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Posted on: December 20, 2019 By: Sage Tourigny

Advanced technology is creating new opportunities to redefine customer experiences. Businesses are applying intelligent automation, data analytics, Cloud models and mobility to create compelling and personalized engagements to sell products, build brand awareness and resolve issues.

Digital technology is also redefining call center operations. The integration of data analytics and intelligent automation enables continual data collection and analysis that yields actionable insights. Examples include segmenting and routing callers to appropriate channels in real time, or instantly providing agents with on-screen customer data, purchase history and tips on upselling strategies.

Today, call center outsourcing providers are rapidly expanding the breadth and depth of their solution portfolios of standard offerings. Competition for new customers, moreover, is intensifying giving customers in all market segments a wider range of increasingly affordable options.

Businesses considering a third-party provider of call center services should consider these five criteria:

Technology agility and flexibility: Simply investing in tools and capabilities isn’t enough. Provides should focus on a strategic approach to the integration of people, business processes and technology. The ability to leverage smart tools to offer add-on services that address unique requirements is essential. Relatedly, your provider should be able to integrate technology components and deliver a tailored solution.

Delivering insight: A customer contact center is a potential gold mine of business insight. To take advantage of that opportunity, a provider should have a strategy in place for ongoing data collection, analysis and insight generation. The ability to integrate social media analytics into service delivery models is another must, particularly for consumer-facing brands. In addition to improving the customer experience within the contact center, insights generated should be fed back to the business for broader utilization.

Measuring performance: As technology transforms call center operations, key performance indicators are similarly undergoing redefinition. Meaningful metrics that reflect business value are therefore essential. For example, Average Handle Time (AHT) has traditionally measured agent productivity. In an automated environment, however, a low AHT by human agents could mean that people are handling easy issues that should be resolved by the automation tool. Conversely, a high AHT could suggest that agents are properly focused on resolving complex issues that require time and investigation.

Location: Labor arbitrage has historically been a key driver of outsourcing. By applying process expertise and leveraging large pools of low-wage workers in specific geographies, service providers efficiently managed the delivery of a wide range of routine, administrative tasks. Customers, meanwhile, enjoyed significant cost benefits.

Today, intelligent automation is eroding that competitive advantage by making geography increasingly irrelevant. A robot can work from anywhere, and connectivity and collaboration tools are expanding opportunities for remote and home-based agents.  Location still matters, however. Notwithstanding the impact of technology innovation, providers continue to rely on traditional contact center operations. In a maturing market, meanwhile, the criteria that determine an outsourcing “hot spot” have evolved. Wage rates are becoming less essential, while access to an educated workforce is essential.

Business understanding: By outsourcing customer-facing activity, you make a service provider your brand representative. Without insight into your business, agents risk alienating customers and damaging your reputation. In other words, trusting a provider to engage with your customers is not a decision lightly taken. In assessing the ability to earn that trust, the admittedly subjective “cultural fit” factor remains important. Executives touring a call center operation can often sense if a provider will be an effective brand ambassador, one who will help increase customer loyalty. A more quantitative indicator is training – providers should ensure that agents are fully steeped in your business before engaging with customers. Constant churn among support teams is another red flag. When assessing providers, demand detailed information on agent turnover rates.

Posted on: December 13, 2019 By: Sage Tourigny

The true costs of enterprise mobility — and how (and why) they should be overcome.

Download your free copy of this helpful white paper and get insights into the cost challenges posed by creating and managing enterprise mobility, as well as potential solutions.

The growth in the popularity of Enterprise Mobility solutions is driven by the number of benefits that business can realize through the adoption of such solutions.

However, even with all the benefits current Enterprise Mobility solutions offer enterprises, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) can be both costly and complex — and definitely requires a business to do its due diligence when considering solutions.  

This white paper examines the cost challenges of implementing and managing an Enterprise Mobility solution, and how enterprises might be able to overcome them.

Learn about managing enterprise mobility costs like

  • Connectivity
  • Help Desk Support
  • IT Requirements
  • Security
  • Guaranteeing security for your mobile devices

Posted on: December 9, 2019 By: Sage Tourigny

By Rebecca Rosen

The holiday season is here.  In preparation for food, fun and family, our customers need to communicate their special hours of business to their customers.

