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 Outdated phone systems that use legacy technologies are officially obsolete, and continuing to use them can actually inhibit a business’s ability to grow and respond to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.

Using UC in a Contact Center: Two Key Factors to Consider

August Blog # 3 (1)Unified communications (UC) provides a perfect solution to the everyday needs of contact center agents, who often juggle many different types of communications while serving customers. Considering that many call centers deal with incoming requests from dissatisfied customers, the need for an efficient and high-performing UC system is amplified.

By correctly identifying core capability needs and potential challenges, the system will be more robust and more reliable, helping agents provide superior customer service. With that in mind, there are two key factors to consider when planning a contact center UC strategy: integration and channel usage.

 
Integrating Contact Center UC Systems with Other Parts of the Business

Some contact centers use service platforms that run separately from other key business systems, while others are directly integrated. Currently, separate platforms are the norm in call centers, since agents have communications needs that are far more complex than those of most other staff members. However, as cloud computing continues to penetrate deeper and deeper into prevailing enterprise models, integration considerations become increasingly necessary.

Think of the UC solution as a means of linking contact center communication platforms with the core capabilities used by the rest of the business. Larger-scale operations — particularly those that maintain multiple call centers across broad geographic areas — have more complex needs in this regard. In such cases, it’s even more important to ensure that contact center agents have all the tools they need at their fingertips, at all times.

 
Which Modes of Communication Are the Contact Center Agents Using?

In a typical customer service center, agents are simultaneously using multiple modes of communication to handle incoming requests. Though telephone services still remain at the core of the contemporary contact center, email, social media, and other Internet-based communication systems are becoming increasingly intertwined with CMS software.

Take stock of the channels agents are using, and make sure they are all integrated into the UC strategy. It’s also a good idea to speak to agents to see if there are any capabilities that don’t currently exist that would help them do a better job of serving customers going forward.

The advice and direction of an experienced and knowledgeable channel partner or telecom agent can be a big help to businesses of all sizes looking to leverage the power of UC to improve customer service. To learn more about the emerging range of dynamic customer service center solutions, please contact the experts at ROI Networks.

How WebRTC Can Transform Business

ROI May blog 4New technology trends come and go daily, often without making any real mark on business or industry. A new feature catching the attention of both consumers and corporations today is Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). This innovative service could potentially revolutionize company communications while concurrently helping reduce IT spending.

Integration

Real Time Communication (RTC) is now part of every device from smartphones to televisions to tablets, allowing companies who use WebRTC to appeal to a wide variety of users. Before this service came along, users had to utilize independent apps (Skype for example) or expensive unified communications (UC) systems. Not only could these be costly, but they also came with a significant learning curve.

WebRTC helps bring in audio and video to an application or website quickly and easily. It is open source and adapts to accommodate specific business requirements. Customers aren’t burdened with the need to learn new software to access business applications, and IT implementers find it much simpler to install and manage than UC systems.

Improved Customer Interaction

A major advantage of using WebRTC for customer service is that it requires no downloads or training for customers to rapidly access the support or sales teams. The tool can be used to deliver presentations or training information and provide assistance to customers. As a result, the customer experience is enhanced from the first contact and satisfaction increases, leading to better customer retention and revenue growth over time.

Cost

Cutting expenses is a critical mission, and IT is one of the biggest spending categories in an organization. WebRTC allows businesses to save thousands of dollars over UC systems that may have limited functionality and usefulness. The fact that the technology is open source means that companies can enjoy robust features for a fraction of the cost of many basic Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or UC packages. Even if the organization purchases add-on libraries or additional services from a WebRTC company, the price tag is quite low. In addition, after the initial deployment there are fewer ongoing fees than for VoIP or UC solutions.

Better Team Collaboration

More effective communication tools help employees, too. Consider how brainstorming and problem solving could be improved by using live video rather than just a text chat. WebRTC can help bridge continents and facilitate discussion as if global colleagues were in the same room. Plan and execute projects with far less friction and miscommunication, and catch important non-verbal cues from teammates.

Cross-departmental work becomes simple since employees have immediate access to one another. Providing easier access to the right resources and information also results in a far less frustrating work day and happier, more productive employees.

Security

Data breaches are common and can cost into the billions to remediate. Companies must do all they can to lock down sensitive data and plug any possible security holes. Historically, IT managers have been suspicious of audio/video communications. A benefit of WebRTC is that it has utilized Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) to relay communication from its early stages. This protocol is far more secure than the alternative versions used by many VoIP systems on the market today and lessens the risk of an incident.

Businesses can enjoy a long list of benefits from implementing WebRTC for their audio and video needs. From sales to support to employee management, the possibilities are many. For more information on how this new feature can optimize company communications, contact us today.

ROI Networks Is Ready to Rock and Roll at #CPExpo Las Vegas

ROI Networks Vegas
2015 was a big year for ROI Networks: We released our much-anticipated ROIngage product, an advanced, first-of-its-kind cloud offering. Not to mention, we made the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies and were honored by CIOReview as one of the 20 Most Promising Avaya Solution Providers.

