5 Unified Communications Features Every Business Should Have

Unified CommunicationsUnified communications (UC) has revolutionized telephony systems for enterprises. Outdated phone systems that use legacy technologies are officially obsolete, and continuing to use them can actually inhibit a business’s ability to grow and respond to the dynamic needs of its customers and clients.

Companies that are ready to make the switch to UC solutions should be sure to look for these five key features:

On-the-Go Accessibility

Today’s world is a dynamic and mobile place, and the most efficient and effective UC systems offer access to users wherever and whenever there’s an Internet connection available. Mobility features allow employees and customer service representatives to be productive and available beyond their desks, and that’s an increasingly valuable feature as traditional ways of doing business continue to change.
Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity

UC solutions allow employees to customize their outbound and inbound call protocols in ways that are far more flexible than the possibilities offered by legacy systems and operator-assisted networks. Some of these possibilities include:

  • Applications that offer real-time inbound and outbound call control
  • Teleconferencing capabilities
  • Customized hold and priority sequencing features

These tools can all be configured to prioritize customer service objectives while giving employees creative solutions with pinpoint control.

Easy Compatibility

Compatibility was a major issue in the early days of UC, with devices from different manufacturers sometimes posing problems when connected to a single network. However, compatibility has come a long way in the past few years, and systems that support devices from various manufacturers can often save businesses a significant amount of money.

Even better, enhanced compatibility enables organizations to pick and choose the devices that best meet their specific needs without needing to worry about which manufacturer produces it. This gives the system superior flexibility and a wider range of performance capabilities.
Remote Support

The nature of the office is changing. People are telecommuting in growing numbers, and it’s common for even smaller enterprises to maintain staff at multiple locations. UC systems ensure that all employees, no matter where they’re working, have access to the same suite of performance and productivity features.
Value for Investment

A lot of businesses are tempted by UC systems with low up-front costs, but it’s important to carefully calculate how much value the system will deliver in the long term relative to its price. Businesses should be particularly aware of add-on features and hidden costs. In most cases, it’s better to invest a little more up front in exchange for cost certainty and predictability going forward.

ROI Networks offers a complete range of advanced UC solutions, loaded with the essential features businesses need to stay competitive in a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Please contact us today to learn more about our wide range of available UC products and service packages.

BYOD Options: The More, the Messier

BYODOrganizations are finding increasing value in allowing a wider array of devices to be used for company business. From improved worker satisfaction and productivity to reduced communications equipment costs, this simple perk makes a surprising difference. Before implementing a flexible bring your own device (BYOD) program, a number of key factors must be considered to protect company interests.

Security Provisions

One of the most concerning issues for organizations considering a BYOD program is the perceived lack of control over the device, especially as it relates to security. Any equipment capable of accessing company networks or data represents a point of risk of exposure. An important part of a successful device strategy is to dictate certain requirements for all devices involved.

For example, the policy may call for active anti-virus applications on any devices that will be used. Access to sensitive data may be configured so that a VPN tunnel must be used rather than straight access from a suspicious hotspot or public Wi-Fi. A PIN or password on the device could be another requirement. These types of tactics allow any device to be used with less risk of data loss or compromise.

Employee Training

In some cases, data breaches result from a lack of employee training. Without being educated on why public hotspots could be dangerous, a worker may not think twice about connecting to their work email from the coffee shop’s Wi-Fi. Teaching staff about phishing, rogue applications designed to collect payment and authorization information, and ways to physically protect devices from being lost or stolen increases their awareness. Giving them the tools to help protect the company and themselves minimizes the chance of a security incident from a BYOD connection.

Manageability

Another troublesome “control” issue within BYOD programs is how to terminate access if an employee leaves. Removing company data, applications, and connectivity may seem impossible. However, with today’s mobile device management tools this task becomes painless and efficient. Devices that are lost or stolen can be deactivated or wiped, access can be deleted, and sensitive information tightly secured.

Application Selection

Last but not least, choosing the right applications for use across the company is a necessary part of the BYOD conversation. For example, applications that are strictly on-premise or legacy are going to be out of reach for most, if not all, mobile devices. Ensure that cloud applications are secure and compatible with other company systems before choosing to implement them.

BYOD programs take significant burden off of IT personnel who would ordinarily be inundated with acquiring, provisioning, supporting, configuring, and deactivating devices. Workers get more done with hardware they’re most familiar with and enjoy the freedom to use their preferred devices. Flexible BYOD strategies can be quite effective with an appropriate measure of preparedness. For more information on creating effective mobile policies, contact ROI Networkstoday.

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.

Why Managed Mobility Services Are the Answer

July 2Everything is connected these days, leading to complications where control of mobile devices on a company network is concerned. As the company’s mobile landscape continues to grow, so does the time and effort needed to manage it. An increasingly viable option today is managed mobility services (MMS), a method of outsourcing this complicated and tedious task.

Managing Complexity

A number of factors lend to the labyrinth that is business mobility. There are numerous reasons a company may consider using an MMS as a quality solution to the problem.

  • The use of mobile has increased dramatically and rapidly, so much so that many IT departments are finding that they do not have the expertise to handle the growing number of connections required.
  • Bring your own device (BYOD) programs can translate into a seemingly infinite number of devices that require connectivity—and bandwidth.
  • Securing BYOD devices is especially challenging without an effective Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, and even then may take significant resources.
  • Policy and corporate strategy must adapt to the expansion of technology. Integration of mobile devices into an existing network is not an easy feat.

