of a physical office. Installing UC in an office environment where the endpoints are known and fixed is relatively simple. When remote or home-based employees are added to the equation, there may be increased costs associated with optimizing remote equipment to support collaboration.
In addition, employees are increasingly using their personal devices to conduct business in the office and in the field. Bring your own device (BYOD) situations can add to the number of endpoints that require UC tools and support, which can add complexity to a deployment and increase costs beyond expectations.
UC tools bring a variety of cutting-edge services and capabilities that may be useless if the underlying network and infrastructure can’t support them. For example, many UC deployments focus on adding video capabilities that enhance collaboration. But videos require screens that can take up unanticipated space and demand bandwidth that may have to be reallocated.
Network management tools are typically needed to prioritize resources. UC tools have also caused an explosion in demand for storage and archiving resources, as companies often want to record UC sessions.
In some cases, the potential hidden costs associated with network upgrades and increased storage demands will prompt a company to explore the option of using a cloud-based service model for UC. This type of service model has its own set of costs to consider.
There is hidden value in analyzing employee usage of UC tools to bolster productivity, but many companies fall short of capitalizing on these analytics benefits. Investment is needed in deploying the right analytics tools for those who can take the sometimes overwhelming volume of data and turn it into useful, actionable information.
Protecting the company network and assets from cyber attacks keeps IT administrators up at night. The introduction of any new hardware, software, or tool to a network opens up new entry points for viruses and malware.
Home-based and remote employees often use public Internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile devices to access company networks. UC sessions also frequently extend to third party networks outside the company’s control. Many UC sessions involve Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which is considered vulnerable to cyber threats.
These vulnerabilities create costs, not only in the actual cost to fight cyber threats, but also those associated with potential data loss and system downtime that could occur with a cyber attack.
Balancing the Budget
UC tools generate actual and often unforeseen benefits, but come with the potential for unanticipated hard and soft costs. Understanding these potential hidden costs is key to absorbing them with minimal interruption to business process and less stress for IT departments. Contact Worldnet to learn how to avoid hidden UC costs.