As many organizations continue to grapple with what the future of the workplace will look like for the long term, it can be challenging to know whether you're making smart technology investments.
Not surprisingly, Unified Communications (UC) is a major area seeing growth. According to research firm Metrigy's 2021-2022 global study on workplace collaboration, 82% of companies are using video for most or all meetings and 57.1% are using team collaboration apps as work hubs. In fact, 72% of executives expect to raise spending on virtual collaboration tools, says PWC.
But with constant change, how can you be confident you're making investments that will help your business meet the needs of employees and customers today while also supporting future growth? Cloud services certainly make it easier to scale and add new features as needed, but there's a bit more to the equation that demands consideration.
For instance, how does the unified communications (UC) solution you select fit into the bigger business picture? Are you choosing a reliable UC vendor who will be there for you and support your current and future needs?
We believe every business manager should ask themselves four questions before making a commitment to a communications provider. Keep your answers close by as you weigh your UC options so you can be confident you're entering into a healthy, long-lasting relationship.
Four Questions to Uncover What Your Business Actually Needs
1. Where Are You in Your Digital Transformation Strategy?
Perhaps you have a formal digital transformation strategy―or maybe it's on the docket for 2021. It's important to be honest about where you are on the digitization path, where you want to be and whether you have the right resources on hand to help you get there. Some UC solutions don't let you grow at your own pace.
Don't be afraid to ask vendors tough questions about their ability to help your business on its unique journey. If, for example, you're not ready for a complete cloud deployment, can the provider give you the communications tools you need today to succeed? How easy will it be to migrate to the cloud when you're ready?
2. What Technologies Will You Need to Future-Proof Your Organization?
Just because most companies are using video conferencing doesn't mean it has to be top of your list. Maybe an integrated contact center is your highest priority. Mitel has a number of options available to help you create a more engaging customer experience and empower your employees to create happy and loyal customers.
For those who are focused on collaboration, think about which technologies will best serve you today and tomorrow. Shared workspaces, single-click access to real-time audio and video conferencing and a seamless experience across multiple devices are just a few of the features you may need right now. Unified interfaces and omnichannel communication are other popular features.
But what might you need in three, five or 10 years? You may not know the answer, so look for a UC provider with a focus on innovation. We're happy to report Mitel has a record of being one step ahead. We were the first to move to the cloud, and we were talking remote work well before it took over the working world. Make sure you can depend on your provider to support your requirements today and be ready with what you need tomorrow.
3. What Type of Workforce Do You Need to Support?
In-person, remote, hybrid―chances are, your business needs to be able to support them all. Flexibility and scalability are the most important characteristics when it comes to meeting the needs of today's ever-changing workforce.
What are the most important communications tools your staff needs to thrive no matter where they are? Some of the items that may be top of mind are a mobile-first design and a unified experience across devices.
Depending on your business, however, file sharing, archiving projects by subject or a personal dashboard for tracking to-do's may be what your employees really need. Be certain the solution you select gives your employees a wide array of options when it comes to communicating and collaborating with each other. The system should make it easier to get work done, and employees should find it simple to use―from anywhere and on any device.
4. What UC Vendor Qualities Matter the Most for Success?
Every business will answer this question slightly differently, but you can't go wrong by starting with the vendor's reputation. What do their current customers say about them? What kind of success stories can they share?
And while a strong relationship can take time to develop, there's still nothing wrong with trusting your gut. In your initial meetings, a vendor who tries to push a cookie-cutter solution that doesn't exactly meet your needs is definite cause for concern.Does the provider have a history of reliability? How focused are they on security? Do they make you feel confident your lines of communications will stay open no matter what challenges may arise? You should be able to rest easy knowing your long-term success is just as important to them as it is to you.
What to Know Before You Commit: Key Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your UC Provider
As organizations put more time and money into communications technology, it's critical to properly assess your needs before you make any big investments. If you're interested in some additional guidance, contact us to help you find the perfect UC solution match. It can give you peace of mind. You'll know for certain you're making a smart decision for the long-term health and success of your business.
By the Experts at Mitel