Today’s mobile workforce expects easy access from varied devices for communication, collaboration and productivity tools. Fortunately, today’s Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) providers offer up an integrated solution for this on one telephony platform. Voice, video and Web conferencing, presence, instant messaging, CRM integration, desktop sharing, one-to-one video from handset to handset, email integration, emergency response notifications, text, fax and sometimes more… all bundled into one service and hosted in the cloud.
Can you believe that what was once viewed as a necessary evil and an overhead expense—the business phone system—has now evolved into an irreplaceable productivity and collaboration tool? This ain’t your daddy’s old business phone system. With the advent of VoIP, and now UCaaS, your phone system can integrate way more, but may not even include any new on-premise equipment, including handsets.
Often, I see business leaders and IT executives enter the buyer journey for a new phone system with little-to-no interest in how it might help their business. Remember… necessary evil. Then, to top it all off, they want to go lean on their bandwidth too. Why any business leader would go skimpy on communications and Internet in today’s connectivity and cloud-dependent business environment is beyond me. But I digress… haha. Back to UCaaS.
When we initiate a conversation with a client about a new VoIP phone system, we begin by talking about UCaaS, and how the right solution can improve the way you collaborate, simplify workflow and increase productivity. There are many steps that lead to successful deployment. And, by deployment, I don’t simply mean, “it works.” I mean it works as the business-enabling tool it was intended to be, and it is fully utilized by your workforce.
Here are 3 key considerations to make that happen:
- Assessment – Understand your core needs. Learn about the technology possibilities that exist with UCaaS and cloud communications. Talk to each department within the organization and challenge them to break the mold and think about what could be, not the way it’s always been.
- Network, Network, Network – Understand your network. Inventory your systems and their inherent demands on the network. Plan for plenty of capacity. Data consumption is exploding and will only continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Understand your perimeter and the new access points created. Build in network security and redundancy.
- Train – Plain and simple… make training on your new system mandatory. No excuses. Too often, I see “skipped” training sessions and a lack of engagement. This “mandatory” must come from the top down to promote widespread buy-in and engagement in the process. The “skippers” (not defined as the leaders in this case) invariably contend the new system doesn’t work. Oh, it works (provided it was implemented correctly) … they just don’t know how to use it.
If you have a younger workforce, consider this. You want to make a millennial a happy employee? Make them mobile. Make it easy. Make it collaborative. And, of course, for your protection, make it secure. Regardless of your workforces’ demographic makeup, they will all be happy when they are enabled, collaborative and productive.
What about CCaaS?
Cloud telephony is inherently more flexible and collaborative than traditional, on-premise solutions. As a result, the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) model allows inbound and outbound call centers to be much more agile, while also providing agents with “omni-channel” communication abilities. Today’s hyper-connected world requires a single platform that includes voice, chat, SMS, video, email, etc. It also requires integration with business-critical applications such as a CRM or ERP.
CCaaS can be a game changer for service-oriented organizations. Imagine communications with customers via their preferred platform, where online chatbots can funnel inquiries to the proper agent, or a life-like interactive voice response IVR system can communicate with customers and solve their problems.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sentiment Analysis (SA) are already entering the CCaaS foray. SA utilizes AI to detect emotions in speech and texts. At the end of the day, CCaaS is a customer-experience solution that is essential for high-velocity, inbound and outbound call centers.