ROI Networks at a Glance

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Harnessing the Power of Business Intelligence in the Call Center

Call CenterHaving the power to make timely and knowledgeable decisions is a crucial part of succeeding in the call center environment. Business intelligence (BI) allows organizations to harness this power, giving leaders greater insight into performance and talent attributes where greater efficiency and productivity can be achieved among individuals and throughout the entire organization.

In spite of the well-known advantages of BI, it still remains new territory for many organizations. The following places a spotlight on BI and its ability to promote positive change in many aspects of the call center.

Defining Business Intelligence

The goal of BI is to sift through big data and use the information gained to aid in the decision-making process, ensuring that organizations remain competitive and responsive to upcoming trends and sudden changes in marketing strategy. BI also seeks to foster consistent improvement, promote beneficial business activity, and allow leaders to identify and tackle potential problems before they have an opportunity to sideline operations.

BI has always been around in one form or another, but the rise of cloud-based call center technology has made it much easier to use. In the days before modern tools, much of the data needed to facilitate BI would have to have been pulled, analyzed, and reported manually. As a result, organizations that needed BI most often lacked the agility to benefit from it.

The Role of BI in the Call Center

Integrating BI into the call center allows leaders to harness the power of big data for their daily operations. By using analysis of agent performance and how it could potentially affect business outcomes in real time, it becomes much easier to quickly and easily address performance concerns. The end result is months of improvements that now only take weeks to achieve.

BI also introduces a historical perspective to call centers. For instance, improvements in scheduling, resource allocation, and cost forecasting often come from examining historic data. Trends gleaned from this data can be put to good use when adjusting hiring needs, agent schedules, and additional training.

Employing historical and real-time BI allows organizations to become more responsive to changes in customer demands, allowing call center agents to pivot quickly in order to meet those changes.

Quantifying Success

Organizations should remember that BI isn’t a smoking gun when it comes to producing success. It’s important to define, monitor, and measure the metrics that are essential to the call center’s overall effectiveness. These metrics can be used to identify areas in need of improvement and generate new data sets for further analysis.

For more information on how business intelligence can benefit your call center operations, contact us at ROI Networks for a no-obligation consultation.

Cloud Convergence: Harnessing and Simplifying the Power of the Cloud

CloudWhether technology-focused or not, in today’s environment, all businesses have technical challenges to meet. Data is fundamental to evaluating markets, planning for growth, improving internal process efficiency, and dozens of other tasks across all areas of business. And with the great complexity of business data comes great complexity in data management. One way of meeting these challenges is to leverage converged data infrastructure in the cloud.

What is converged data infrastructure?

Converged infrastructure is a way of providing tested configurations of applications and services. With a converged system, technologies such as data storage, database queries, networking architecture, and other useful features are bundled together to address as many business needs as possible. This allows companies to outsource much of the costly setup and integration work, as well as allowing – in some cases – converged infrastructures to be replicated across providers.

Not all converged infrastructures, however, are provider-agnostic. Solutions from companies such as Amazon and Google may tie businesses in to their specific business model, and make it more difficult to replicate environments elsewhere. Whether or not this is desirable depends a great deal on what ancillary services a business needs to integrate, and how their disaster recovery plans are shaped.

What considerations go into selecting cloud infrastructure and converged data infrastructure?

Three major considerations should guide the cloud converged infrastructure decision: cost, management, and security.

  • Cost. Cloud services perform well against services managed in-house because they tend to cut down on up-front expenses, and they can also reduce the need for a company to have a dedicated team of IT professionals and managers. However, care needs to be taken with savings in the cloud: some cost-saving measures, such as shared hosting environments, come with tradeoffs in the form of security. And the cost advantage of outsourcing data expertise and management is only a wise investment if the service provider chosen has the expertise and availability to meet all of a company’s needs.
  • Management. Regardless of how experienced a service provider is, they can’t take on all facets of data management for a company. Companies need to research and make informed decisions about a number of aspects, such as what services are to be considered core, what converged stacks are under consideration, how important server location is, what namespace access (as well as replication and failover) is going to be, and how performance is going to be evaluated to determine whether the move to the cloud is a success. This may be a different skillset than a traditional IT manager may have, and businesses may need to invest in training to bring business sense and awareness to technical employees.
  • Security. Some converged data infrastructure providers have excellent physical security and data encryption, and those companies with strong security practices should be sought out and preferred. But businesses also need to consider what security policies they’ll put in place, such as requiring access to cloud data to use VPN connections, or requiring strong passwords and up-to-date anti-virus software on personal devices in a BYOD workplace. Data security also needs to be taken in to account in the form of disaster recovery: for example, can a converged infrastructure solution be replicated across providers, in the case of a provider-wide outage?

