5 Things You Must Include In Your Unified Comms Strategy
When formulating your unified comms strategy, it’s easy to get carried away with new technology and shiny features.
The allure of a new unified comms provider and the chatter on social media about new features can deter anyone from what’s most important in their unified comms business case.
While we always encourage the excitement of new tools and everything innovative, it’s vital you consider these five key elements in your unified comms strategy.
1 - Leverage existing assets
If you’ve got the budget and the appetite to go all-in on new tech, go for it! But, in business, this is rarely the case.
To reduce net new spend on unified comms tech, audit everything you already have and work out what can be re-used or remain in use. If something does the job, and there’s no tangible reason to remove it, keep it.
For example, you might need to bring your PBX into the 21st century and move to the cloud. If your handsets are interoperable with your new platform, reconfigure them and keep those instead of adding a $100 per user cost to your total cost.
The same can be said for headsets and other peripherals. If they still work, and you won’t benefit from refreshing, there’s little need to upgrade.
Keeping existing assets is all well and good. But, sometimes, it can cause frustrations if you introduce new tech that doesn’t support it.
This moves us onto our second key area for your unified comms strategy.
2 - Plan for integration
Be it existing on-premises equipment with new cloud tech or several platforms working together, integration has been the buzzword of the last decade.
As enterprises come to grips with the reality that there is no single platform for business operations, ensuring productivity of what you do have is of paramount importance.
A classic example is using Skype for Business (and now Microsoft Teams) for your meetings and chat but integrating a calling platform for external PSTN calls.
Especially in the cases where you’re still in a contract and can leverage existing assets (see section above), you’re hard pushed not to do so. Not leveraging discounted minutes while using a familiar and intuitive interface just makes sense.
Forcing users to switch back to a different app just to make an external call is counterproductive and encourages unnecessary context switching.
Whatever the app, hardware, or server you need to continue using, make sure there’s an option to integrate with your new tech.
Then make sure what you’re proposing as new tech is genuinely going to improve your current processes and workflows.
3 - Evaluate your current processes and workflows
When introducing new tech into a business, it must be to solve a problem or improve an inefficiency.
So one of the first steps you need to take is to assess your current state.
Maybe customers are reporting it takes too long to get through to your support team. Perhaps your marketing team is calling for better collaboration with external contractors.
All the support tickets that add up through the year are a source of what does and doesn’t work in your business.
Spend time filtering requests you couldn’t fulfill with your current unified comms stack. Add in any features that are obvious must-haves that you don’t have now. Then compare your future state with them.
Relating current processes and workflows to a potential (and better) future state will help you plan what the new ones look like—and help you devise a shopping list for your unified comms strategy.
4 - Judge your pace of innovation
How fast do your users respond to new technology?
If your pace of innovation is rapid, it’s worth seeking out a forward-thinking unified comms that will evolve as the unified comms market continues to grow.
But, if your users are still clinging onto email and physical handsets, the next Slack probably isn't the right option.
In Crossing The Chasm, Geoffrey Moore introduces the concept of five different people or businesses in the technology life cycle:
Identify where the majority of your users fit on this list. If nobody is going to appreciate or use the technology, there’s no need to inspect the roadmap or go bleeding edge.
Sometimes, it’s not workable for enterprises to be at the height of technology. With change management and existing projects, sheer scale can hold companies back.
The opposite is true too. Startups with few staff can afford to chop and change technology when a new feature gets rolled out if it will transform the way they work.
Interview department leaders and product champions to get a sense of where your business lies on this scale.
5 - Calculate your total cost of ownership
When you’ve factored in existing assets, integration, and your current setup, it’s time to crunch the numbers.
What is your genuine cost of ownership over the proposed period of time?
How does that stack up compared to your previous spell with inferior software and hardware?
Only when you’re in the black (factoring in tangible and intangible factors) should you proceed with implementing your new unified comms strategy or buying your next platform.
Need help creating your unified comms strategy? Visit UCX USA in Austin in September 2023 for inspiration and guidance.