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What to Consider When Vetting a UC Solution Provider

Decisions

Unified Communications (TMCnet) by Donna Wenk

More than ever, businesses are acknowledging the benefits of outsourcing their communication solutions management to an expert third party by considering the switch from legacy premise-based communication systems to cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions.  UC integrates traditional telephony solutions with other communications and productivity applications on the Internet protocol (IP) network enabling a myriad of capabilities including email, audio, Web and a video conferencing, company-wide chat, presence, file sharing and more. While these advanced features encourage operational efficiencies, they also increase infrastructure complexity, which is why it is important to understand that not all cloud-based, hosted UC solutions are created equally easy to use or secure.

Before partnering with a UC provider, there are important distinctions and variations among service providers that agents need to be aware of.  As a trusted advisor, agents need to assure their clients that their employees will be able to easily use the UC features and that the company’s sensitive data is in the hands of a reputable UC provider. Consider the following important set of criteria before creating your partnership.

Usability and User Centricity

Outdated communications systems are difficult for the average employee to operate, which leaves many features unused. Agents must choose to work with a cloud UC system that meets the need for ease of use, or else their clients will never see the benefits of advanced UC features. If a solution is not intuitive and user-centric, the migration will be a failure and the entire shift to UC will prove to be a wasted effort with a solution no better than the legacy system.

Ease of use is critical to achieving the end-user adoption desired and reducing any potential resistance to change. Therefore, the desktop and mobile user interfaces need to be intuitive, providing easy access to the UC solution’s features and capabilities. A centralized dashboard will allow individuals to manage their preferences and settings from anywhere. For example, employees can determine colleagues’ availability, or presence, at a glance and set up call forwarding or mobile-twinning within a moment’s notice to ensure that a call is never missed. Administrators can add new users with the click of a button when onboarding new hires. This ease of access and ability to self-manage streamlines the use of technology, reducing hassle and immediately increasing productivity. Look for a user-friendly interface that will help make both novice and “power users” more efficient, and lessen the burden on IT staff.

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