- Make your business more efficient and productive
- Allow staff greater mobility
- Save you money
It’s important to be sure that your understanding of UC is the same as your provider’s. UC is the integration of the communication services your business uses, including mobile, landline and internet-based communications. It encompasses real-time calls, conferencing, instant messaging and presence, and non-real-time communication such as voicemail, email and SMS.
What this means in practice is that communication is flexible and consistent. Messages sent in one way (such as by voicemail) can be received in another (by email, for example). It also means that every user has a consistent experience, on any device, anywhere.
What this means for your business is that processes are optimised and user productivity is increased, while your customer is met with professionalism and efficiency in all communications.
If your network or broadband aren’t up to the standards required, it’s not the end of the line for UC for your business.
Many users fail to take full advantage of the capabilities of their UC in the short-term. However, if they invested in an on-premise system, they will have paid for features they are not even using.
If your requirements are likely to change frequently, or if you have a clear growth plan, you need to consider the implications for your UC.
You will need to either over-specify initially or invest in additional hardware and licences at a later date to meet your requirements as your business grows. If your business needs to scale down, you will be left with the excess hardware from your original investment. This could be outdated or unserviceable when / if you need to scale up again at a later date.
You only ever pay for the features you need and use. Upgrading is virtually instantaneous - new features can simply be switched on as and when required, and switched off too. Some providers offer an “evergreen” solution: continuous upgrading takes place in the background and is included in the monthly fee.
The option you choose depends on which advantages you see as most valuable to your business and which disadvantages are of least concern. However, key points to consider are:
Of course you have questions. Even if you have already decided your business would benefit from Unified Communications (UC), it’s not the end of the process, it’s just the beginning.
Ensuring you choose the UC solution that best meets your needs and fits your budget means asking the right questions of the right people.
This eGuide has been put together by Three to raise – and help you resolve – the most frequently asked questions, to make your UC evaluation process shorter, quicker and more effective.
UC is a long-term solution for your business communications, business efficiency and productivity, but it is not a solution to underperforming network connectivity.
In fact, making the most of the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) features of UC demands a stable local network and broadband connection. For that reason it is essential you establish the suitability of your network and broadband before you invest in UC. A reputable provider will be able to offer an assessment of your infrastructure’s suitability before progressing.
Some businesses install UC only to discover at go-live that they receive absolutely no communications traffic at all. The reason? Their firewall has automatically blocked it. If you deploy UC, ensure your IT provider reconfigures your firewall to allow the traffic through.
This is the traditional approach to setting-up a UC system and relies on physical hardware that is installed on your premises.
The alternative to hosting your UC system on your premises is to have a provider host it in the cloud.
If your business has only one location, consider where your backup will be located. Will you need to rent or buy more space? How secure will it be? Have you allowed for the additional costs of backup hardware and its maintenance and repair – as well as costs for the physical space it occupies?
An end-to-end UC solution from one provider will include all the elements required to get you set up and using all the UC features you have signed-up for, from day one.
Depending on whether you opt for an on-premise or cloud solution, it will usually comprise some or all of the following:
It is possible to source your UC solution from a range of vendors, selecting different elements of the system from each.
The more complex your requirements, the harder your task if you opt for a pick and mix system. However, an end-to-end solution will limit your vendor choices. Consider the range of devices, solutions and features you may need and whether you prefer the flexibility of choice or the ease of a one-stop shop.
Before you decide which UC solution to adopt, you need to assess:
Your chosen provider can then help you develop a strategic UC plan that meets your current needs and has the potential to meet your future requirements too.
Two points to consider for future-proofing your UC solution are:
You may find that 3Connect – the cloud-hosted Unified Communications solution from Three – meets your requirements. If so, there are also some specific advantages to be gained by choosing Three as your UC provider.
3Connect is a constantly evolving “evergreen” UC solution, continually making new features available to users.
To ensure the features are relevant and useful, Three works closely with their business customers in the development of the 3Connect product roadmap – listening to customer feedback and requirements, and tailoring new applications to suit them.
The result is a leading-edge UC system that meets your needs now and in the future, at an always affordable price. You can even pay per user, per month.
As a mobile network operator, Three can provide a complete end-to-end UC solution, which goes further to deliver greater benefits to your business.
Three has an holistic approach to seamlessly integrate every aspect of your UC. For example, 3Connect incorporates a soft client on your Three mobiles, so that mobile users have all the features they would have on their desktop phone, wherever they are. In addition, if your broadband service fails, 3Connect is set up to automatically divert all calls to mobiles.
You won’t lose business, because you won’t miss a call – ever.
Moving from a PSDN landline to a cloud UC solution can save you money. Often, up to 70% of landline phone costs are line rental, with as little as 30% or less representing calls. Move to the cloud and 70% of your bill could be eliminated instantly.
Three’s capabilities even extend to wireless and DECT handsets, enabling you to use them in areas of your site where wiring is impossible or prohibitively expensive.
While the cloud-based 3Connect UC solution relieves you of the burdens of hosting, maintenance and backup, it still leaves you in control.
The 3Connect online user portal enables you to fully control, configure and adapt your entire UC system to suit your changing needs.
However, if you need expert help and support, Three has an award-winning customer care centre based in Limerick.
From broadband to mobiles, from landlines to LAN, from set-up to support - Three takes care of everything, leaving you to focus on your business.