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Brief Guide to Devising a Unified Communications Strategy

Published on 21 February 13
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Businesses that take advantage of unified communications (UC) will be able to streamline and combine multiple systemic processes and services so that productivity can be improved and costs reduced.

However, if you do not have a suitable strategy in place to help implement unified communications, you may find that it does not work out entirely as you had envisaged.

As such, it makes sense to devise a strategy before you delve into the process of adoption so that you are well prepared for the road ahead and are able to meet any challenges or obstacles with adequate preparedness.

But how should you go about devising such a strategy and are there any considerations to take on board so that it is as successful as possible?
Upgrade Path

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is just what types of services your business is going to adopt and whether you should go the whole hog and alter every platform so that it fits in with UC at the same time, or instead take the incremental approach.

The answer to this will largely depend on the size of your business and the types of services that you currently have in place.

If, for example, you operate a medium to large firm with a pre-existing internal PBX and an independent voice-mail service, it might be easy to upgrade everything simultaneously to avoid disruption and reap the benefits of UC sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, if your company is on the smaller side and you do not have any complicated systems already integrated, nor the budget to necessarily invest in several new platforms in one go, then you need to adopt a UC solution that fits in with your budget and your needs.

For a start it makes sense for businesses to dip their toes in the UC pond by upgrading to an IP telephony solution, which will allow them to support voice and video calls, before eventually moving on to the use of other combined technologies such as instant messaging.

There is no need to overburden your company at an early stage, so your UC strategy needs to be one of considered restraint.
Infrastructural Improvements

Many businesses find that if they want to implement UC, they will need to work out whether or not their current internal communications infrastructure is up to the task.

You need to support plenty of data bandwidth so that both internal and external communications can occur as seamlessly as possible. Since you will most likely be running voice communications over a digital network, rather than relying on analogue services as in the past, the requirement for high-speed connectivity both locally and to the web will become even more pressing.
Hardware Compatibility

As well as seeing to the infrastructure before upgrading to UC, you will want to assess the suitability of your various hardware components in preparation for migration.

In some respects the levels of backwards compatibility with legacy kit is relatively good, so you may not need to completely rip out all of your existing handsets and workstations if you decide to unify your communications.

This is in part because third party UC providers can host most of the services remotely, which lessens the burden on your internal set-up.

However, it makes sense to work with a company that is able to walk you through the adoption process and guide you around any hazards that might trip up the unprepared.

Planning for unified communications migration is not necessarily a simple process, but if you take the time to consider all the options then you will not be left disappointed.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy Group - a leading UK provider of unified communications solutions.

Businesses that take advantage of unified communications (UC) will be able to streamline and combine multiple systemic processes and services so that productivity can be improved and costs reduced.

However, if you do not have a suitable strategy in place to help implement unified communications, you may find that it does not work out entirely as you had envisaged.

As such, it makes sense to devise a strategy before you delve into the process of adoption so that you are well prepared for the road ahead and are able to meet any challenges or obstacles with adequate preparedness.

But how should you go about devising such a strategy and are there any considerations to take on board so that it is as successful as possible?

Upgrade Path

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is just what types of services your business is going to adopt and whether you should go the whole hog and alter every platform so that it fits in with UC at the same time, or instead take the incremental approach.

The answer to this will largely depend on the size of your business and the types of services that you currently have in place.

If, for example, you operate a medium to large firm with a pre-existing internal PBX and an independent voice-mail service, it might be easy to upgrade everything simultaneously to avoid disruption and reap the benefits of UC sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, if your company is on the smaller side and you do not have any complicated systems already integrated, nor the budget to necessarily invest in several new platforms in one go, then you need to adopt a UC solution that fits in with your budget and your needs.

For a start it makes sense for businesses to dip their toes in the UC pond by upgrading to an IP telephony solution, which will allow them to support voice and video calls, before eventually moving on to the use of other combined technologies such as instant messaging.

There is no need to overburden your company at an early stage, so your UC strategy needs to be one of considered restraint.

Infrastructural Improvements

Many businesses find that if they want to implement UC, they will need to work out whether or not their current internal communications infrastructure is up to the task.

You need to support plenty of data bandwidth so that both internal and external communications can occur as seamlessly as possible. Since you will most likely be running voice communications over a digital network, rather than relying on analogue services as in the past, the requirement for high-speed connectivity both locally and to the web will become even more pressing.

Hardware Compatibility

As well as seeing to the infrastructure before upgrading to UC, you will want to assess the suitability of your various hardware components in preparation for migration.

In some respects the levels of backwards compatibility with legacy kit is relatively good, so you may not need to completely rip out all of your existing handsets and workstations if you decide to unify your communications.

This is in part because third party UC providers can host most of the services remotely, which lessens the burden on your internal set-up.

However, it makes sense to work with a company that is able to walk you through the adoption process and guide you around any hazards that might trip up the unprepared.

Planning for unified communications migration is not necessarily a simple process, but if you take the time to consider all the options then you will not be left disappointed.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy Group - a leading UK provider of unified communications solutions.

This blog is listed under Telecommunications Community

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