You may be sitting in a cubicle right now, living your own personal version of a Dilbert comic strip without the punch line. If you’re the typical American worker, however, you’re not actually working alone.
You’re spending 50–80 percent of your workday communicating – two-thirds of that talking – according to the Journal of Communications article “Measurement of time Spent Communicating.” On average, CEOs spend about 85 percent of their time working with other people in meetings, on phone calls or at public appearances, according to the Executive Time Use Project conducted by scholars from the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School.
We’re spending the majority of our time at work communicating. Communication tools are therefore business-critical and as integral to our office as running water.
Unified Communication solutions integrate real-time communications such as phone calls into a single UI across multiple devices. This week Ombud takes a look at key considerations any organization should take into account when deciding between solutions.
Clean water is basic. Clean water is vital to our survival.
To a lesser extreme, everything basic about a phone is surprisingly important. All the basic call features – conferencing, forwarding, holding, screening, transfering, waiting – are crucial.
Based on Ombud’s research, the major players offer all basic call features. The differentiator is the flexibility for basic functionality to be accessible on the type of device your business is already using. Leveraging existing devices is a great cost saver when hard phones can cost upwards of $100 each (on the conservative side).
Tap. Filtered. Bottled. Flavored…. the list goes on, but we have many options to get our recommended 9-13 cups of water daily.
Similarly, think of all the different ways you can receive a work phone call – hard phones, soft phones (through your computer) and mobile apps.
We are in the generation of mobility. Apple sold nine million iPhones (5s and 5c) over debut weekend alone. Users aren’t just slashing through flying fruit or launching birds at pigs. Forty-one percent of smartphone users are using their private devices for business, according to the 2013 IDG Mobile Survey.
Not all solutions support all mobile devices, however. Mobile device support might only include limited functionality.
For example, a vendor may claim mobile support for Blackberry. Based on Ombud’s research, this might only mean that the Blackberry device will ring simultaneously with an office phone. Is this good enough? Perhaps, but it’s important to know exactly which basic functionality is available for the devices used most often.
Alternatives for clean water are only relevant with consistent access to that water.
Likewise, the real value-add for unified communication systems is the support. Your lines of communication need to be consistently available. If your business doesn’t have a dedicated network team, you will need to rely on vendor support to ensure timely implementation and immediate response to support requests.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, your service provider needs to view you as a partner. To ensure your vendor will be working with you to make your business successful, you need to compare technical support offerings. Unified Communications is critical to your business, but what is your solution provider’s mission-critical response time? Be certain the vendor has the capacity and response time you need.
Your vendor needs to provide basic call functionality to the widest range of devices – including your existing devices to minimize costs and provide greatest convenience.
Ombud has done extensive research on the top players in the space. If you need further assistance researching unified communications, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.