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Top 5 things to consider when choosing a Unified Communications solutions



Business continuity and total cost of ownership are vital drivers influencing a shift in moving to a hosted Unified Communication (UC) solution, and there was a 159% increase in people working remotely from 2005 to 2017. Add in the current Covid-19 pandemic, which has pushed businesses into a corner, forcing the use of outdated and rigid on-premise solutions or freemium platforms as a stop-gap, the need for a true Unified Communication platform has never been greater.


Operational benefits include the reduction of IT service tickets and streamlining business processes’, whilst users will benefit from enhanced team collaboration and a simplified communication platform, resulting in higher productivity. 85% of businesses have reported that remote working has improved productivity, and 65% have chosen flexible remote solutions to reduce costs.


However, with multiple solutions currently available on the market today, it can be hard and time-consuming to identify the correct platform to meet your business needs. We have therefore listed below our top 5 things to consider when deploying a hosted UC platform.


1. User Experience

User adoption should be considered the primary goal when deploying a new solution, and the key to this is user experience (UX). When choosing a UC (Unified Communications) solution, make sure to pay close attention to user workflows, ensuring a simple and effective way to achieve the business goal. Most UC solutions have a rich feature set, but make sure to apply these to real-life scenarios within your business to understand how they can improve the user experience.


In addition to this, a consistent interface across multiple devices, whether that be a Windows PC or Mac through to a mobile device will help drive adoption. Ideally, the solution should have a simple, intuitive application that is familiar when switching between devices to avoid confusion.


2. Integrations

Deploying a new solution should enhance existing business applications, not compete with them. A new UC solution can potentially integrate with other platforms such as CRM systems, Service/ticketing desks, accountancy and finance applications along with mailbox providers such as Microsoft and Google. Selecting a solution that has close integrations with these applications will not only enrich the experience of the new UC deployment but also of those critical business applications that are already in place.


3. Network Requirements

When implementing any new application, it's essential your network can handle the added traffic. The last thing you want to do is bring your network to a grinding halt. With this in mind, make sure you consider the bandwidth required to run the application and also peak concurrency of the solution. Some platforms are considered bandwidth-heavy in comparison to others, so pay close attention to this. Overlooking this could result in poor user experience and reduced adoption of the service.


4. Support/SLA/Downtime

The foundation of a great solution is the support it is built upon. Make sure you consider the SLA’s put in place by the provider because when something goes wrong, it’s imperative you have the support in place to find a quick resolution. Looking at uptime data and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) will give you a good idea of the solutions support credentials.


5. Scalability/Flexibility

The ability to scale licenses based on demand allows you to consume and pay for active licenses and avoid being oversubscribed. This is particularly useful for seasonal variances and when adding new users to the solution. Hand in hand with this is the flexibility of the solution to be able to administer MAC’s (moves, adds, changes) quickly and effectively. With these considered, TCO will be reduced.


Summary

The shift from on-premise communication systems to a hosted unified approach is now more important than ever due to the need to enable remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope this article gives you a point of reference when evaluating a hosted UC solution.


This article intends to provide you with an unbiased overview of important factors to consider when evaluating UC solutions, and the omission of specific vendors is by design. INNOVANT Consulting work with a number of Gartner Magic Quadrant (see here) manufacturers so for more info/support, please get in touch on 01442 734 391 or email enquiries@innovantconsulting.co.uk.

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