There’s no better way to celebrate it all than by heading to “The King” of industry events: Channel Partners!

The show is about to get “All Shook Up” in Las Vegas, and we’d love to meet with you at the event. Please reach out to cnoblitt@roinetworks.com to set up time with the ROI team.

ROI Networks, LLC becomes a Platinum Avaya Connect Channel Partner

Avaya Platinum PartnerROI Networks, LLC today announced that it has become a Platinum member of Avaya Connect Channel Partner Program, a reseller program encompassing more than 10,000 companies around the globe. The Avaya Connect Platinum Partner level shows that the ROI Networks team has demonstrated skills in the sale and design of solutions based on Avaya technologies with a standard of excellence on which customers and Avaya can depend.

ROI Networks is authorized to sell Avaya Midmarket /Team Engagement / Customer Engagement / Networking/ Video Solutions to businesses in the United States.  As a Platinum Avaya Connect Partner, ROI Networks will have access to the technical support and training needed to help companies use Avaya solutions to transform their operations and achieve better business outcomes.

Members of the Avaya Connect Partner Program must meet rigorous criteria for solution design and ongoing customer satisfaction.

“The Avaya Connect Partner Program helps us ensure that customers have a consistent, quality experience, whether they buy direct from Avaya or indirect through a partner like ROI Networks” said Richard Steranka, vice president, Worldwide Channels, Avaya. “As a member of our program, ROI Networks is delivering value to the end customer through their commitments to advancing their expertise and customer satisfaction. ”

 One of the customers benefiting from ROI Networks relationship with Avaya is iQor, Inc., a company that is utilizing Avaya’s Contact Center and Unified Communications solutions to enable their worldwide customers to deliver best-in-class interoperability and reliability at significantly less costs than hosting this solution in house.

3 Key Drivers of Increased UCaaS Adoption Rates

shutterstock_154150490Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has changed the rules of the presence technology and enterprise messaging game for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). By packaging essential services such as instant messaging, voice messaging, telephony, and video conferencing using a unified cloud-based delivery and management model, UCaaS provides a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable alternative to traditional telecom solutions.

SMBs have responded in kind by adopting UCaaS services in record numbers. By understanding the key drivers of this trend, businesses can more easily evaluate the potential benefits of adopting UCaaS services themselves.

UCaaS Driver #1: The Cloud Is Better than Ever

When the cloud first emerged as a viable service delivery model, there were legitimate concerns about its reliability and scalability. Next-generation models have enacted major improvements in these areas, with Internet giants like Google and Amazon embracing the cloud with open arms. This has rightly given a growing number of SMBs the confidence to adopt UCaaS and other cloud-based computing models.

UCaaS Driver #2: Integration Improvements Boost Usability

Essential tech tools like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software moved into the cloud some time ago, and integration platforms are quickly catching up. This is allowing UCaaS to partner with other key cloud-based resources to create interactive multi-modal platforms with comprehensive capabilities.

A growing number of mainstream software suites are also moving into the cloud — Google Drive and Office 365 are prime examples. Cloud-based services are quickly becoming the new norm, making it even easier for businesses to adopt and deploy them to reduce costs, boost internal efficiency, and create better, more easily managed professional and commercial relationships.

UCaaS Driver #3: The Future

Even though cloud-based services like UCaaS have come a long way in the past few years, it’s important to remember that these technologies are still in their relative infancy. Improvements are expected to continue in the near future, with tech industry experts and IT pundits predicting that UCaaS and other cloud-based technologies will effectively become embedded not only in the business world, but throughout society in general.

Further, millennials — the first generation that grew up with ubiquitous Internet technology — are now joining the workforce in large numbers. Their high rates of technological literacy will be a major asset to businesses using traditional models as they seek to transition to cloud-based platforms.

Achieving Maximum ROI Through Unified Communications

shutterstock_216498328Any large project in an organization will require comprehensive analysis before it will be approved, and the transition to Unified Communications (UC) is no exception. Fortunately, a strong return on investment is nearly guaranteed with a UC transition. Predicting the financial benefit is an easy prospect if pre-project analysis encompasses the following points.

 
Decreased Expenses

Telephony and other traditional communications methods are expensive to own and maintain. Costly hardware is required to run phones and computer connections. This is where a solid UC program is a big win, since nearly everything can be operated via internet connection.

Other areas where a business will enjoy decreased costs due to a shift to UC are travel, training, wireless phone bills, shipping, and human resource expenses. Thanks to UC and the advent of video conferencing, employee travel can become a thing of the past. Wireless bills are reduced since most calls will be made over Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Add in encrypted email and secure messaging, and gone is the need to overnight packages of sensitive data. With many UC plans, a setup fee and a recurring monthly maintenance fee are the only charges that will be incurred.

