Unified Communications Featured Article

How to Avoid Unified Communications Missteps

June 12, 2014

The typical office environment relies on its communications platform to stay connected with customers, colleagues, partners and others. While a number of new technologies have been introduced in the last few years to improve these connections, too many platforms can actually create inefficiencies and wasted time. Unified communications can help eliminate this problem, as long as you approach it with a plan.

Then again, a lack of a plan is where more than a few companies fall short. There may be a failure to examine whether or not the current structure can support unified communications and whether or not it will disrupt business overall. Without evaluating and documenting certain factors, you could be setting yourself and your business up for failure.

Fortunately, Network Computing put together a list of six ways you can ensure your strategy will fail. Let’s take a brief look at this list and how you can avoid these pitfalls:

Migrating from a legacy platform – While this doesn’t necessarily mean your project will fail, it does mean you have to take a much closer look at how your users operate on the legacy platform and how change will affect their operations and productivity.

Devices – While the latest and greatest devices may help change the way you do business, that change may not be a positive thing. Look at your current needs, the cost of making a change and how you can get the most value for your dollar. Then, understand how your device rollout should work to best support all users.

Connections – Unified communications is well-known for its ability to streamline connections, as long as the proposed changes make sense. The legacy system you have in place may not have the wiring you need to support Gigabit Ethernet speeds. You need to find out if a rip and replace is necessary or if what you have will support a change.

Virtual or not – The industry is moving toward the use of virtual PBX technology, enabling companies to simply plug and go, updating phones as they need to grow. If you don’t want to invest in the in-house PBX, a hosting provider can deliver the hardware, software and maintenance you need, but do your due diligence to understand your needs and what a provider can deliver.

The Fax – Are you still relying on the traditional analog fax, or have you incorporated IP fax technology? Likewise, do you have other devices that rely on telephony to operate, such as postage machines, night ringers, intercoms and other devices? You need to take inventory to see what is connected and what they can support.

The carrier – If your current phone system is connected to your carrier through a physical Prime Rate Interface (PPI), you have limited concurrent calls per circuit. With VoIP, you can move from TDM to an IP connection using SIP trunking that expands your capabilities and your capacity. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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