It is a great time of year to reengage with your customers and help them get the most out of their phone systems during the holidays. Whether it’s sharing extended or shortened hours or communicating any closures, this extra step ensures a better customer experience and helps your clients minimize the effect of the holidays on their customers – and hopefully maximize their time.

Let’s start with the phone system:

  • Update voicemail greetings. Holidays equal time off with family and friends. Businesses can make this known to their customers by recording new voicemail greetings. Make sure their employees record new messages that include how long they will be away, when they will return, and who to contact in the meantime. In some cases, they might want to forward calls to their cell phones.

 

  • Make the most of mobile apps. Just because the office is closed during the holidays doesn’t mean customers can’t reach human beings. Mobile apps that connect business phone lines to smart phones are ideal for people who still want to be reached outside of posted business hours. Using mobile apps, employees can take important business calls no matter where they are. They can also forward calls, view transcriptions of voicemails, record calls and store them for later.

 

  • Change automated attendant greetings. Another very important way to communicate special holiday hours is via a business phone system’s automated attendant greeting. Remind your clients they can record a new automated attendant greeting with updated hours. If they’re closing offices or locations for blocks of time, they can record a second greeting for customers informing them of when they will reopen, and, if appropriate, how they can get help in the meantime.

Moving beyond their phones, sharing their hours these additional methods help:

 

  • Send a holiday-themed email. Email is still one of the most effective communication methods in marketing. Encourage your clients to send an email communicating their special holiday hours to their customers. Whether it’s a holiday-themed newsletter or a single email, this email is also a great opportunity to share a special holiday message, important shipping and/or return information, or details about a time-sensitive sale.

 

  • Update their website or webstore. Business hours are usually shared online, so it’s important to remind your clients to update this information everywhere customers can find them online. This is important for all businesses, but especially for e-commerce companies that rely on the web for all their sales. They can also time this update with a special holiday-themed website banner, headline or temporary holiday pop-up.

 

  • Share via social media and third-party websites. Along with updating their websites, companies should also share special hours via social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and other channels. Social media updates are a wonderful opportunity to not only share special hours, but also remind shoppers that their business is open and ready for the holidays. Third-party sites such as Yelp and Foursquare should also be updated with special holiday hours. Finally, remind your customers to update their Google My Business

 

Taking the time to remind your clients to update their holiday hours shows you care, and that you’re on top of the industry best practices. Helping them plan and implement these ideas will save them time and stress during a busy shopping season and might even help improve their sales.

Would you like to learn more about Broadvoice or the Broadvoice Partner Program? Click here to catch up with your local Broadvoice channel contacts.

Posted on: November 5, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Wireless Watchdogs Q4 2019 Features Release

At Wireless Watchdogs, it’s our mission to always be working on behalf of our customers to give you more savings and greater efficiencies. In line with that mission, we’re proud to announce that we’ve just released several platform enhancements designed to take your mobility management to a whole new level, starting with a new dashboard interface that you can access by clicking the Dashboard menu item on the left of your portal.

The dashboard incorporates a variety of new features, the most significant of which are listed here.

Dashboard Defaults and Features

The initial view of the dashboard is designed to provide you with high-level information about your company’s current bill cycle, with information from all of your wireless carriers. Need more specific information about a particular carrier, or previous billing cycles? You can drill down on those areas as need be. This default view can also be easily changed according to your preferences.

Group Usage

The Group Usage area shows how many devices are in your group, how many of those devices are unused, and the costs related to your devices.

Bill Comparison

The Bill Comparison area provides you information on your current costs compared to the previous month’s costs, to help ensure your billing stays in line.

My Devices

The My Devices area will show you all your lines, which can be filtered to show lines with no exceptions, line with exceptions (more on that in the next section), and lines that have had no usage in the given period. You can also click any phone number to get detailed usage information on that line, including what numbers were called and for how long.

