Considerations for the enterprise decision maker
As a Leader in your organization, you’re tasked with choosing a communications system that will excel in performance and also make financial sense. Through this process, you must work with your internal IT staff to decide how to: fix any existing communication gaps; improve connectivity between company locations; and present the comprehensive solution to the executive team for approval.
Business drivers for enterprise cloud-based Unified Communications
Once you begin reviewing your company’s current and future corporate communications plan, it is important to break down the various pieces of the communications puzzle and figure out how to pull them together into a solution that will best fit your enterprise.
Begin by determining the answers to these key questions to identify the key elements that will form the foundation of your business communications plan:
» Which advanced phone features will help build your business?
Think about the features below; perhaps features like these could benefit and grow your business?
- Auto-attendants – used to ensure that no call goes unanswered
- Video or web conferencing – used to quickly connect with clients and vendors across the globe to discuss and share time-sensitive data
- Single number reach – seamlessly extending communications outside company walls
- Customized hunt groups – ensuring that every contact made to the company gets routed to the correct person
» Are desk phones required for every user? Does it make sense to incorporate soft phones?
Would a software client that provides presence information as well as online directories and chat features be of benefit to certain employees? What about having the ability to make corporate calls from home or while traveling, with in-office features and capabilities? Sales representatives or call center staff members may be prime candidates for softphones or at least the features that this type of client or web-based software package can provide.
» Are staffing shortages making it difficult to maintain current services?
Staff cuts, attrition, and skills gaps in an IT department can negatively impact your level of service for voice, data, and video. Instead of looking to fill those gaps with new hires, it may make sense to offer communications tools to current support staff that enable them to work remotely and while on the go. And of course, hosted solution providers can alleviate the pressure to keep telecommunications skillsets in house.
» Is your enterprise expanding beyond its current infrastructure?
Opening new locations can be challenging; however, this process can also provide an opportunity to revamp your communications infrastructure. A cloud-based platform offers customization and scalability while avoiding potential expenses like interoffice communications charges. Hosted communications solutions also work to deliver a consistent set of services across the enterprise.
» Has your organization recently undergone a merger or acquisition?
After a merger or acquisition, it is common for an enterprise to be faced with the issue of maintaining dissimilar communications networks and systems. In most cases, the sheer cost of maintaining these networks is reason enough to look towards a Unified Communications solution. Cloud-based systems can easily fit into heterogeneous environments, saving you the cost of “ripping-and-replacing” those networks with an entirely new solution.
» Does your enterprise plan to divest or spin off a business unit?
Companies looking to divest a business group or division have to separate communications networks and extract corporate data where appropriate. In many cases, the most cost-effective approach is to replace the current infrastructure with a fully-managed solution that can be deployed without heavy capital investment, and implemented with minimal impact to the day-to-day running of the business.
Implementing your enterprise Unified Communications Solution
Once all the pieces have been identified, it’s time to pull them all together to create your finished business communications plan. While reviewing which hosted communications vendor to partner with, take a look at these aspects to ensure the pieces of your communications plan will be assembled efficiently and properly.
»Infrastructure Strength – to ensure success select a company that is an industry leader, with a distributed, scalable, reliable, and redundant unified communications infrastructure. Be sure that the system is built on a proven architecture, appropriate for the size of the business.
A typical corporate network, built piecemeal over a number of years, can hold back the deployment of applications and services that drive business growth. So instead, select an application-aware network solution that is optimized for the delivery of real-time communications, centralized applications, and cloud-based services across the enterprise.
»Comprehensive Enterprise IP Phone System – with a hosted VoIP PBX solution combined with feature-rich IP Phones, enterprises can decrease communication costs while increasing communication functionality. To maximize productivity, the IP Phone system selected should include the following components:
- Hosted or on-premises VoIP PBX
- IP Phones with enhanced voice capabilities
- Advanced call routing and management functionality
- Secure IM and Presence tools
- Audio and Web Conferencing applications and tools
All of these options should be customizable and easily integrate with other new and existing systems and solutions. A complete and well-rounded IP phone system can provide benefits that improve enterprise collaboration and efficiency.
»End-User Communication Tools – to meet departmental and varied employee communications needs, there should be a diverse number of unified communications tools that are available, from desktop sharing and video conferencing, to unified messaging, presence, mobility, and remote connectivity.
One cloud-based collaboration option is to implement services that combine already familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications with business-class email, shared calendars, file sharing, instant messaging (IM), and video conferencing.
»Management Tools – to put executives at ease, a comprehensive tool set should be offered that provides the ability to manage end-to-end business applications, with full visibility into application performance.
Using an easy-to-use web-based portal, management should be able to monitor call flow settings, service levels, and security standards – with just a few clicks. This access enables managers to make real-time changes to the call-routing system that can improve overall customer service.
»Service and Support – last but not least, be sure that your hosted communications provider employs technical experts that supply 24 x 7 x 365 support with a level of service exceeding the expectations of the most demanding clients, and the reputation to back it up.
If any support issues arise, it is crucial to have access to technicians that are certified in both the products they support as well as the surrounding infrastructure – ensuring that whatever the issue, it will be resolved properly and efficiently.
Make sure your company ends up with an enterprise communications plan that possesses the proper pieces, and is assembled and implemented correctly, by partnering with a top enterprise VoIP provider. Be sure to select West IP Communications as your telecommunications implementation and management partner. Doing so will ensure that your enterprise will have all of the correct pieces for its communications platform – and guarantee they are implemented in a way that generates a complete Unified Communications solution – fitting every piece into its proper place.