A Unified Communications (UC) platform is considered the frontline for enterprise productivity, and the beauty of this cloud technology is its simplicity. But that effortless ingenuity is often sharply contrasted by complex deployment processes. It’s very easy to overshadow the benefits of UC with the complicated installation. In fact, delivering a solution and service experience that’s as unified as the name suggests can be difficult. Here’s how to keep UC simple.
Know your enemy and beware of visibility problems
Simple UC requires fast and easy implementation, changes, and updates. Most importantly, it demands the ability to manage the UC service in real-time. The enemy of this simplicity lies in disconnected systems and people. Success rides largely on your ability to connect the plethora of technologies, systems, and parties involved.
The core problem for UC is IT complexity. It’s not uncommon for CIOs to have a range of
different phones/devices as well as different PBX and contact center technologies operating over multiple networks and interacting with multiple cloud apps from different providers. This fragmentation doesn’t make for good visibility; therefore, IT can’t effectively manage and troubleshoot. And many times, the UC investment doesn’t solve the visibility problem- -it makes it worse–adding another layer of complexity to the already arduous puzzle.
Simplifying UC: build a single cooperative for end-to-end control
This fragmentation explains why forward-thinking leaders use the UC investment as an opportunity to unite all critical communications systems into a single cooperative for extreme transparency. Executives who leverage cloud communications to disrupt their industries typically take total ownership of three technology ecosystems:
Corporate communications systems
Contact center communications systems
The IT network(s) that support all communications applications
This strategy helps align all three ecosystems with real-time analytics and on-demand service control tools. The result is complete control over the end-to-end technology and IT architecture that supports communications. This way, executives can protect the quality of all communications–both internal and external.
Simple UC: designs, approaches, and strategies
If you’re moving toward a hybrid WAN environment you reach this pinnacle of simplicity, there are best practices in strategy, design, and technical capacity. Let’s take a look at each.
Technical capabilities for UC simplicity
A single view of your entire network performance is the first requirement, as this removes visibility problems and assures rapid optimization. Bandwidth utilization, application prioritization capabilities, and dynamic traffic routing tools can help put network resources where they’re needed most. Also, communications and IT managers find that tools allowing them to proactively schedule bandwidth boosts just before global video conferences are equally helpful.
Design and implementation approaches that support UC simplicity
Beyond network traffic management tools, deployment flexibility and rapid responsiveness are key.
Hybrid cloud methods: Most enterprises can’t abandon their legacy communications systems, using a rip-and-replace approach. But they can combine their existing systems with UC cloud services to better balance cost and risk. Hybrid cloud deployment methods make this possible, giving CIOs a phased approach in moving to a fully hosted model– migrating one application and location at a time on a timeline that aligns with their retiring PBX systems.
An all-inclusive approach: Given the work overload today, many CIOs prefer a fully managed UC service that includes dedicated resources for implementation and ongoing network service monitoring as well as security monitoring. A provider that represents “one throat to choke” when problems surface makes not only the solution simpler but the customer experience far superior.
Doing more with fewer partners: More vendors and providers amount to added complexity that can be avoided. Interoperability issues are reduced or eliminated with a bundled UC solution that proactively integrates services. In some scenarios, you can narrow the list of players to just two–the UC manufacturer and an all-encompassing IT services provider.
Making everyone happy with a simple solution
Part of simplicity is finding a solution that can meet the needs of customers, users, and executives alike–when in fact each of those groups wants something different.
Executives have shifting business strategies. Consider an acquisition strategy that needs to get new users online quickly or a digital transformation strategy that needs to connect a large list of endpoints/devices or even a cost-savings initiative that needs to switch from private to public network connectivity.
Meanwhile, users want the same quality of service no matter where they are on the planet. Delivering real-time voice to a global enterprise is easier when your network guarantees consistent service worldwide.
Providers focused on software-defined IT agility and SD-WAN will easily accommodate everyone’s needs and empower digital transformation journeys. When change is constant, keep UC simple.