Usage Rules Manager

The Usage Rules Manager, accessed from the Settings menu on the left of your portal, allows you to create usage rules for different departments, categories, device and usage types, and more. When a line violates a rule — by using more than 2GB of data during a given period, for example — an exception is generated and the device will be shown in My Devices with a color-coded flag indicating the exception. This feature is designed to give you a way to visually see all devices that are outside of your chosen parameters, as well as to flag possible device misuse for your attention.

Learn More

As with any new feature release, it’s possible that you’ll have questions on how specific features of the dashboard work, or how best to use them. If so, we’re here to help — just contact your account manager, and we’ll work with you to be sure that you’re getting the most out of all of the new features.

Not a current Wireless Watchdogs customer, but intrigued by what you see and curious as to how you might be able to use our mobility management services to potentially save more than $10 per month, per device? Request a demo, and we’ll get you on the road to better efficiency and reduced costs in your company’s mobility implementations:

REQUEST A DEMO

Posted on: October 18, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

The Difference Between Managed Mobility Services and Mobile Device Management

 

Mobile device usage in business continues to be a growth market. And as that usage continues to grow, so too do business challenges that center around effective mobility management. How does a business ensure device security? How does it know that it’s getting the most cost-effective pricing from its mobile device carriers? And how does it cope with the added strains imposed on IT departments required to support the growing number of mobile devices?

The situation that confronts a business with growing mobile device usage is that these questions need to be addressed in order for their mobility initiatives to be cost-effective – but with little experience in mobility management, pulling all of the necessary management and support together can be extremely challenging. The solution for a business plagued with these challenges is very often to turn to an experienced third-party provider of managed mobility services (MMS) and mobile device management (MDM).

But finding a qualified provider can pose its own challenges to a business not familiar with the mobility landscape – including understanding, in the first instance, what it is they need to look for, as well as the vocabulary needed to understand the different solutions on offer from various providers.

With that in mind, we offer this look at exactly what MMS and MDM are, and how they differ from each other.

Managed Mobility Services (MMS)

Managed mobility services are concerned with managing the entire lifecycle of a company’s mobile device fleet, and have a somewhat (but not exclusively) account-based focus. At Wireless Watchdogs, for example, we can be involved with a company before the first device is ever purchased, helping them to understand what their needs and goals are and then helping them to create the policies needed to achieve those goals. We then help with the procurement, provision, and deployment of the devices they need, as well as act on their behalf as an authorized agent to the mobile carriers in order to ensure that they get the best structure and pricing available.

Once the mobile accounts are set up and the devices in place, we then provide continual monitoring in order to achieve two basic goals: That the company’s policies are adhered to, and that the accounts for those devices are always optimal in terms of price. In order to do that, we provide real-time analytics and reporting to our customers so that decision-makers always have the information they need to make informed decisions. They are the same analytics and reports that we use as we manage the accounts to ensure continual cost efficiency, and guarantee synchronicity between a company, its policies and goals, and our MMS efforts on their behalf.

As part of managing the entire device lifecycle, there’s another important service that is provided in order to optimize our customers’ mobility initiatives: Ongoing Help Desk support.

The Help Desk support is a key MMS feature because it removes the burden from a customer’s internal IT staff of having to support a potentially large number of mobile devices. Because the IT department is unlikely to be expert at supporting the mobile devices in use, supporting the devices themselves can chew up large amounts of time and resources. Further, IT departments are typically staffed and funded to support a company’s IT infrastructure, not its new mobile devices, leading to a vicious cycle whereby support all across the board suffers. By including Help Desk support as a part of mobility management services, we remove those burdens and costs from internal IT departments. It’s a win for both the IT department and the device users themselves.

Just as with ongoing Help Desk support, making sure that all mobile devices are always patched and updated is likewise an important aspect of managed mobility services. Keeping devices up to date is important in ensuring that they are always functioning as intended. But it’s especially important for securing devices– and thus, potentially, a business’s network and data – against hacking and malware attacks directed at vulnerabilities known in unpatched devices. And again, ensuring that updates reach all mobile devices could potentially place undue burdens on a company’s internal IT staff. By handing this responsibility off as part of ongoing MMS, companies again save time and money – and are more secure in the bargain.

