Change never stands still. But change in the world of communications is accelerating, powered by macro-trends like work-from-anywhere, application integration, bring-your-own-device and the impetus to connect globally. Unified communications are more essential than ever as a means of connecting colleague with colleague and business to customer. But as the dust slowly settles from the rollercoaster ride of the last 18 months, what lessons have we learned?
No Easy Silver Bullet
If there’s one headline takeaway from the seismic events of 2020, it’s this: when it comes to optimising communication for the post-pandemic age, there is no silver bullet. No single, panacea solution can magically flex to match the fast-moving needs of every type and scale of organisation. Instead, a holistic approach is more realistic, one that brings together the best of newer and more established technologies to create solutions that fit specific requirements.
To Cloud or Not to Cloud
Last year, the limitations of PBX were laid bare for all to see. As travel restrictions and mandatory work-from-home practices suddenly kicked in, many organisations with legacy PBX infrastructures struggled to support collaboration, both between remote co-workers and with their geographically dispersed customers.
Now, as hybrid working emerges as the ‘new norm’, businesses are demanding frictionless voice and online connectivity from anywhere and everywhere. ‘Return to the office’ often means a return to a different office, either entirely new and relocated, or resized and reconfigured. Many organisations, especially those with less complex environments, have switched to commoditised cloud solutions that offer a far more flexible, scalable and cost-friendly alternative to traditional, on-premise PBX systems.
But one size does not fit all. Some market segments have much to gain from retaining their legacy PBX, either ‘as-is’ or coupled with cloud to yield a ‘best of both’ solution. For sectors such as healthcare, local government and education with large, fixed IT and telephony estates, PBX deployments still make good operational and financial sense, especially when augmented with newer tech where necessary.
Teams Integration is Next-Level UC
When the world turned upside down last year and face-to-face became impossible, online collaboration technologies came to the rescue. Workers quickly turned to online meeting applications, many of which had seen only modest popularity up to then. But while use of proprietary apps like MiTeam Meetings, Cisco Webex and GoToMeeting saw an uplift, Microsoft Teams and Zoom enjoyed exponential growth by adding millions of extra users.
Today, Microsoft Teams has emerged as the world’s front-runner collaboration tool with nine out of ten organisations embedding it in their contact centres and 80% integrating with their telephony systems. Microsoft Teams’ integration capability opens the door to next-level unified communications, enabling global teamworking across multiple devices and channels for a truly connected experience for both customers and employees, as well as reporting and trends analysis to help hone, standardise and perfect customer experience globally.
More Demanding Consumers
These days, more than ever, consumers know what they want and expect customer service tailored around their likes and dislikes. If they don’t receive the right experience, they won’t hesitate to vote with their feet. Who can blame them? We’ve all suffered the acute frustration of an hour ‘on hold’ listening to cheesy music or having to jump from menu to menu in an endless cycle of IVR.
Today, consumers are less likely to suffer in silence. They expect to interact effortlessly across a mix of their favourite channels, from social media and webchat to voice and email. And if they’re unhappy with your products or services, they’ll quickly let you and the rest of the world know about it via negative reviews and social posts.
Finding the Best UC Solution for You
So, if you’re on the lookout for a UC solution, where do you start? My advice is to get the right advice. Talk to a specialist like Charterhouse that understands both the older legacy telephony systems and the latest cloud and Microsoft Teams technologies. With a 30-year track record in voice and data, we offer our clients a unique set of benefits to ease their journey to unified communications:
- Keeping it Simple
We offer a choice of UK-centric and global platforms where hosted voice and collaboration solutions can be implemented rapidly and easily. Whether our clients use physical phones, desktop softphones or mobile devices, we manage all aspects of migration, from porting and planning to project management and ongoing support.
- Made to Measure
While some businesses see Microsoft Teams as their complete over-arching collaboration platform, others may wish to integrate it with existing voice solutions such as Mitel, Avaya or Cisco. We take care to precisely assess and scope our clients’ requirements, so we are able to recommend a way forward that synchs perfectly with their business goals. Our partnership with 8×8 delivers a UC platform with native contact centre capability, powerful CX analytics and global-scaled collaboration.
- Legacy Know-How
Although migrating to cloud offers a long list of business advantages, most cloud solution vendors are unable to help with legacy issues like analogue devices, fax machines, ageing wiring and challenging work environments. When it makes sense to blend innovative tech with existing infrastructure, our extensive knowledge and hands-on experience of legacy technologies enable us to we find the best ways to combine the old with the new.
- Global Capability
If you’re switching to a collaboration platform like Microsoft Teams you may need to consider your broader telephony needs too. If so, we can help with service delivery into almost any global location, including local numbering and support for emergency services. We also facilitate deep integration with Microsoft Teams and all the necessary infrastructure and processes to ensure a complete, unified communications solution.
If you want to find out more, why not watch our webinar – Game Changers in Unified Communications, available on-demand now »