Ditching the desk phone is easier than you'd think. In late January, Sentrian dropped our ageing landline connections and made the change to a soft phone, IP telephony system. We are now a unified communications (UC) workplace.
UC is becoming prolific in offices around the world. Amazingly, close to 100% of businesses are expected to deploy UC to some extent by 2020. Today we're offering some insights from our own transition to help you better understand what's involved what's on offer by changing to unified communications.
Transitioning to UC can be a simple process, if done correctly. This means effective planning is essential. We chose Vocus UC-One (powered by Broadsoft) as our solution because it offered us the flexibility to start by replacing our old phone system and then integrating with other communications technologies at our own pace.
From here, our transition coordinator-in-chief Derek tackled the technical details and developed a straightforward process. Derek and key team members made the most of the transition to provide a great opportunity to improve our internal call flow set-up – that is where calls to our public phone number are directed interally. This took two steps: (1) drafting the call flow plan with department heads, and (2) aligning the plan with actual technical capabilities.
After this process and following several rounds of internal testing, our UC solution was ready to go live.
What the transition means for staff
Basic staff training session for UC is not a must. A few simple guides can be sufficient. However in our case, we offered a single employee training session to help ensure our clients continued to receive a consistent communications experience.
For staff, their real benefit is no longer being tied to their desks. UC offers a great deal of freedom in communications. Essentially it transfers your office communications and places them in the cloud.
The soft phone system means your phone numbers are no longer tied to physical hardware, be it a desk or mobile phone. Instead your business phone numbers are tied to accounts. This allows calls to be forward to any compatible device – being a simple headset, PC, iOS or Android device.
Plus UC can link multiple address books, including Office 365 contacts, and tie in with an instant messaging platform to enhance internal communications.
Where UC leaves landlines behind
The soft phone system is great for providing a consistent experience, particularly in cases of disaster recovery or office relocation. With phone connections being in the cloud, customers and clients can remain in contact with your business even if your office is out of action.
For all of these benefits, UC does rely on a consistent internet connection. Call quality is heavily reliant on having an uncongested connection. Additionally, the date and time of transition from your current phone services provider to the UC provider may not be negotiable. However contingencies may be able to prevent downtime.
Our transition to UC was largely hassle-free. We're continuing to explore our expanded communications options, particularly internally.
What we've learnt is the key to rolling out a new unified communications platform, is ease-of-use. That it is essential that anyone can pick it up and get going. We can safely say that in our experience, our UC solution was able to more than meet this standard.
Image Credit: 'Disconnected' by Bob B. Brown on Flickr.