The communications field has had a rapid growth in the past few years, adding in wider solutions and new technologies to meet increased data needs. This can be confusing to companies in the beginning stages of purchasing Unified Communications (UC) systems.
Here are the six main issues to keep in mind when upgrading communications systems:
- Initial research
- Knowledgeable staff
- Multiple global locations
- Focusing on the long term
- Necessary and unnecessary features
- Effective security
The complex nature of UC infrastructure can lead to high initial costs. Smaller businesses and businesses with less capital may find that the up-front investment is too significant to work within their budget. Fortunately, by researching before committing to a solution, businesses can see what’s available, what will work for their company, and be affordable.
Businesses should be aware that technology can change very rapidly, and IT professionals may not be able to keep up with the new demands. Retraining existing employees can be time-consuming and expensive, but a business can mitigate some of this cost by hiring flexible staff for the initial team. This means that the employees hired to support the UC solution should be capable of adjusting quickly to an increasingly mobile workforce, as well as be knowledgeable about video conferencing, instant messaging, and more.
Multiple Global Locations
Some industries, such as banking and hospitality, often have multiple locations on a global scale. This can lead to issues where the communications system at one location is incompatible with the system at a different location. Managing all communications under one vendor is preferable; having multiple vendors can not only be expensive, but also lead to a drop in quality of service.
Focus on the Long Term
It may seem easier to choose the least expensive solution, but businesses must keep future needs in mind when choosing a UC system. The goals that the business is working towards, in terms of growth and competitive advantage, should be kept in mind when choosing a vendor.
Each business is unique and has different business and client needs. There is a wide array of offerings from vendors, but unnecessary features can distract the IT department and create customer confusion. Before choosing a vendor, businesses should discover and detail their unique needs. This will enable them to choose the vendor with the best-suited features and services.
Security is an extremely important part of a UC network. While an on-premise solution may seem like the most secure, this isn’t always true. Businesses looking to increase their security-especially smaller businesses-may find it easier to choose a hosted option where a vendor provides the security.
Hosted options as a whole are often a good way for a business to have the UC system that they need and want, without having to handle it all internally. A hosted solution can cut down on costs, increase security, consolidate communications networks across all locations, and support mobile employees.
Although a UC system may initially seem cost prohibitive and complex, businesses will be able to decide what works best for them if they do their research, know future goals, and work with knowledgeable professionals, both inside and outside the company.