With unified communications simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Demand for unified communications (UC) is rising sharply across the board, with research showing the market will reach $96 billion by 2023

With unified communications simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

A software-based UC solution not only makes the technology easier to use, but it also encourages employee adoption

 

Businesses are looking to maximise productivity not only by consolidating their communications, but by facilitating flexible and remote working so employees can work from anywhere at any time, usually more productively than in an office.

To ensure a smooth transition to UC and maximise the efficiency gains it provides, IT administrators need to make sure adoption is as easy as possible: not just for the business itself, but for end users.

If the chosen solution isn’t comprehensive, user-friendly and secure, company-wide adoption will be slow and may cause more headaches than it cures.

United combination

As with any other technology, simplicity is key. It’s much easier for the organisation if IT administrators can access all the UC capabilities they and their end-users need in a single, comprehensive package.

If organisations create their own UC package with solutions from a multitude of different vendors, IT staff will need to manage a variety of software.

>See also: The evolution of enterprise communications

This not only increases legwork but also costs as the cost of purchasing and managing multiple licenses will soon add up. Taking a multi-vendor approach also runs the risk of encouraging ‘Shadow IT’.

If employees feel that a capability they desire is missing, or don’t feel that part of the package suits them, they are more likely to use unauthorised applications to supplement the solution.

If IT administrators only need to work on a single web-based console, while users only need to familiarise themselves with one interface, it removes any interoperability issues that may arise when companies adopt bundled solutions for separate features.

User convenient

It’s not enough for a UC solution to be comprehensive, it also needs to be user-friendly – for both end-users and IT staff.

If the technology is awkward or inconvenient to use, staff will be reluctant to adopt it, or encouraged to seek out their own solutions. At the other end of the scale, IT teams will need to invest costly time and resources to make it practical.

To simplify UC for IT administrators, companies need a solution that supplies and manages all UC functions automatically, while providing the most proficient operability for end users.

This needs to include interoperability with existing IT systems. A UC suite that demands its own bespoke hardware and software in order to operate can be a nightmare for IT administrators to integrate; especially if the suite contains multiple, disparate solutions.

Ultimately, the organisation needs to be very certain that the benefits of UC are worth it. If simplicity is the goal, it will be easier to look for a suite that is entirely software-based, and runs on mainstream operating systems; reducing compatibility issues and making installation simpler.

Furthermore, if the suite is entirely software-based, this removes the need to purchase and integrate additional hardware, which not only makes life simpler for IT staff, but also makes upgrades and maintenance faster and lower-cost.

>See also: Top 5 collaboration and communication predictions for 2017

A software-based UC solution not only makes the technology easier to use, but it also encourages employee adoption.

End-users are already familiar with accessing instant messaging, social media and other functions through applications on smart devices.

The more the services that constitute a UC suite resemble these applications employees already choose to use, the easier it will be for them to adapt.

Conversely, if any UC services aren’t user-friendly and practical for staff to use, they will be reluctant to adopt the company approved solution and will keep defecting to personal apps.

Under control

The use of unapproved applications to compliment a UC solution can cause major problems for IT, as administrators can’t secure these services or manage sensitive information transferred through them.

If IT can’t secure communication services or devices, it could expose the entire network to attackers.

Attackers who gain access to a UC solution through unprotected touchpoints can steal sensitive information and make calls to premium telephone numbers for profit.

These attacks are not only costly, reversing any productive gains acquired through UC, but can also cause long term damage to reputation.

If employees don’t have confidence in the security of a UC solution, they will be hesitant to adopt the service and may try to use unapproved applications they trust, even if IT administrators don’t.

>See also: Are workers ready for the workplace of the future?

The most basic form of UC security is to limit access to approved solutions. This can be done by adopting procedures for registration validation, but if companies adopt a UC solution that is both complete and practical, it negates the need for staff to use unapproved applications.

Unburden colleagues

If the UC solution implemented is comprehensive, user-friendly and secure, it will encourage companywide adoption and reduce the burden on IT staff to promote uptake.

The burden on IT staff is also further alleviated if the solution is software-based, as it enables administrators to install it with the hardware and software they already have at their disposal.

This not only removes the danger of vendor lock-in, but also means additional lines can be added easily, further simplifying UC. T

his simplicity contributes to a smooth transition from traditional to digital communications, maximising the efficiency gains delivered through UC.

 

Sourced by Paul Clarke, UK manager at 3CX

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