And finally, because MMS should cover the entire device lifecycle, a device’s end of life is also an important part of those services. Our approach to device end of life as part of our managed mobility services includes ensuring that lost, stolen, or retired devices are no longer able to access networks – an important part of keeping data safe. To further ensure security, we also perform pre-recycle factory resets on retired devices, wiping them of any potentially sensitive data and applications.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

As you will have gathered, managed mobility services must necessarily have some connection to the devices themselves – but in the bigger picture, MMS is about the lifecycle as a whole.

Mobile Device Management (MDM), on the other hand, directly involves the devices themselves. MDM is typically client-server software; the MDM server is centralized and controlled by administrators, while the mobile devices are provisioned with MDM agent software – the client.

Because the MDM software sits on the device, it offers capabilities that MMS in and of itself doesn’t provide. The details vary by the particular MDM software, of course, but typically they provide enhanced security of the device itself. MDM software may, for example, allow for a device to be partitioned into personal-use and business-use silos. Partitioning a device in this manner prevents users from sharing company data on their personal accounts – and likewise prevents a user’s personal data from being shared to the company network.

Access management and identity management – and thus corporate network authentication and access – are also readily controlled through MDM software. And because proper access management is readily achievable, other features can safely be provided to end users. For example, secure file synching and sharing is an important tool with many business use cases – and is readily achievable via MDM software.

Finally, the client-server nature of MDM software allows administrators to have granular control of devices and users across their network. This is especially important in mobile deployments where different users have need of different levels of access to the company network and its resources, because it can ensure that the right users have the right access at the right time – simultaneously increasing efficiency and security.

The Sum is Greater than Its Parts

Thus, MMS is process-centric, while MDM is device-centric. It’s entirely possible to have MMS without MDM software. Likewise, some companies will choose to do an MDM implementation on their own without any other managed mobility services. But the true potential power of MMS and MDM – decreasing costs while simultaneously increasing security – is only fully unlocked when MDM software is an integrated part of managed mobility services.

At Wireless Watchdogs, we’re happy to talk with you further about the various features of both MMS and MDM. You can request a demo of our platform at any time, and see for yourself the kinds of insights that our analytics and reporting can provide.

We also offer a free, no-obligation audit of your wireless accounts. You provide us your cellular bills for the last three months, and we’ll input them into our system and then show you – again, at no cost to you – how you could be saving money every month through our managed mobility services. The savings are real – tens of thousands of dollars a month, for some of our clients. To get started and see where you could be saving, request your free audit here:

REQUEST YOUR FREE AUDIT

Posted on: October 10, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Webinar – Wednesday, October 30, 2019 @ 1 pm ET

To optimize the inherent benefits of the cloud, a growing number of enterprise businesses are adopting cloud native approaches – including containers, microservices, Kubernetes, and serverless architectures – for both new application development and legacy production applications. However, while the cloud native trend is growing, several roadblocks are impeding the enterprise’s path to successful adoption.

In this live webinar event hosted by CNSG Platinum Supplier Expedient, William Fellows, VP, Research & Co-Founder of 451 Research, and Expedient’s Chief Innovation Officer, John White, will provide an overview of the cloud native market landscape, discuss challenges and opportunities, and look at two real-world enterprise examples of cloud native in action. Reserve your spot today!

 Attendees of this webinar will learn about:

  • Trends in cloud native adoption and the push to re-platform legacy applications
  • The benefits of cloud native for enterprise businesses
  • How cloud native helps both corporate IT and DevOps
  • Infrastructure options for cloud native deployment
  • Real-world cloud native use cases

Who should attend?

CTOs, CIOs, CISOs, VPs of IT, IT Directors, IT managers, IT administrators, Cloud Architects, DevOps Engineers

 Webinar Registration

http://bit.ly/2ovT3g5

Posted on: By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Emails pile into your inbox by the dozens—or hundreds. Notifications pop up on your desktop computer and phone. So do text messages. And both your desk and mobile devices constantly ring.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone.