Mobility Spending

First and foremost, a solid MDM application is required to help manage the intricacy of a mobile program. Second, skilled personnel are needed to operate the application effectively. These two factors alone can be quite an expense, with no guarantee of ROI. Provisioning new devices, tracking and suspending missing items, removing unnecessary equipment from the system, and securing both sides of every connection will take considerable labor hours.

A managed mobility solution removes these financial burdens from the company and provides faster, more efficient service for a reasonable rate. Industry experts help strategize and integrate a comprehensive mobile solution into the company network, then deploy and maintain it. This results in reduced labor costs, better asset protection, and even discounts on the acquisition of new devices.

Customization

Some organizations may require specific levels of control over their mobile solution, or a user interface that is designed to be tightly coupled with current company applications and services. This is outside the realm of typical developers, so the expertise afforded by managed service providers is invaluable. Not only will the software be highly customized, but it is also likely to be produced more cost-effectively and rapidly than doing it in-house.

The decision to use managed mobility solutions rather than service a mobile program internally is one that encompasses the entire company. Partnering with a reputable mobile solution provider can save money, allow the business to use its own resources more effectively, enhance security, and build a sound mobile strategy. To further discuss outsourcing for this complex technical area, contact us today.

How Mobility Technologies Improve Workplace Productivity and Customer Service

ROI June blog 1Mobility has become a key feature of enterprise technology, and it’s changed the face of the business world. Mobile technologies have made it possible for employees to respond to key queries outside of regular working hours, participate in conference calls from virtually anywhere, and provide vastly improved customer service. However, mobility has far more to offer than just convenience; it also supports improved productivity and workplace efficiency.

Mobility Technologies Help Employees Work Faster

Listening to employee needs helps those at the management level choose applications and technologies that can improve efficiency. One way to generate key insights into the types of tools employees require is to ask them to finish the following statement: “I would be able to manage critical tasks more effectively if we had…” Is there a mobility tool on the market that can fill that need? If so, it should be considered.
Mobility Enables More Effective Collaboration

Delivering collaboration features to employees in real time is one of the most convenient and effective strategies for improving collaboration initiatives, and mobile technologies deliver these capabilities in exciting new ways. Imagine how much easier it would be to attract new clients and close deals if marketing, sales, and business operations teams were able to access the same resources and work together to complete proposals. They would be able to respond to client needs much more quickly and with greater precision — and that, in turn, would be a big boost to the bottom line.
Mobility Leads to Better Customer Service

Customer service models are changing. Today, customers want to be able to access company and product information on the go, through multiple channels. Providing customers with that access prevents them from moving on to a competitor. Understanding customer needs and preferences and then offering effective solutions is the key to maintaining an edge in today’s hyper-connected business landscape.

Enterprises should begin by taking stock of their current IT infrastructure and capabilities to see where key upgrades could be made in support of a more mobile and productive workforce. Boosting wireless network capabilities, providing the right apps and tools to employees, and adding the right mobile devices to the company’s inventory are all sound strategies for harnessing the immense power of mobility technologies.

To learn more about how mobility can inspire major efficiency and productivity improvements in the workplace, visit ROI Networks.

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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[Infographic] Mobility & the New Face of Collaboration

Meetings are a necessary evil in the workplace — even if your workforce is virtual. Scratch that, collaboration is especially important if your workplace is virtual. In fact, video conferencing and other mobility solutions can offer businesses a significant advantage.

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Achieve Greater ROI with VoIP

ROI April blog 2One of the most innovative technologies to surface in the past decade is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP uses the Internet to make and receive phone and video calls. An impressive number of companies have made the shift to this technology, and more are following due to the substantial ROI that implementations have shown. Read on to learn how VoIP can increase ROI.

Reduction in Monthly Charges

Whether the company makes international or only local calls, the flexible packages available for VoIP create a significant savings over traditional telephone company billing. In addition, telephone company bills include heavy regulatory fees that are typically not found on VoIP bills. Recurring billing will be more stable, predictable, and easy to understand.

Affordable Long Distance

Many businesses conduct sales pitches and customer service efforts across state lines or even globally. The per-minute costs charged by old-fashioned telephone companies eat into the bottom line very rapidly. On the other hand, VoIP packages can be tailored to include unlimited long distance and global calling for one flat fee. Predictable, economical, and budget-friendly terms like these will keep profitability high and free up funds for more meaningful expenses.

Features

Adding enhancements to a regular phone service can be expensive or even impossible. In contrast, VoIP vendors cost-effectively bundle advanced features into the system. Call handling, auto attendants, IM, and video calling are just a few of the powerful services that can be combined with VoIP to make a robust communications system at a low cost. Further, organizations can select only what they need and avoid paying for unnecessary services.

Mobile Integration

With so many employees now telecommuting or traveling for work, it’s important that the company’s communication plan support mobile devices. With VoIP, calls can be instantly transferred to a cell or remote phone or even ring both a desk and a mobile phone at once. Additional savings may even be found in real estate or office space if this solution is used to allow team members to work off-site on a permanent basis.

Message Distribution

VoIP systems can be configured with multiple distribution lists, which can then be used to dispatch meaningful announcements via email, phone, text, or voicemail. Selecting the appropriate distribution list for a specific message is a convenient and rapid means of getting information to the right audience. This saves significant time, which is invaluable in the event of weather emergencies or other urgent news.

VoIP packages are scalable, flexible, and boast features that help businesses grow and perform more efficiently while saving money. Considering the ease and small expense of implementation, ROI is very quickly realized after deployment. To learn how ROI Networks helps businesses achieve greater return on investment with VoIP, contact us today.