The Final Word

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to data management. Converged data solutions, however, do offer a degree of standardization and ease of access which can be extremely powerful for businesses.

ROI Networks simplifies the complex world of business collaboration and communication technologies. Contact us today to learn more.

What Are Your Technology Resolutions?

The telecom, IT, and cloud industries evolve quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Evaluate your business’s technology needs now to start 2017 off on the right foot.
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A Growing Number of Businesses Are Discovering the Benefits of UCaaS

July 4Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based strategy for merging multiple telecom and communication software applications in a centralized and easily accessible virtual space. In 2014, the global UCaaS market was valued at $13.1 billion, and that figure is expected to nearly double by 2019.

A growing number of businesses are discovering the many benefits of UCaaS platforms. They deliver competitive advantages by allowing employees to instantly communicate with clients and team members using virtually any mode and any connected device at any time. Here’s a look at some of the other key aspects of its value proposition:
 

  • Better business continuity. Business continuity and disaster planning are essential to any enterprise strategy. With UCaaS, communication downtime is virtually eliminated in the event of an emergency or unforeseen disaster, allowing team members to remain productive and responsive in the aftermath of a service disruption.
  • Improved employee mobility. Growing numbers of workers are choosing to telecommute part or all of the time, and UCaaS provides them with a comprehensive communication and productivity toolbox. Third-party applications can quickly and easily be integrated into a UCaaS platform, giving businesses and their employees optimal flexibility.
  • Effective collaboration tools. Collaboration is the lifeblood of any enterprise, and the rise of more mobile workplaces means that businesses need dynamic and innovative solutions. UCaaS supports collaboration over any distance with its complete suite of communication and productivity tools, which can reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive business travel.
  • Ease of deployment. Compared to conventional telephone systems, UCaaS is easier to install and integrate. It greatly reduces physical resource requirements and is ideal for new companies that are looking to get up and running quickly with minimal expenditures.
  • Simplified scalability. UCaaS services can be scaled up or down quickly, and users only pay for the services they actively use. Pre-packaged solutions that require enterprises to sign up for services they may not actually need are not part of the prevailing sales model.

Best of all, UCaaS services can significantly cut costs while offering convenient user features like one-number dialing. Choosing a best-in-class service model is essential to realizing its full benefits, so be sure to carefully compare the relative benefits and advantages offered by competing providers.

If you would like to learn more about ROI Networks’ dynamic suite of UCaaS and enterprise collaboration tools, contact us today.

How Business Apps and UCaaS Are a Powerful Partnership

ROI June blog 3Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a hot topic in the IT sector. As leaders search for areas that can be streamlined and unified, this tool is starting to answer those needs on a routine basis. The benefits of integrating a UCaaS solution with the company’s existing software are proving to be substantial. Following are a few integration points to consider.

CRM Tools

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the most common program to benefit from a UCaaS implementation. The combination of the two systems allows company representatives to be more efficient, reduces hold and call handling times, and helps avoid duplicate data entry. Records of each call are noted in the CRM system automatically and if a customer must be transferred, call information can be conveyed without requiring a lengthy handoff between departments. Customers are more satisfied with the time needed to fulfill their requests and sales or support reps enjoy the improved process of making or taking calls.

Popular Cloud Apps

Another point of integration with UCaaS tools is the cloud software already in use by billions of consumers and companies. Skype, Google Apps, web meeting software, email programs, and more can provide more powerful functionality when the two packages are combined.

Making calls, scheduling meetings, sending emails, or creating marketing campaigns can be done with fewer steps and less effort. As a result, workplace productivity is improved and efficiency increases. Recovering such significant amounts of time in a work day could have powerful downstream effects as other strategic company initiatives have more resources available.

