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The art of UC integration

December 30, 2015 by Valerie Meffert

Some business owners will think that deploying Voice over Internet Protocol, video conferencing and other modern collaboration tools inherently means they have implemented unified communications, but this is simply not the case. Rather, those tools will need to be properly integrated to achieve unification, and the processes therein in creating cohesion among the various technologies involved might be the most important aspect of these projects.

When integration and unification are not properly managed, the company will be less likely to enjoy the full range of benefits that ought to accompany UC, and this can be an especially challenging issue to avoid should the business not have experience with the technical aspects involved. With smaller IT departments and fewer resources, entrepreneurs tend to be at greater risk of experiencing disruptions and poor return on investment when they try to go it alone with these strategies.

However, managed service providers can step in and support the small business through the integration and deployment stages of the projects, and will often offer continued support for maintenance and optimization, especially when they sell cloud-based UC options. Companies should recognize the importance of getting the assistance they need to get these projects off of the ground, and remember that investing in support can go a long way toward boosting returns from the technologies over time.

Starting with VoIP Because VoIP tends to act as the primary deployment associated with UC, it is important to ensure that these assets are chosen and implemented properly. A recent eWEEK article explained some of the key matters that need to be considered when approaching VoIP, listing the more important topics as they relate to small and medium-sized businesses that are embarking on projects to leverage more advanced telephony services.

Although each company will need to take a unique stance on these decisions to ensure alignment with specific needs and objectives, there are several guiding practices that can be beneficial to all different types of businesses. According to the news provider, costs will tend to be a primary consideration, and entrepreneurs should look beyond the initial sales pitches to identify every potential expenditure.

Smaller firms will often benefit from cloud-based options given the lower up-front expenditures and more agile contracts, and working with a vendor that offers this arrangement can go a long way toward controlling costs. The source argued that features involved in the services, audio quality, warranties and interoperability with backend systems are all important to understand before finalizing a purchasing decision, and these factors can vary significantly.

The ideal purchase will be one that meets the highest rate of corporate requirements while not coming with too many extraneous components, as cost control is contingent upon the use of only aligned VoIP services.

Integration considerations Mobility, VoIP, instant messaging and video conferencing tools will need to be compatible with one another and backend infrastructure to function optimally, and this will demand some thorough planning and policy creation ahead of purchases. Organizations that take a more comprehensive approach to researching the technologies involved and proactively prepare their systems and users for the introduction of the solutions will tend to be a bit more successful in their integration processes.

When firms do not feel entirely confident in their own abilities to handle integration and optimization, managed service providers are recommended, especially during the deployment stages which have such a massive impact on the long-term functionality of the technology. Working with a service provider can also help to expedite the completion of deployment and integration procedures, getting these technologies into the corporate UC framework more quickly.

Valerie Meffert
Valerie Meffert

Having written for companies ranging from MTV and CBS to the Winter Olympic Games and Reuters, Valerie heads up ThinkingPhones' communications and PR machine. At the risk of dating herself, she'd like to point out that her MTV tenure occurred during the Carson Daly era—she takes no credit (nor blame) for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." A resident of Park City, UT, Valerie enjoys the four things her town is most famous for: hiking, skiing, film festivals, and weak beer.

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