It’s a well-known fact that the majority of an iceberg lies below the surface – the same can be said for the typical Unified Communication (UC) implementation and environment. On top of the features and functionality we all love –voice and video conferencing, mobile apps and IM – when you look at the UC platform you’re considering, there’s a lot of other technology ‘below the surface’ that makes a UC platform tick. The problem with the ‘below-the-surface’ UC components? It’s complex stuff! Procuring reliable bandwidth across all office locations, building a robust and flexible network, juggling MPLS-alternatives like SD-WAN, finding backup solutions like 4G LTE, all takes time and expertise. There are multiple contracts, providers, and technologies to consider.
As a company leader, you’re also being asked to do this with more on your plate. Additionally, there are fewer people within your organization that you can count on to help. It’s not that your team isn’t dedicated. Far from it! In reality, everyone is being asked to do more with less. There’s a major skills gap many IT organizations are fighting. Finding, training, and retaining high-caliber talent that has the skills you need is a significant effort. Managing core IT services, including running applications, the network, and server components for your on-prem and hybrid environment is a challenge – to say the least. Now, what happens when you want to take on a big-time UC project? Bringing together all the telecom pieces to power a seamless UC solution is likely to sink your stretched-thin in-house IT team.
So what are forward-thinking companies doing today to overcome these obstacles and focus on strategic objectives? How are they balancing their need for UC solutions to drive productivity with their lack of internal resources and expertise to run them? It’s all about the cloud, folks! By leveraging a cloud-hosted UC solution, customers can rebalance how they’re spending their time and money and get focused on their core IT objectives. By moving to a consumption-based model with a Unified Communications-as-a-Service, teams can direct their internal IT resources at strategic initiatives and outsource the rest to UC experts. Finding the right UC solution along with a team to help you, architect, implement, and manage your voice and network solutions, is one of the best ways to stretch your IT budget, plan for a less stressful UC transition, and to become more competitive.
Beyond features and functionality
While you may be ready for UCaaS, there’s still a lot to consider. A reliable network architecture is critical for a UC platform so that it powers a seamless and productive user experience. The IT infrastructure also needs to be scalable enough to manage the demands of users at branch offices and a remote or mobile workforce who wants to use the applications on the go. Does the UC platform enable conferencing, instant messaging, video calling, and chat options from smartphones, tablets, or laptops? If the platform has this functionality you want but your telecom infrastructure can’t keep up, you won’t be getting the full value from your UCaaS solution.
Don’t hurt UC goodwill you’ve built
One of the most common challenges of a UC implementation is running the solution over the public internet. The even so-called business-class internet can leave users frustrated with lack of reliability of calls and degradation of service when it comes to video conferencing, for example. Dedicated data connectivity, including direct peering to a cloud exchange, is one to ensure UC capabilities won’t be impacted by ‘shared’ bandwidth resources. Along those lines, converging communication platforms onto your company’s network, without upgrading your bandwidth and your network upfront can be hard to recover from. Think about it: there can often be a backlash from users if a UCaaS platform is deployed and released and there are quality or performance issues from the get-go. Your core users, and perhaps your executive team may start to voice concerns about the deployment. Or, it may bolster everyone’s inherent resistance to new tools and change. One of the smartest steps organizations can take when looking at their UCaaS options and additional services, is to look for a technology partner that can provide comprehensive support. A UCaaS partner can deliver a comprehensive network assessment before your UCaaS implementation, and can offer guidance on traffic needs, bandwidth estimates, backup solutions, and can perform a proper LAN analysis.
Know where you’ve been, so you know where you’re headed
An organization needs to also consider how to reconcile disparate networks and services, which may have happened during a merger, or when adding branch offices. A unified voice solution requires taking a holistic approach to UCaaS and finding a partner that can help with everything from the features and functionality to the network infrastructure running behind the scenes. If you have questions about what’s below the tip of an UC iceberg, talk to Telapprise! With our UC and telecom expertise, we’ll help you find more hours in the day for focusing on your day job and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll implement and optimize the right unified communications ecosystem, on top of deploying the best UC solution possible for your business!