Focus on Quality and Fit

While it may sound rational to purchase the maximum bandwidth and load capacity available from a UC provider, the more important targets should be outstanding call quality and appropriate service bundling. First and foremost, find a UC supplier that can provide clear, stable call quality. Bandwidth can generally be expanded when required, but it can be very challenging to improve inferior call quality.

In addition, look for a provider that allows sensible bundling of services. Only select those that the organization must have to avoid spending more than necessary. Ask how adding on services is performed after initial setup to ensure that it is an easy process that won’t break the bank. Both internal and external collaboration requirements should be considered when purchasing any UC solution.

Make Sensible Decisions

UC is a powerful tool, but the attractiveness of consolidation sometimes muddies the waters. Don’t eliminate effective solutions that are already in place just because something new and shiny is available. The current solution may be the best fit and should not be discarded unless the UC solution is better suited to meet company objectives. A good UC solution is one that makes operations more efficient and can seamlessly interface with other essential pieces of the business.

Analyzing the return on investment that a shift to UC will provide should be done with both finances and operational improvement in mind. Given the strengths of this outstanding solution, everyone from CIOs to technology users will see the potential benefits of transitioning. Choose a strong UC partner and begin reaping the rewards of streamlined processes and reduced expenses.

CIOReview Selects ROI Networks for 20 Most Promising Avaya Solution Providers 2015

Avaya Solution Providers 2015FREMONT, CA—July 8, 2015  CIOReview has chosen ROI Networks for its 20 Most Promising Avaya Solution Providers 2015. The positioning is based on ROI Networks’ ability to simplify the deployment, support, and management of Avaya solutions through its purpose-built infrastructure—ROI vPack.

The annual list of companies is selected by a panel of experts and members of CIOReview’s editorial board to recognize and promote technology entrepreneurship.

“ROI Networks has been on our radar for some time for stirring a revolution in the Avaya space, and we are happy to showcase them this year due to their continuing excellence in delivering top-notch Avaya solutions,” said Jeevan George, Managing Editor, CIOReview. “ROI Networks’ solutions continued to break new ground within the past year, benefiting its customers around the globe, and we’re excited to have them featured on our top companies list.”

“ROI Networks is honored to be recognized by CIOReview’s panel of experts and thought leaders,” said Jeff Hiebert, CEO, ROI Networks.


Jeff Hiebert - Todd StiresAbout
ROI Networks

ROI Networks is a systems integrator focused on the delivery of business collaboration solutions which enable customers to optimize enterprise communication regardless of network or device utilized for each interaction. These solutions include the underlying network infrastructure, carrier services, security, unified communications, audio, video and web conferencing and contact center components.

About CIOReview

CIOReview constantly endeavors to identify “The Best” in a variety of areas important to tech business. Through nominations and consultations with industry leaders, our editors choose the best in different domains. Avaya Special Edition is an annual listing of 20 Most Promising Avaya Solution Providers in the U.S.

How Unified Communications Increase Company Visibility, Desirability for New Hires

Unified CommunicationsAs companies prepare for their next hiring wave, they should be focused on how to make themselves the most attractive potential employer to a tech-savvy job candidate. Unified communications (UC) is an effective way to lure in talent and is easy to implement.

A company that has made an investment in UC easily stands out to the highest quality job seekers.

BYOD and Remote Work

Today’s employees are increasingly virtual, accessing systems from a home office or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) arrangement. Not only is this beneficial to employee morale and output, but the company saves overhead and office space by facilitating such a culture.

It is imperative that both remote and in-house employees are able to fully collaborate with other team members. The BYOD and remote realms are truly where the strength of cloud computing and a solid UC program pays off. Devices can be enabled with all of the company’s necessary software for voice and data – a fantastic way to keep employees tied in to the organization from afar.

Productivity Perks

One of the best things about cloud is that it is always accessible, making it a reliable conduit for VoIP (voice-over Internet protocol). Think of the productivity saved if incidents such as major weather events did not force employee absenteeism and team members could remain fully functional through a private and secure channel.

With cloud solutions, business continuity becomes simple and effective since employees can operate from remote locations that were removed from the incident. Response time to a disaster can be reduced since teams have immediate access to systems and to one another.

Upgrade Communication

UC allows team members to stay in constant contact in the most protected manner possible, no matter where they are physically located. A strong UC program provides global instant message, phone, web conferencing, and email.

New employees will stay engaged and interact with other team members in a powerfully collaborative environment. For sales organizations, this could reduce the time to recognizing revenue. Customer service reaches new heights of excellence, and creativity is enabled through brainstorming and idea generation.

In an age when employees still indicate that communication can be a challenge for organizations, any effort to build a cohesive communication plan is well spent.

Overall UC Benefits

The world is becoming a smaller place through UC. Implementing a robust UC plan will help a company’s HR team attract and keep the best candidates. In doing so, the business can conquer immense strategic goals and grow toward greatness.