Sometimes we feel like we work for our communications devices, not the other way around. They pull us in all directions when we just want to get some work done. In today’s work environment, we’re challenged to be productive and effective, sometimes in spite of the technology we use.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Unified communications (UC) combined with smart, intuitive collaboration tools (UC&C) makes work easier, connecting us more efficiently with colleagues, customers and partners, all from one platform that can be accessed from any device.

Improving The Customer Experience

With UC&C, employees can connect with customers through any channel, no matter where they’re located. Envision this scenario: A customer’s flight is delayed two hours, so she misses her connection. After speaking with the gate agent, she resignedly wanders off to get a bite to eat, five gates away. Why shouldn’t she? She knows it will be a while before she’s rebooked.

In the meantime, the gate agent finds an alternative flight. He brings up the customer’s information from her reservation, finds her mobile number and, with a click, the system dials her smartphone. She answers, thrilled when the agent shares details about her new flight. After agreeing to the rebooking, she sets off to the new gate.

Improving Team Productivity

Your creative team is hard at work developing a new client’s marketing campaign. But before they can proceed, you discover they need a critical piece of information from an internal subject matter expert. Despite leaving a voicemail and sending an email, you’ve received no response. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if your colleague is even on this continent, let alone available to conference with the team?

Presence technology lets you see if the SME is available and by which means: voice, text, video or not at all. The system automatically routes calls from one number to another. On top of that, your colleague can see all communications with UC&C’s unified messaging. Whether he’s in his office, in the car or working remotely, by signing on via a shared cloud platform he sees all messages, including texts, voicemails and emails. If he’s not available, the team sees this immediately and reaches out to another colleague for the information it needs.

Improving Community Communications

It’s not only businesses that benefit from UC&C. Staff and teachers in the Lovejoy Independent School District needed a way to communicate both internally and with parents. After UC&C was implemented, they gained a phone and voice mailbox in each classroom with conferencing capabilities. One feature, the Time of Day Call Restriction, allows teachers to put the classroom phone into “meeting mode” at scheduled intervals. That way, they’re not interrupted by calls during class time.

When class is out of session, teachers easily make calls from any device, either with a single click from their contact list or by entering a name. They can also easily join conference calls. That’s particularly handy when someone can’t make a parent-teacher conference in person.

Improving Partner Collaboration

In product development today, speed to market is essential. To achieve it, employees must work efficiently with partners, involving them as early as a product’s design phase.

Imagine you’re an engineer developing a new battery for a prototype automobile. You need to collaborate with the vendors supplying the necessary parts. UC&C provides tools that not only let you manage the project – setting tasks, scheduling meetings, sharing documents and virtual whiteboards – but enable you to invite external parties to participate via a secure, web-accessible interface.

It doesn’t matter which communications tool the vendor uses. UC&C can send messages across multiple providers. It even allows you to build a digital twin online so you can conduct a deep dive into the product’s requirements, working side-by-side.

UC&C Drives Results No Matter Where You Are

UC&C is bringing organizational communications into a new era. Now, colleagues, customers and communities can easily communicate across devices, geographies and across applications.

Discover How Hosted UC&C Makes Good Business Sense. >

Posted on: October 8, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

We’re excited to announce that Acuity Technologies has been named to the CRN 2019 Fast Growth 150 list! As a brand of The Channel Company, CRN creates an annual list recognizing the fastest-growing technology solution providers, integrators, and IT consultants in North America. We’re thrilled to be on the list this year alongside other innovators that have also made remarkable accomplishments.

Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company, said, “There’s a great deal of growth and opportunity in the channel, and these companies are proof-positive that hard work and a commitment to service can pay off — even in a constantly evolving and highly competitive market like we have today. These companies exemplify the best of the best; channel providers whose market strategies should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

2019’s list comprises channel providers that have experienced substantial growth between 2017 and 2018. We’re honored to be named to the list of companies that have generated a combined revenue of more than $55 billion over the past two years.

Josh Anderson, our CEO, said, “Businesses are increasingly leveraging mobile devices and apps to drive efficiency and productivity while improving both the employee and customer experience. We are committed to helping our customers optimize their mobile technology investments through management, security oversight, strategic guidance, and proprietary software which has been a significant factor in driving our growth.”

