Unified communications (UC) is not new technology. Many businesses were using it prior to January 2020 to help keep their people connected – a great way to remain competitive in a fast-evolving digital economy. But with the outbreak of Covid-19, which overnight had companies shifting their workers to remote offices, UC suddenly went from being a nice-to-have to a must-have. Erich Hitzeman, Director Channel Sales, Jabra says while the reasons for this are many, communications still ranks near or at the top.
“The power of UC was no big secret even before Covid,” he said. “Gartner predicted that the UC market would roughly double between 2017 and 2021. Now, with all that’s happened, with some people back to the office, some at home, some in between, the need for seamless communication has really never been greater.”
Companies that haven’t yet started their UC journey, or who have dabbled in but not yet committed to it, do well to consider the advantages being enjoyed by businesses that are well down the UC road, including but certainly not limited to:
- Location – While pre-Covid under 10 per cent of Canadians worked remotely, that percentage swelled to 40 per cent with the lockdowns. For distributed teams in a hybrid scenario, seamless communications are critical. In 2021 people work from anywhere – and their work setup must be lean. UC delivers a “one-stop” work experience, with no need to use multiple solutions to perform a single task or function. And because UC is delivered from the cloud, this seamless experience can happen any time, on any device, from anywhere on the planet.
- Scalability – The pandemic has shown how quickly change can blow in and alter reality. Now more than ever, businesses must be able to scale up or down as the situation demands. On-prem communications systems can’t offer true scalability – at least not compared to something cloud-based. UC providers can.
- Resilience – Covid-19 caught many, if not most, companies flat-footed. Many simply weren’t prepared to support a mostly-offsite staff. Avoiding another similar mad scramble in the future, whether it’s another health crisis or something else, is without a doubt on business leaders’ minds as they move tentatively into this new world of work. A key piece of the resilience puzzle is in offering more work flexibility. According to one PwC study, 73 per cent of CFOs think flexibility is critical as companies prepare for future events and disruptions. For companies with most employees working from home and workloads migrated to the cloud, a future calamity (for some) could be just another day at the office.
Covering the Bases
Leveraging technology like UC is not a simple matter of setting it up and reaping the rewards. “User adoption is driven by people’s understanding of all aspects of a platform,” said Hitzeman. “Communication of these elements is critical from the very get-go, and continues to be important even after you’ve outfitted your employees. You want to really hit that sweet spot where people know not only what they’re using but also why.”
When deploying a UC solution, you will want to cover the following bases:
- Assess – Take a holistic look at your entire infrastructure, which will allow you to assess how UC can fit and how to satisfy your specific needs and requirements
- Communicate – Undertake an internal communication program, develop training to get people up to speed and help them understand the benefits of UC.
- Champion – Identify those with UC knowledge and enthusiasm, and thatch them into the planning and implementation process. C-suite momentum will be key.
“Deploying UC requires businesses to embrace new ways of working,” said Hitzeman. “Jabra has been championing and enabling new ways of working for years – long before anyone had even heard the word ‘Covid.’ We know the benefits and potential ROIs of successfully adopting the right new tools and technologies, and it shows in our offerings which serve to empower professionals working in a true hybrid office reality.”
Jabra Can Help
Jabra knows UC solutions, having helped thousands of IT managers around the world deploy headsets to their staff. Jabra headsets (such as those in its Evolve series) are fully compatible with most softphone clients, and give people “deluxe” functionality with remote call control and connectivity to multiple devices.