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Picking the Right Unified Communications Solution for Your Business: Part Two

October 29, 2014 by

If your business is interested in embracing unified communications but you're worried about making the right choice, then you've come to the right place.

On Monday, we presented part one of our guide, focusing on identifying business needs and choosing between cloud and on-premise UC offerings. Now, we'll take a look at some of the other key factors to keep in mind when searching for a new UC solution.

3. The Features

This may seem obvious, but many business leaders overlook this critical step. As mentioned in our previous installment, there is more diversity among UC systems than many people realize. In reality, no two offerings are exactly the same. Choosing the ideal deployment largely comes down to knowing exactly what you want for your company.

That leads to the question of features. UC is, as the name suggests, a collection of different communication channels, all brought together in a single solution. The right UC platform should therefore include all of the channels and functionality that a business' employees are likely to need going forward. While there are certain obvious inclusions, such as voice and email, other components are not universal.

For example, some firms may feel like video conferencing is a priority, while others don't plan to use that capability. One company may need robust, instantaneous file-transfer capabilities as part of its UC platform, while another can easily forego such a feature.

Failing to take these differences into account may lead to frustration down the road, or unnecessary expenditures. The more accurately a business leader can determine the needed and preferred features for his or her organization, the greater the chances of choosing the right UC offering.

4. The Future

Another key factor is the future. A UC deployment should be for the long-haul, which means that it's important to consider how the company's communication and collaboration requirements are likely to change.

The most obvious and significant way this plays out is in terms of growth. For businesses that hope and expect to expand, the ideal UC solution must be scalable and flexible. In such cases, cloud-based systems are usually the best bet. The cloud enables businesses to pay for the services they need as they need them, and to increase service if necessary. A legacy UC solution, on the other hand, requires businesses to invest in expensive hardware. If a firm underestimates its needs, it will need to upgrade this hardware sooner than desired. If it overestimates, it will have wasted money.

Check back on Friday for the the third and final installment of our guide to choosing a UC solution!

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