Our goal is to provide our customers with management and analytical tools that enable them to support their workforce and make the best decisions they can that maximize the value of their mobility strategies. We believe that enabling enterprises to streamline deployment and ongoing management of mobile devices through our integrated suite of mobility managed services and supporting software sets us apart.

Josh continued, “The relevance of this shift towards mobile adoption is also advantageous to our channel partners because it ensures they are well-positioned to create more value for their existing clients while driving opportunities for additional revenue with new clients.”

As technology advances so quickly, we make it our job to keep up while also keeping up with changing customer demand and preference. We’re excited to be a part of the growth and profitability of other esteemed technology integrators, especially as today’s channel is highly disruptive and fast-paced.

Posted on: October 7, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Choosing the right Unified Communications platform

A unified communications (UC) platform should be your ticket to easier team collaboration, with all workflows for instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharing, VoIP telephony and more running through one streamlined application. Whether it actually becomes this ideal all-in-one hub will hinge on which solution and vendor you select.

What’s at stake when shopping for UC – and why you should explore cloud

When you choose a UC platform, you’re not just purchasing a product – you’re buying into a larger ecosystem, much like you do when you opt for iOS or Android. In addition to placing a bet on the solution’s underlying communications technology – i.e., its ability to handle calls, messages, and meetings – you are also trusting its vendor to support it and other vendors to allow it access to their APIs. That raises the stakes for making an informed decision, as the wrong choice can leave you with a UC solution that is as unreliable for end-users as it is difficult for you to integrate into your larger IT environment.

Making these sorts of high-stakes choices between seemingly similar – but actually quite different – collaboration tools is the enterprise equivalent of the format wars that once dominated consumer tech. For example, imagine being a movie buff circa 2006 and going all-in on the ill-fated HD-DVD instead of Blu-ray. The latter quickly drove the former out of the competition despite their comparable specs, leaving early adopters with an expensive player that studios had abandoned and which couldn’t even play Blu-ray discs – in other words, a major sunk cost.

When it comes to business communication tools, there’s a much wider range of competing solutions, from on-prem UC based on SIP trunking and an existing phone system to cloud-based implementations from vendors including Telesystem. Cloud-based UC, which is low-cost and continuously updated, is generally the most reliable platform for sustaining growth and ensuring real-time communications, not to mention eliminating the risk of ever being saddled with expensive, low-utility assets down the road.

That said, it’s important to scrutinize the features of any unified communications platform as well as the specific value the vendor can add to it. Let’s look at what you should prioritize during the selection process.

Deployment model: Cloud, hybrid or on-premises

All UC solutions are designed to perform the same basic task, namely to create a one-stop-shop for:

  • Voice calls.
  • HD video conferences.
  • Instant messages.
  • Virtual meetings.

At the same time, they differ in the specific infrastructure they harness to reach this goal. An on-prem unified communications platform is built on equipment the customer owns, operates and maintains. In contrast, cloud UC – or Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) – leverages the power of the provider’s data centers and hosted IT resources, and hybrid blends the two.

There are pros and cons to each approach. On-prem and hybrid afford a higher degree of control, at the cost of budgetary and operational flexibility. Cloud offers the latter two in spades but requires finding a trustworthy vendor. For now, cloud UC seems to be winning the race, with a Synergy Research report finding its adoption among enterprises increasing a staggering 57% year-over-year in 2018.

A UCaaS platform like UC-One from Telesystem can completely replace your existing PBX without requiring you to handle its maintenance or perform the complex operations for moving, adding or changing the system’s users. Cloud-based unified communications are highly scalable, flexible and cost-effective, as they are billed as periodic operating expenditures, not as steep upfront capital expenditures.

Features for calling, messaging and meetings

Any UC solution worth its weight will do much more than simply be a PBX-in-the-sky, though. It will support all of the key functions integral to modern teamwork and put them into context in one place, eliminating the need to waste so much time on app switching just to keep up with the many possible ways in which a team can interact.

