As with any IT trend, there’s a lot of vendor hype around unified communications (UC). At Vohkus – and through our cloud arm, Meggha – we’ve helped many varied organisations migrated to cloud-based UC (aka UC as a service or UCaaS), and we’ve been able to discover the real benefits those organisations have achieved.
Real-life experiences of real world users
Of course, we recognise that UC isn’t going to achieve identical results for everyone. For example, those organisations that necessarily have a mainly desk-based culture won’t be able to take advantage of better remote working, for example. But in some cases companies have seen their communications bills halved, while others have at last been able to accurately record interactions with their CRM systems, or to ensure their phone systems don’t fall over because they’ve reached capacity (reliability is a big issue for more firms than you’d perhaps realise).
Before we go through the benefits list in detail, let’s just recap on the terminology.
What is UC?
UC is the integration of enterprise communication services such as instant messaging, presence information, traditional voice and IP telephony, mobility (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web and video conferencing. UC can involve a single solution from a single supplier, or an integrated solution in which best-of-breed services work in harmony to fulfil the customer’s requirements.
Historically these services were siloed and managed as separate systems. As organisations have grown, merged and demerged they are often left with a confusing plethora of systems at many sites that are not centrally controlled, managed or billed, and that do not adequately support mobile working. Even when attempts have been made toward some form of UC the technology chosen may not be supporting the business properly, the tariff might be inappropriate, or the company may have no cost predictability.
The bottom line is that even if you have some kind of UC in place, there’s often still plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, with our no-risk free audit you can identify any shortcomings quickly and easily – but more about that later.
UC benefits top 10
Without further ado, here’s what our customers have managed to achieve with UC.
1. Reduce costs
UC really does reduce comms expenditure. Taking management and overall support costs into account, clients report large operational savings of 40% or more. It’s not uncommon for communications bills to be halved. Potential savings can be found everywhere, particularly when mergers have occurred and different legacy systems require maintenance in each part of the business.
2. More manageable financials
Switching from capex to opex has created simplified billing, easier supplier reconciliation, better transparency and more flexibility for our clients. Cloud UC also reduced costs in other areas, such as lower energy bills for cooling equipment and maintenance. Arguably we should have put ‘greener’ as another benefit!
3. Improve service reliability
As noted above, legacy systems can be very unreliable. Several clients initially approached us not because of cost concerns, but because vital calls were being dropped or missed. Matching the right UC system to the situation – along with sometimes upgrading the quality of the network or internet connection itself – can ensure ‘always on’ availability.
4. Increase agility
UC has enabled our clients to introduce new productivity-related applications and scale them across the business more easily. For example, applications such as team messaging, video conferencing or contact centre functionality can be added and integrated rapidly to improve employee collaboration and customer service. For many clients immediate scalability is an absolute ‘must have’, and something legacy systems struggle with.
5. Improve productivity
With UC, it doesn’t matter where you are working. One of our clients is headquartered in a remote location and it’s not always practical for everyone to get there. By providing integrated tools such as including desktop sharing, video chat and instant messaging, on a variety of mobile devices, mobile and remote employees can easily collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners from any location. That results in faster decision-making and higher productivity.
6. Deliver personalised customer experiences
We’ve worked with clients to streamline integrations with core business applications like helpdesk software or CRM systems that better anticipate and respond to individual and aggregate customer needs. Our team can help with sandboxing for testing and piloting of these integrations prior to go-live.
7. Keep communications data secure and available
By introducing UC we’ve helped clients ensure best practices around data encryption, firewall configurations and intrusion protection systems. Robust service level agreements (SLAs) govern network uptime and support, and there is transparency around network and application performance.
8. Help ensure compliance
UC services simplify the compliance environment for many clients, helping them keep an easier check that they are meeting the relevant regulatory requirements of their businesses. Where required integrated call records can be recalled alongside IM and email to help protect against hefty fines and reputational damage.
9. Simplify maintenance
Our clients say that moving to UC has helped reduce the overhead associated with the constant break/fix of legacy systems, leaving their IT staff more time to concentrate on higher-value activities. With cloud-based phone services and UC, the software and network maintenance is handled for them. Our team can oversee operations remotely and quickly add or remove features and functionality.
10. Take advantage of related services
UC can be a springboard to a wealth of collaborative opportunities, and in many cases we’ve turned into a one-stop shop for these, including video conferencing, mobile device and Internet of Things management. We can roll out and manage the entire workspace environment, including desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, with advantageous pricing and contract-based support. We also provide other cloud services such as Desktop as a Service, managed Office 365 licensing, and a variety of hosting options.
Why work with Vohkus/Meggha on UC?
Demand for UC is increasing massively. By 2023 the global market for unified communications (UC) is forecast to be USD $96bn, having tripled in size since 2015.
Of course, many companies are able to provide stable, mature UC products and services. It’s our job to help the customer select the best of those solutions to meet their particular objectives. We’ve tons of experience in this area, and can point to plenty of examples where big name customers have relied on our strategic advice.
- We add value by providing a fully managed service layer that minimises cost exposure and responds to changes in tariffs and v customer requirements.
- We reconcile suppliers, and bring consolidation and transparency to billing with great commercial rates.
- We identify and deliver scalable and cost-effective mobile, voice, and data solutions that suit the profiles of all users, with the flexibility to adapt to changing user demands in any environment.
- We proactively and comprehensively support end users in the field, ensuring optimum levels of service at all times, and providing a support ‘life line’ for remote workers.
- We design and develop appropriate best practice communications strategies supported by service level agreements that provide a fully-managed user experience, with regular review meetings and transparent reporting modules.
Example UC partners
We have partnerships with the leading UC suppliers, and as you’d expect there are similarities between some of their offerings, and big differences in others. Not sure what’s right for you? We’ll independently advise what mix is best for your situation. Here are a few examples.
Mitel Connect Cloud
We are a Mitel UCaaS Cloud Champion. Mitel provides secure and flexible cloud hosted telephony services that mean you no longer need to run an on-premises private branch exchange. It includes more than just phones, too. We can integrate the service with messaging, web sharing, CRM, mobile apps, video conferencing and much more. We also provide multi-national organisations a local presence in multiple countries using international toll-free numbers.
We take care of managing the commercials and matching usage to cost, so that you only pay for what you need.
Vodafone managed business mobile plans
We’re one of only 12 Vodafone Total Communications Partners. We audit usage, profile user types, match tariffs to match each situation (e.g. overseas data, roaming and calls), provide threshold alerts, and monitor everything on an ongoing basis with a 24x7 helpdesk and comprehensive reporting.
We’ll manage the commercials with Vodafone on your behalf and recommend any tariff changes that could reduce costs for you. It’s unlike a traditional mobile service because these changes can be made mid-contract.
For a lean and responsive businesses we manage handsets too, pre-configured to your specification and ready to work straight out of the box.
BT network services
We’re one of only 10 strategic BT partners, with a solid track record in specialist network solutions. We work with BT to manage superfast broadband, dedicated business lines, multi-site private networks, multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) high-performance telecommunications networks and more.
Typical implementations include direct connectivity to third party cloud providers and BT services, intelligent hybrid networks that combine internet and private networks, and accelerated WAN solutions.
Get started with a free UC audit
Want to know more about how cloud unified communications can benefit your business? Get started with our FREE audit of your existing telecoms/connectivity estate. We’re confident we’ll be able to help save money, improve transparency, security and productivity.
The audit can be for any of the services individually or as a general communications review of multiple services/suppliers. The aim is to discover tangible savings and operational benefits/improvements for the customer in order for us to build and deliver a strategy that suits its needs.
Get in touch today.