Unified communications can be just the beginning of the conversation
When the enterprise acts globally, maintaining required levels of collaboration can be a challenge, but a challenge that can be mitigated with the correct application of technological solutions.
While email and project management software can help individual teams and team members communicate with one another, getting people together to strategize and reach consensus is especially difficult – we know this at Tech Wire Asia, with offices in Asia, Europe, Australasia and the first green shoots appearing of another in Boston, USA.
A perfect example of how business processes can be altered is presented by the adoption of a unified communications strategy. Unified communications (UC) can bring together voice, text, data, video and specialist forums (such as software development platforms or digital document management systems).
Part of the driving force that has enabled unified communications is the mass adoption of a cloud or hybrid infrastructure which can empower UC solutions or even offer UC as a service (UCaaS).
But with any technology that’s new, there is a certain amount of time, initially, during which the full capabilities of the tech are not apparent. A common error made early on in any UC deployment is the overemphasis placed on existing telecommunications systems and methods. When the enterprise adopts a unified comms solution but makes use of it in the way it has always used traditional telecommunications, a great deal of the new technology’s potential is lost.
This type of stumbling at the first hurdle is indicative that the business processes that drive the enterprise’s communications & collaborative strategies need some attention.
A key aspect of UC is that each day, a member of personnel’s presence may be advertised across a wide network. The UC system may have “follow me” capabilities (as a key staff member moves from an IM platform to cellphone, for instance), but unless the communication and collaborative mindset has been embedded right across the team, a (potentially expensive) UC installation will never function at full capacity: why pay to advertise personnel’s presence, if it’s ignored?
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Consultancy companies who specialize in UC are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their field, and this is important in areas like UC which are technologically driven and therefore rapidly-changing. But with the best will in the world, UC consultants may not be skilled in being able to address “the big picture” – the underlying problems and bottlenecks in an organization which exist and may affect any new system’s implementation.
It is sensible, therefore, to use consultancy services from a communications company that operates as part of a wide-ranging skillset pool. Then, if problems become apparent during a single, discreet project (such as UC integration), the same company will have the skills to address wider issues and present solutions which can offer a full-stack communication solution which is truly effective, and offers a good ROI.
With unifying communications platforms across continents, there come security concerns, for instance. So, should your provider perhaps also be versed in managed security? And, to support the security service, should the same provider also be able to advise and/or supply service desk management? And finally, will the whole offering lower costs, increase security and deliver strategic benefit throughout the distributed workplace?
Decision-makers in the enterprise may shy away from leveraging larger players into what might seem like a minor project. But in order to realize ROI and not waste resources on badly implemented communications and collaboration projects, sometimes it takes an objective view of the larger picture to make impactful differences.
Of course, most enterprises today consist of a wide range of business strands, multiple verticals and full-solution divisions which can offer end-to-end solutions. Disparate parts of the enterprise may have different criteria for unified communications, SLAs and, indeed, overall aims.
By using consultants with experience of today’s broad-reaching enterprise, organizations can avoid unnecessary costs in the medium to long term by using a team dedicated to the entire enterprise, with the far-reaching nature of the business reflected in the skills and experience on tap.
Here are three global consultancies which we at Tech Wire Asia consider to be of interest to enterprises whose reach is broad, but who require a unified roll-out of systems which might range from UC right up to full ERP implementation or a global, software-defined secure network.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the NTT Communications (NTT Com) has secured its place as one of the world’s largest providers of innovative global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions including cloud, network and security services.
With offices now in 110 cities worldwide, NTT Com is able to address the concerns of businesses across the globe and help enterprises wherever they may be based. While the company’s Asian credentials and experience may be a USP, NTT Com has a significant offering on all the world’s continents and is able to leverage a truly worldwide skill pool to help its many clients, both large and small.
Its services range from cloud-based or in-house ERP solutions to unified communications, to network infrastructure provision & management, and IT security.
In unified communications, NTT Com is able to link interconnected services which can impart real value to the business. For instance, a unified authentication platform may be leveraged initially as part of a single log-in for all communications. But the cumulative time saved in back-office activities alone makes this technology one that can deliver everyday savings well beyond UC usage.
Avaya is a business communications specialist which also supplies integrated CRM solutions for the enterprise. With offices across the globe, the US-based company has a worldwide reach.
Avaya provides technologies for customer and team engagement, unified communications and collaboration, contact center management, and networking capability. Its clients range in size from start-ups right up to large, multinational enterprise customers like Xiaomi and Fujitsu.
Avaya’s offerings are available in a variety of deployment models including public, hybrid and a private cloud on a customer’s premises. All can be supported by Avaya’s in-house consultants and service providers.
Today’s workforce of highly distributed, mobile personnel need to connect through multiple channels and devices, independent of location, network, or device type. Avaya’s UC solutions run on a platform which is open, scalable, and secure. In addition to packaged services, the Avaya “Engagement Environment” enables enterprises to create and deploy communication applications to embed into their own processes and business apps.
Avaya’s services are backed by experts in 28 support centers around the world, which handle more than two million service requests annually in 16 languages, all fronted by a support website. The company states that 46,000 issue resolutions are reached each month without agent assistance online, with Avaya experts resolving 83 percent of issues in less than an hour via the web, voice & video chats.
Genesys’s headline “act” at the moment is Kate, a machine-learning algorithm that uses natural language modeling techniques to automate customer interactions for Genesys’s clients.
Kate is the latest type of automaton which has access to existing data pools and can react according to both real-time input and with “experience” of previous interactions and customer data.
Genesys’s “PureCloud Communicate” builds on the cloud-based features of the company’s “PureCloud Collaborate”, integrating UC telephony into a single user interface for users. “Communicate” can be used with an existing telephony infrastructure or local PSTN (public switched telephone network) or these can be sidelined by using Genesys’s cloud-based “PureCloud Voice”.
For smaller-scale implementations, “PureCloud Voice” allows customer agents to use their web browser as a telephone, negating even the need for a traditional PABX (private automatic branch exchange).
For those wishing to retain and enhance the function of their existing PABX, “PureCloud Communicate” can add features like video conferencing, screen sharing, dynamic team chat channels, skills-based employee profiles and document management.
“PureCloud Collaborate” is available as a free service, so users can test proposed systems at little risk, and Genesys’s global reach ensures that even the largest enterprise’s transcontinental UC requirements can be met on one platform.