Mobile Devices

Over the past several years, the mobile world has made major leaps forward. Businesses are increasingly leveraging new mobile technologies to transform work culture and improve accessibility. UCaaS is a natural fit with a company’s mobile strategy as it aids with call handling, video and web conferencing, messaging, and sharing of information.

Workers are more connected to customers, leaders, and one another. Collaboration is instant, efficient, and effective. The wait for information to be conveyed is minimal or nonexistent. The outcome is clear — delivering on organizational goals can occur more rapidly than ever before thanks to the compound effects of using these complementary tools.

UC tools are a necessity in the technological workplace of today and the UCaaS method of delivery is a cost-efficient way to acquire these robust tool kits. Integration with other business software amplifies the efficacy of both products and may enable the company to accomplish bigger and better goals as a result.

For more information regarding UCaaS, contact ROI Networks today.

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Hosted PBX Phone System

If strengthening communications has become a regular conversation at your company, it’s time to take a look at Hosted PBX. Utilizing cloud, it has become more than just a phone system and can be especially beneficial for those businesses with distributed workforces. Here’s how.

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Choosing the Right SaaS Solution

ROI April blog 4Cloud technology plays a significant role in modern business. As the cloud evolves and improves, so does the willingness of many businesses to give up their on-premises solutions in favor of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Communications as a Service (CaaS).

SaaS has its benefits, but it is not necessarily the right tool for every business. Following are factors that every small to medium-sized business (SMB) should consider before making the switch.

Upfront Costs

Cost is one of the major factors to consider when it comes to choosing a SaaS solution. Between the costs of installation, equipment purchases, and licensing and the continuous costs of maintenance and upkeep, on-premises solutions often represent an unfavorably expensive option to many businesses.

On the other hand, SaaS solutions don’t require any on-site equipment, nor do they need in-house management. SaaS systems can also be easily scaled up to accommodate growth – a boon for many small businesses.

Although SMBs tend to be more sensitive to upfront costs, the total cost of ownership for enterprise-level businesses may not be as noticeable when comparing cloud-based SaaS with on-premises solutions. As a result, it’s important for businesses to consider the upfront and recurring costs of both.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is another important factor to consider when choosing a SaaS solution. Unlike on-premises solutions, SaaS applications and services are cloud-driven, meaning that a natural disaster or unplanned outage won’t result in any data losses or service interruptions. This can be a major benefit for a company whose business model depends on steady, uninterrupted service.

Technical Support

On-premises solutions often require an in-house team to handle various aspects of support and management, including routine maintenance and software upgrades. Businesses that don’t have their own IT teams usually rely on outside vendors for those functions. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are often maintained and managed by the service provider.

As a cloud-based solution, SaaS often comes with its own technical support. However, the level of support offered may vary depending on the client’s budget. This usually ranges from email-only support at lower price points to 24/7 live support at higher price points.

Contract Terms

Although flexibility is a key selling point for SaaS applications, many providers still favor lengthy contracts that lock clients into long-term service in exchange for more favorable pricing. If a company becomes dissatisfied with their SaaS provider in the middle of a three-year contract, the company may not be able to cancel without incurring penalties.

It’s important for businesses to study contract terms carefully before committing to any SaaS solution. An ideal contract is one that allows businesses to readily adapt whenever their needs and overall business trends change.

The decision to adopt cloud-based communications solutions shouldn’t be taken lightly. What works for one company may not be ideal for another, which is why any SaaS solution should be carefully vetted to insure that it’s an ideal fit for a business’s unique needs. To learn more about how SaaS can benefit business operations, contact ROI Networks today.

Collaboration in the Cloud Drives Business Growth

ROI April blog 3The cloud has paved the way for collaboration opportunities never before known in the age of snail mail and traditional telephony. It has provided more effective collaboration in board rooms, cubicles, and remote workplaces, allowing businesses to keep pace with the growing mobility trend.

Cloud Options

The cloud offers various models that businesses can choose from depending on their specific needs. Private, public, and hybrid clouds can be mixed and matched to achieve a platform that suits unique requirements.

A private cloud typically sits in a private network, making it the most secure of all the cloud types. It is, however, the most expensive because it requires enterprises to purchase and maintain their own data center infrastructure.