Indeed, today’s workplaces are home to a plethora of collaboration tools, including persistent chat apps, VoIP and video services for real-time communications, online meeting spaces and old standbys such as email, PSTN calls and text messages. The latter remains particularly popular despite the rise of newer alternatives; a survey by Technalysis Research found that they accounted for 75% of all co-worker communication.

Unified communications platforms like UC-One effortlessly balance old and new modes of communication:

Calling

Need to make a quick phone call? Corporate directory lookup allows colleagues to be found within seconds. You can also set up a single number for all of your devices, use Wi-Fi calling for cheaper rates and make VoIP or conventional calls from your business number. HD video is available as well to enrich voice conversations.

Unified messaging

Business messaging has come a long way from the early days of IRC and SMS. Chatting within a UC suite is strengthened by features such as presence (to see who’s online at the moment), private and group chat, full chat history and easy access to all shared content such as emails and other files.

Meetings

Online meetings should be simple to join and participate in, but too often they throw a lot of roadblocks in front of their would-be participants. Dial-ins, PINs and complex user interfaces complicate the experience. Meeting functionality in a platform like UC-One is much more streamlined, with a simple invitation system that gets out of everyone’s way and allows participants to get right down to business via integrated video, messaging and screen sharing. You can even drag and drop a colleague’s icon into the meeting room or, if needed, dial-in.

Support for mobile workers

Since the 2000s, there has been a steady increase in the number of people telecommuting, in large part due to the evolution of mobile devices and wireless networks. More than 4 million individuals work from home at least half the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Half of the U.S. workforce holds a position that is compatible with telework arrangements and 80 to 90 percent of workers would like to telecommute at least some of the time.

Accordingly, mobile device support is a must-have in a UC solution. Specific features to look for include:

  • Android and iOS client apps for phones and tablets.
  • The ability to move calls from desktops to mobile devices.
  • Multiple call handling and merging.
  • Business phone number support across devices.
  • Wi-Fi calling with seamless handover between networks.

Integrations with other business communications apps

To return briefly to our earlier point about HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray, ecosystems matter. Cloud UC solutions without deep integrations and reliable vendor support are no better than fancy media formats that have no films or shows that anyone wants to watch.

The best UC platforms build context and support efficient workflows by integrating with everyday tools such as Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box and more. Plus, they can pull information and events from calendars and emails. The end result is one view within the UC app that provides a wealth of information about your calls, messages, files and co-worker statuses.

Should you invest in a UC platform?

Upgrading to a unified communications system is a big step, and one worth taking for many businesses. As PBXes age and become costlier to operate and maintain, transitioning to cloud UC, in particular, is often the rational move.

UC technology brings together the core functionality of your phone system with advanced features for messaging and meeting. It also goes beyond a traditional PBX by incorporating better support for mobile devices, which can easily use an existing workplace number to create a more professional impression, especially for small businesses.

Organizations of all sizes and across all verticals can potentially benefit from a UC implementation. Multi-location enterprises are perhaps best positioned since a UC platform provides a common way for geographically dispersed and frequently on-the-go employees to consistently stay in touch.

As an experienced national provider of services including hosted VoIP, network security and dedicated internet access, Telesystem offers a top-notch unified communications experience via the UC-One platform. It’s easy to get started by requesting a quote from our team. You can also contact us directly for additional information on UC-One or any of our other enterprise collaboration tools.

 

Posted on: September 30, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Written by Anil Kanwar – 

In today’s business environment, companies that want to stay relevant and competitive need to understand how to take advantage of Digital Transformation to evolve with their customer and markets. Yet in Canada only 19% of mid-market companies have reached an advanced level of digital maturity as assessed by BDC on digital technologies and digital culture[1]. The vast majority of these businesses struggle with removing their own barriers to evolution. Over my 23 years of global experience in Information Technology & Business transformation, with the last 6 years with a focus on Canadian enterprises and mid-market organizations, I have helped many organizations successfully complete this transformation. During this time, I have also seen first-hand the challenges facing most mid-sized companies in their evolution. Specifically, 3 general barriers to successful cloud adoption are common in the Canadian marketplace:

