As an increasing number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) look to implement more advanced communications platforms within their organizations, this spring, Siemens (News - Alert) Enterprise Communications will launch OpenScape Business, a next-generation Unified Communications platform that offers benefits of UC to SMBs, regardless of their telephony infrastructure.
Previously, Siemens offered the HiPath 3000 and OpenScape Office products. With OpenScape Business, the company has combined the best of both product lines into one that is scalable and provides UC functionality embedded in the appliance, regardless of telephony infrastructure, according to Susan Ericke, senior marketing manager at Siemens Enterprise (News - Alert) Communications.
“This product simplifies the portfolio as our next-generation product, allowing our installed base to easily migrate to one product in the future, with one common architecture. Also, TDM customers can recognize UC as it is embedded in the appliance,” Ericke explained in an interview with TMCnet. “Essentially, this one product can easily scale by switching a mainboard. Customers can move from TDM to IP, obtain advanced UC, and grow to serve up to 500 users. OpenScape Business is their one product of the future – easily installed, upgraded and scalable.”
OpenScape Business, available in June 2013, offers voice, UC, Web collaboration, mobility and seamless integration into office applications in a unique all-in-one solution for single and multisite SMBs.
With the perception that UC is for the large enterprise and that it is too much for an SMB owner or IT staff to install/maintain/upgrade/service, and potentially cost-prohibitive, SMBs typically fear that their current investments won’t integrate with newly installed UC as well.
“SMBs are concerned that different collaboration tools will be too difficult for their employees to adopt. OpenScape Business is designed for the SMB, and brings the most UC functionality to them within one appliance,” Ericke said. “The installation is Web-based and doesn’t require a lot of third-party toolkits or multiple hours for installation.”
Since the basic implementation has the UC embedded, users only have one box to install. As users grow from TDM to IP, or go from 50 users to 150, they simply add a booster card.
“Further, we have a virtualized version that truly simplifies the installation, with upgrade licenses for any deployment just a click away on-line. OpenScape Business will also integrate with Outlook and other business applications, ensuring contacts and other critical data is supplied seamlessly to the users,” Ericke added. “The solution also supports the Apple (News - Alert) MAC OS. Essentially, the solution makes it easier to obtain UC functionality, and it is all done with the HiPath 3000 housing. We have taken the cost-effective HiPath appliance and added the power of our OpenScape Office UC, making a solution that is priced consistently with standard SMB products.”
Increasingly, mobile SMB employees can leverage OpenScape Business on a wide variety of devices and tablets, so businesses can offer users the device flexibility they want. Plus it offers a client for multiple operating systems, providing better reliability and functionality for users than the Web-only options found in many competitive solutions.
In a survey conducted at the end of 2012, 80 percent of SMBs indicated they are currently implementing or planning to implement UC. Further, 70 percent were interested in adopting social media, and 79 percent mentioned that they work in distributed teams, Ericke said.
“When we inquired about pain points, SMBs indicated that low employee productivity due to inefficient communications was rated as the top point, followed by poor/lack of collaboration with customers,” she explained. “The trend of bring your own device spans all segments, so although not specific to the SMB it does have impact. What we see from all of this is that SMBs are not only looking at better serving their customers, but better serving their employees as well.”
Social media and personal mobile devices are a part of their employees’ lives, and they want to allow them to do business in the way they are most comfortable, Ericke added.
“They understand that by better serving their employees, they better serve their customers,” she said. “UC seems more possible today, and SMBs are taking the time to learn about it.”
Edited by Braden Becker