A public cloud is housed in a third party location and clients pay their providers for hosting and other related functions. While it may be the cheapest model, it does not provide the same level of security that a private cloud does.

A hybrid environment uses a mix of private cloud and public cloud. An enterprise can use the private cloud to host critical data and workloads but can use the public cloud for workloads that are less critical.

​Moving to the Cloud

Companies looking to build a cloud-based collaboration strategy need to partner with telecom agents that have the expertise and right carrier connections. More importantly, IT executives should choose a solution that can add value to their business and enable their organization to:

Increase network resiliency Cloud collaboration services lessen the burden on IT administrators of supporting the network themselves while reducing the risk of network downtime. Providers have heavily invested in their own network infrastructure to ensure that their clients’ networks have the capability to respond, adjust, and adapt to any situation.

Benefit from robust security Cloud service providers are under increasing pressure to make their solutions more secure in compliance with regulatory requirements. They want their security offerings to be a differentiator that helps gain the trust and loyalty of their clients. As such, a cloud environment is more secure than the on-premise security system of an individual organization with a limited security budget.

Enjoy manageability Collaboration allows for faster application deployment and simpler network management. With servers off-premise and out of sight, IT staff is relieved of the complexity of maintaining the system. Providers take care of rolling out regular software updates, backups, intrusion detection, and other relevant reports. Employees who used to wear multiple hats can now perform streamlined jobs in dashboard style.

Create and harmonize new features into the system – Open private cloud solutions allow the integration of new features into the collaboration platform. Enterprises can make use of open application program interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) to develop their own applications. This feature eliminates the cost of buying new services and the need for reconfiguration while enhancing employee and customer satisfaction.

Minimize the cost of legacy hardware Existing infrastructure may contain outdated hardware and legacy systems that are expensive to maintain. An open collaboration platform allows companies to reduce legacy system usage and gradually move the organization forward to cheaper, cloud-enabled collaborative solutions.

The cloud helps drive innovation, growth, and business transformation. For businesses looking to explore the benefits of collaboration in the cloud, contact us for a no-commitment consultation.

Staying on Top of Cloud Security

ROI April blog 1The past several years have seen a massive shift from traditional on-premise services and hardware to cloud-based solutions of all shapes and sizes. With that shift came hackers and pirates looking for easy ways to steal data. Considering that IT spending on cloud is expected to consume a company’s entire technology budget within the next few years, it’s important that IT managers learn how to protect against breaches. Constructing and implementing a comprehensive security plan is absolutely essential before deploying cloud solutions.

Choose the Right Partnerships

A cloud-based solution is only as good as the vendor’s security provisions. Using a provider that doesn’t also supply a robust security system is likely to cause trouble in the future. Select a partner with a sterling reputation and a full suite of security tools. One trend that has resulted from the need for security in the cloud is the use of data security warehouses that specialize in sensitive data management.

Read the Fine Print

Before choosing a cloud vendor, be sure to understand their methods of storage and management. In addition, read contracts very carefully and look for any unclear terms. Verify who holds the burden in the case of a security incident, as these can quickly bankrupt a business. Contracts aren’t exciting to read, but they certainly do result in chaos if they’re not what they seemed to be. It may be beneficial to pay for legal review before signing on the dotted line.

Passwords

Passwords are a basic element of security, and strong passwords can prevent a breach more effectively than most other security tools. Enforce rules for password complexity that require use of special characters, numbers, and capital and lowercase letters. Preventing the use of previously saved passwords or common dictionary words is essential. The company’s authentication/authorization system may utilize a library of easily cracked passwords to prevent their use.

Encryption

No matter where data resides, it should be encrypted. This is especially true when it is housed in the cloud. Whether at rest or in motion, encryption should be used to provide additional protection. Employ the most current encryption standards as older versions may expose vulnerabilities, and be prepared to update the company’s encryption as technology evolves.

The cloud is a powerful business tool, but is one that must be used sensibly and with security as a top priority. A company must construct and consistently enforce a security program that actively defends against new threats. Doing so can save billions in breach recovery costs as well as preserve future revenue. To learn how ROI Networks helps businesses stay on top of cloud security, contact us today.