1.   Perhaps the most important challenge I have seen is the lack of an inclusive cloud adoption framework. In the Canadian mid-market specifically, businesses have not made the adjustment from traditional technology purchasing practices to cloud and on-demand service adoption. The buying process is still owned by the IT department and is executed in a tactical, reactive way rather than with strategy and planning baked-in to the execution. In many instances critical business and functional groups are not incorporated into the process. This often leads to poor realization of the cloud’s value to the business and to a narrow perspective of the cloud, how to use it, and how to best leverage value out of such services. Instead of fostering a strategic change and transformation, IT planning becomes focused on point tools and solutions, instead of offering a transformative new way of doing business. As a personal observation, in many cases that I have supported, a lack of an inclusive cloud adoption framework has added tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs, delayed delivery times and even caused project cancellation due to a poorly defined cloud economics.

2.   The second barrier is often a lack of access to critical skilled resources. The Information and Communications technology Council (ICTC), a policy advisor to businesses and governments across Canada predicts a shortage of approximately 216,000 technical resources in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector by 2021[3]. This expertise gap refers to Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud along with IoT and emerging digital technologies like Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, 5G, Blockchain and 3D printing. Even for organizations that have great talent resources, in most cases they are too busy keeping the lights on to focus on innovation or generating real business value. As a result, cloud adoption is often limited to “lift and shift”, rather than true IT evolution or Digital Transformation. Ultimately, these businesses end up ignoring enabling technologies and practices that could help them focus on transformative ways of delivering business applications, improving customer/user experience, and driving business value.

3.   Lastly, there’s cloud security and compliance. For someone who has been doing cloud for as long as I have, this is the one I had thought was long addressed. Yet with many organizations there is still a prevalent belief that cloud is less secure, along with traditional concerns about data residency and sovereignty. It is important to note that in the various shared models- IaaS, PaaS, SaaS- security concerns vary based on service delineations between service provider and customer. Cloud providers have a vested interest in protecting their reputation. They have access to the best resources who are specifically focused on following security best practices. And they abide by stringent compliance frameworks and audits as part of their operations. Many of these capabilities are beyond typical mid-sized organization – simply put, a provider whose sole reason for being is to provide robust, secure, highly available infrastructure, is generally going to provide better outcomes than your business staff, who should be focused on your business’ core value operations instead of IT maintenance activities.

I was recently engaged with a global technology company undergoing its own cloud transformation. They had settled, without a clear cloud adoption framework [2], on a single hyperscaler cloud for their VMware workload. Through a structured cloud adoption framework, we were able to establish consensus across the organization, expand their ecosystem to multiple clouds via an application centric/ best execution venue approach and deliver on defined business outcome.

The professional services support expedited their application launch by enabling them on key cloud services like automation and security across multi-cloud deployments. This experience illustrates how Mid-market organizations in Canada face similar challenges in adopting cloud as their much larger counterparts but must find a way to do so with less expertise and fewer resources. Hence, finding the right managed services and professional services partner is critical to success in digital transformation.

To conclude, I believe the Canadian mid-market segment has not only the need to adopt digital technologies but also to appropriately manage these assets to effectively compete in the global market. The findings of digital maturity assessments done by BDC and MIT, proved that businesses with higher digital maturity outperformed less mature firms on multiple financial measurements.

 

Written by Anil Kanwar 

Author’s Bio

Anil is a Solution Architect and is responsible for working with enterprise customers to understand their IT strategy, provide assessments of their current infrastructure state, design target state and provide a phased approach to reach and maintain it using TeraGo services. He brings 20+ years of enterprise IT experience spread across pre-sales, delivery and product management working with large system Integrators and product companies.

References

[1] BDC –  Digital maturity assessment – https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/entrepreneur-toolkit/business-assessments/digital-maturity/pages/default.aspx

[2] AWS Cloud Adoption Framework – https://aws.amazon.com/professional-services/CAF/

[3] – Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Report – The Next Talent Wave – Navigating the digital shift – Outlook 2021 – https://www.ictc-ctic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ICTC_Outlook-2021.pdf