From legacy PBX phone services to the security risks of workers using their own devices, Small Market Enterprises (SMEs) are exploring newer ways to embrace collaborative working. But the biggest challenge for them is to break down those communication barriers created by their own clunky, outdated technology.
Collaborative culture can truly transform a business. Not only does it add that extra fuel to boost productivity and helps attract talent, but it also cultivates a sense of community amongst the staff. However, figuring out the right collaboration strategy for your small business can be an uphill task. Especially when you have limited resources and want to thwart attempts to resist an adoption towards more collaborative working practices. Could a Unified Communications (UC) solution serve as ‘get out of jail free card’? If you are looking for a more comprehensive communications solution for your small business, keep these dos and don’ts in mind:
1. Unify communication systems to avoid disjointed operations
On the path to achieving successful workplace collaboration, many Small Market Enterprises (SMEs) find themselves in the middle ground between fixed-line desk phones and a full unified communications solution. Workers may be using a range of consumer applications to collaborate, chat, video call and share content. Often, they’ll access these apps using their own personal devices. This causes communication barriers and will eventually lead to your business wasting time, resources and finally, losing its competitive edge.
Unifying all your communications into one solution helps you get easy access to omni-channel communications – voice, video, instant messaging, presence information etc. It offers greater mobility to your employees, allowing them to be in touch with anyone, wherever they are, and in real time. A great tool to diminish those communication barriers and boost collaboration for your business, isn’t it?
2. Ensure Interoperability
Having all your apps and communication tools operate smoothly across different devices and platforms is the essence of team collaboration. But SMEs are often faced with the exact opposite situation: IT communication isn’t as straight-forward as it should be; there are problems accessing and sharing network files when working remotely; or while using apps that aren’t supported across all devices and platforms. The results are inefficient working and loss of time.
Today, enterprises are known to have multiple systems from multiple vendors in multiple locations. How do you maintain interoperability on disparate platforms? By moving to a multi-vendor unified collaboration service, business owners can ensure seamless, intuitive communications across their teams. Choose a UC solution that offers multiple options with broad interoperability instead of vendor lock-in restrictions. If your solution is available in any delivery and consumption model, on-premises or in the Cloud, it enables you to shuffle UC components as per your own pace and needs and not according to the vendor’s preferences. In short, interoperability helps extend the life of your existing infrastructure, ensuring maximum ROI on your investment.
3. Choose amongst the latest Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCCaaS) tools in the market
Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCCaaS) tools have been around for some time and many businesses are switching to softphones as a first pass. If you are still unaware of what a softphone is - they are the software version of a desk phone in the form of an app you install on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Powered with VoIP technology that uses the internet, a softphone can cut down on communication costs considerably and offer additional capabilities beyond a traditional IP phone.
Though the market is flooded with many options, choosing an industry-leading softphone that offers some neat productivity-enhancing features such as instant messaging, video conferencing, screen and document sharing, etc. can empower mobility and enhance enterprise efficiencies. Some UC solutions can overlay existing call services, allowing business owners to streamline communications without the cost and complexity of scrapping their existing call server.
1. Be held hostage by your desk phone
Traditional fixed-line telephony systems - the kind that run on a PBX or hosted service - may not be the first thing you consider as a barrier to collaboration. This technology gives users the ability to answer and transfer calls, manage contacts, but that’s where the collaboration ends. Most IP desk phones can’t extend communication outside the office and linking up mobile phones to a fixed line can be difficult.
A lack of internal IT support and limited budgets often mean SME owners are held captive by this dated telephony. But taking the leap to a cloud-based VoIP system that integrates with other apps and systems can, in fact, be more cost-effective. Easy to use, manage and deploy, choosing a softphone over a desk phone can make your business communications more scalable, future proof and mobile.
2. Compromise on safety
The ‘bring your own device’ or BYOD policy can present a range of network and data security challenges. Common BYOD dangers range from damaging data breaches to malware on the device finding its way onto the corporate network. It’s a major headache for large IT teams. And potentially catastrophic for an SME owner without in-house IT. Another reason to embrace unified communications software is that it offers a range of solutions that offer built-in audio and media encryption for messaging, calling, screen and file sharing, so workers can use their own devices safely.
With built-in security and the ability to buy solutions packaged-up as a service that lays ‘over the top’ of encryption your existing PBX infrastructure, achieving workplace collaboration is more secure, cheaper and simpler than you might think.
Though we have listed some top recommendations to achieve a more collaborative enterprise, it’s also important to know your communications strategy before the implementation. If you have already got this in place, the next step towards attaining effective workplace collaboration would be getting the right UCCaaS solution that supports all your communication needs.
Need some help? CounterPath delivers platform solutions and Unified Communication (UC) clients that enable over-the-top voice, video, messaging and collaboration services, providing the best user experience on a wide range of devices via fixed or mobile networks. Leveraging its Bria® suite of highly secure, open standards-based SIP softphones, CounterPath enhances enterprise collaboration capabilities with the latest communications solutions. Learn more about how you can gain a competitive edge with our award-winning solutions: