Tag Archives: unified communications

Demand For Unified Communications Increases

There is growing evidence to show greater traction in the market for UC solutions, according to Chris Barrow, Advanced Technologies Marketing Manager, Avaya, who says more users are buying into the technology.

There are a number of market drivers for UC at work, notes Barrow. Firstly, the economy is still in a fragile state and businesses are focusing on driving efficiency within the organisation, meaning they are only willing to invest in tools that maximise workforce productivity. Secondly, the fact that employees have access to more types of communication, applications and devices, is also part of the reason why demand for UC is growing. “We’re hearing from our partners that customers often feel overwhelmed with all the new platforms employees are using, such as social media and IM,” stated Barrow. “While social media can act as a useful business tool, it needs to be harnessed in the right way.”

Also coming into play is an increase in the usage of multiple personal devices at work. “Employees want to be able to use the devices they love but in a professional capacity,” added Barrow. “They also want to have access to everything on one platform and for all communications tools to link together seamlessly. This is where UC really comes into play. Obviously, the communications landscape is constantly changing, but I would say that these trends are encouraging our partners to take on more of a consulting role. We are all familiar with multiple devices and social media platforms but it is the partners’ job is to guarantee UC brings them together in a corporate capacity, ensuring all communications are professionally managed and secure.”

Something that is ‘top of mind’ for Avaya and its users is choice, observed Barrow. Modern enterprise workers are used to devices such as laptops and tablets and do not want to be shackled to single use communications devices such as the telephone for phone calls and a video conference suite for video calls. “Customers want a device that is not only multi-purpose but one that works for them,” added Barrow. “This is the reason why Avaya allows enterprises to communications enable multiple devices such as smart phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and more. We do this with a combination of the Avaya Aura architecture that delivers communications as a cloud-like service and the Avaya one-X and Flare user experience that ties these features together. It is therefore important that we go to market with partners who understand this consumer-centric world and can help us build a value proposition of ‘always on’, ‘always available’ communications that allow people to work together wherever and however they choose.”

Avaya’s experience is that businesses are still being cautious about spending money, so the first thing it had to do was help its channels change their messages to a RoI-based sale. “Nobody buys technology for the sake of it any more,” commented Barrow. “It is true that a full-on implementation of UC can cost a considerable amount of money, but a well-engineered solution will pay for itself. That is why we have seen growth in any area that reduces costs and has a fast return on investment. Video, web and audio conferencing have seen a lot of interest as they allow companies to collaborate while reducing the need for travel. For the future, any tool that allows a company to be more nimble and flexible and to outpace their competitors will also be attractive. Solutions such as VENA (the Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture) that allow businesses to add applications and reconfigure their communications network in a simple and error free way will see good attention in the coming 12-18 months.”

Videoconferencing is definitely one of the solutions that is driving growth in the UC market. It has taken some time but companies have become more inclined to use this technology as a business tool, whether it’s for engaging in face-to-face with colleagues or customers. “We’ve seen a lot of market activity over the past year, and part of what is fuelling this trend is customer expectations,” noted Barrow. “Consumer videoconferencing solutions are being used at home more regularly now than ever before and people expect the same level of access at work. The important part is to ensure that videoconferencing comes as an integrated part of the UC mix. It’s about ease of use, streamlined communications and collaboration. People want to be able to flip between methods of communication, depending on the situation they’re in at that moment but this process has to be easy and quick, so they can initiate a video call there and then.”

Barrow also notes that with the rise of social media and multiple platforms for communication, businesses need extra support in understanding how everything fits together. “This is a great opportunity for our partners to embrace more of a consultative role which takes advantage of their solution knowledge and technical expertise,” said Barrow. “This will enable them to communicate the benefits of new applications and then up-sell as needed to ensure the customers have the best option. With so many tools and options available now it is important that the customer is well advised. This type of consultative role will become a more integrated part of the reseller’s daily activity, and we encourage them to embrace this. As communications evolve, this type of personal touch will serve as a real competitive advantage and will support them in generating more revenue and satisfying more customers overall.”

To find our more about using an Avaya Phone System in your business and how Unified Communications can help you then visit Avaya.com

Redwood Telecommunications encourages organisations to embrace smartphones in enterprise communications

Redwood Telecommunications, the Unified Communication specialist, is encouraging organisations to embrace the benefits smartphones can bring the enterprise. Flexible working, information sharing or opening a new route to market are just some of the ways smartphones are delivering significant benefits.

Managing Director, Charlie Whelpton, explains: “For many, a smartphone, like an iPhone, is highly desirable, whether for personal or business use. Businesses need to enable their applications to work with their users’ device of choice’. In January, Forrester predicted smartphones would explode into the enterprise in 2010 because of the increased functionality that they offer. Organisations need to be ready for the impact that these devices have on their communications platforms.

According to Gartner recently, smartphone sales doubled in a year and 19% of global mobile device sales are smartphones. In the enterprise market, BlackBerry is by far the enterprise smartphone platform of choice. It claims to have the most robust security and the most comprehensive management features. It has also gained an excellent reputation in the business community. However, the iPhone is more desired by business users but it hasn’t yet won the hearts and minds of the IT department for enterprise rollout.

“You can’t get away from the fact that smartphones are a very powerful business device that can help take your organisation to another level,” continues Charlie. These are just some of the ways that smartphones are revolutionising the way organisations can do business:

1.    Flexible, organised working

With a smartphone, it doesn’t matter where you are you still have access to your email, calendar, contacts, tasks lists and a multitude of other apps. The ability to communicate through any channel, and review and edit documents, means you can work on the train, whilst waiting for a colleague or in your own time when needing to respond to a client or your boss.

For organisations, this means that employees can be always available.

For individuals, they can still be in touch with the office even when they are on a beach with their family. The smartphone is helping those that need to stay in touch, to be in touch more effectively.

2.    Access to information and information sharing

With immediate, fast access to the internet through your smartphone, you are able to find information quickly when you’re on the move.

Taking the internet to the mobile device gives employees the ability to respond to client needs much faster as well as help themselves to information such as train timetables and local Wi-Fi hotspots.

Being able to send and receive considerably more data on a smartphone, collaborative working is possible. Smartphones allow the sharing of large files such as tender responses, design files and contracts, and the functionality to take photographs or video while onsite and send them to colleagues back at the office. Sharing these files and enabling them to be viewed and edited on a smartphone means response times to a client can be much faster and remote workers can communicate with office-based staff instantaneously, dramatically reducing time to complete a task.

3.    New route to market

With the smartphone being so desirable at a personal level, the smartphone can provide a new route to market. Whether that is in the creation of a relevant app for customers or promoting a product or service through MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services), for example, the smartphone makes engaging with customers wherever they are more possible.

4.    Multi-channel communications

Fundamentally, a smartphone can enable an employee to communicate anywhere, anytime and on any channel. From a voice or video call, to email and SMS, through to communicating using instant messaging and social networks, such as Facebook and twitter. Different people, whether clients, suppliers or colleagues, want to communicate in different ways. The smartphone allows this to happen using just one device.

 There is no question that organisations have got to make the move to be able to deal with the impact that smartphones will have on their organisation; both internally and from customers interacting with them.