By Michelle Accardi, Star2Star
The move to implement unified communications (UC) has gained momentum among businesses of every size thanks to its demonstrable ROI: UC offers CapEx savings, operational streamlining, support for mobile and remote employees, and productivity gains through better collaboration. Make it your New Year’s resolution to evaluate UC for your specific business requirements in 2018.
Here are the top five criteria to consider when thinking about your 2018 resolutions for UC:
No. 1: What’s Under The Hood?
Plenty of UC systems offer pretty interfaces, bright colors, and cool graphics—but what’s really driving the applications? While an intuitive user experience is important, it’s also critical to remember that UC functionality can be the lifeblood of your business. What happens if employees can’t access features or customer service information such as trouble-ticket histories? What if the whole system has an outage? Is there a strategy for coping with these kinds of failures?
With that in mind, it’s important to consider the level of uptime and service level guarantees that are built into your prospective UC system.
No. 2: A Proven Track Record For Scalability
In addition to under-the-hood configurations for uptime and reliability, it’s also crucial to consider whether the platform is proven and scalable.
A platform that does well supporting 20 employees in one location may do a great job, but what experience does it have supporting businesses globally, or in larger numbers? It’s often useful to request case studies or references to gain a clearer understanding of what kind of heavy lifting a company’s technology is able to do. Depending on your company profile, you’ll want to ensure that whatever platform you choose can scale both domestically and globally for your business.
No. 3: Feature Set
UC continues to evolve, and collaboration features need to adapt to demographic trends. It is important to select a UC provider that updates its platform on a regular basis and makes good on its roadmap.
Most UC platforms can provide voice, email, and chat—but how about mobile, video, or social media inputs? Are all of these features available in a centralized view? Are click-to-call, chat, videoconferencing, etc. part of the functionality? Is it possible to start out with a chat and then escalate to a phone call or a similar path?
Depending on your needs, you may want to find a platform that integrates easily with third-party software via open API environments, whether that’s with known platforms like Salesforce, or a homegrown system.
In all cases, ease of use—both on the administration and the user side—should be a top criterion. If the features are enabled but too difficult to learn how to use easily, the broadness of the platform becomes a moot point.
No. 4: White-Glove Service
Along with the technical features and functionality offered, the kind of customer service and support that backs UC up can be just as important. A lot of companies can spin up a compelling technology, but if there’s an issue, you’ll want to rest easy that they have your back.
White-glove service starts with implementation—the system should be implemented properly and in a timely fashion, and any issues that come up, especially in the first 60 days, should be resolved quickly. And that stellar service should continue throughout the life of the platform.
Your 2018 Resolutions Start Now
These are but a few considerations to take into account when you adopt a UC platform. Make a New Year’s resolution to move to UC in 2018—and be sure to ask the right questions and arm yourself with information along the way.