The Case for Unified Communications

How do you know when an elephant’s been in your fridge? There are footprints in the butter!

Cracker jokes don’t seem to have changed much since I was a kid. During my post-lunch torpor this one came back to me and gave me an idea for the blog – I know what you’re thinking, but the telly was rubbish this Christmas.

How does an organisation know when its communications technology stops becoming an enabler and starts becoming a barrier? As with our trunk-wielding friends, there are some subtle clues. Some will be self-evident in terms of the systems features, some will come from users internally and some will come from outside of the business.

As businesses move increasingly towards a more flexible working model, with employees moving freely between multiple business sites, working from home or on the move, the short-falls of some legacy systems become more apparent:

  • Adding new extensions or functionality to your network may be needlessly complicated and require an engineer to carry out simple administrative tasks.
  • Keeping a track of your mobile workforce becomes increasingly difficult, impacting on both call handling and routing.
  • Call costs may be more than necessary, with high volumes of internal calls contributing to the overall expense.
  • Maintaining customer service levels outside of core work hours could be a problem because of a lack of systems flexibility.
  • Integrating call handling systems with other, business critical applications (such as CMS) is either difficult or impossible.

In addition to these technical issues, there is often some anecdotal evidence to support the case. You may overhear the odd complaint from staff “I don’t know how to set up my voicemail” or “how do you open a conference bridge”. As mobility increases, why do employees need to maintain both a work and personal mobile?

Are you moving towards a BYOD strategy?
Worst of all is the customer complaint. “I tried to get hold of my account manager but nobody seemed to know where they were”. “When I called to talk to someone, they didn’t have my details to hand.” If you begin to hear this kind of thing, then it’s definitely time to sit up and pay attention. So, how do you know when your communications technology is no longer fit for purpose? The evidence is there for all to see…