A beginner’s guide to Unified Communications implementation

If you’re a small business owner, you may well already be debating how 2019’s SME trends (like an increasing focus on wellness benefits, or a rise in voice-first technology) might affect your business. Chances are, you’re also mulling over your technology plans for the year ahead – especially if you’ve got ambitions for growth this year.

An integrated Unified Communications (UC) strategy may well be on the agenda. Following its increasing prevalence in 2018, UC’s popularity is set to boom, offering benefits ranging from greater efficiency to improved customer service.

Of course, knowing which technologies will help you grow and actually getting these tools in place are two different things.

There’s a number of reasons for this. Price can be a common barrier, with many SMEs feeling cautious about investing heavily in new products and services. Staff training is another concern, as smaller companies may struggle to dedicate time to getting everybody up to speed with the new tools or platforms.

One of the biggest concerns is handling the initial set up and implementation of the new technology. Unlike larger companies with dedicated, in-house IT teams, SMEs rarely have a pool of dedicated experts to draw on. Many outsource their technology management requirements, which then means they’re also constrained by maintenance budgets.

If you need help on choosing the right unified communications system for your SME, download this guide.

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If you need help on choosing the right unified communications system for your SME, download this guide.

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Unified Comms Checklist

The set up struggle: a barrier to growth

The thought of implementing UC without in-house support might be enough to put you off altogether. If you’ve had negative past experiences of updating your voice, mobile, or data solutions – particularly if you were using hardware-based solutions – you might feel a little nervous about attempting a project that involves all of these channels simultaneously. And of course, this also raises questions about continuity of service. If one channel goes down, it’s bad enough – what if you’re left with all communications completely out of use?

It’s natural to be concerned. But, since a willingness to adopt new technology is vital for driving SME growth, this issue can’t be avoided. To make the most of popular solutions like UC, small businesses need to take the plunge – because the reality is, you might be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to implement.

In fact, if you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to UC implementation, the reality is that, as long as you work with a trusted provider, you won’t have much leg work to do.

Straightforward and fast

Setting up UC is straightforward – with a reliable provider, you’ll be heavily supported both during implementation and with an ongoing support service. UC can be deployed quickly, because it primarily uses cloud-based platforms instead of hardware. In terms of migrating from your existing infrastructure, Gamma can also work with you to create a bespoke migration plan, helping you to move your platforms across efficiently and without any interruption to your service. This level of support is ideal for SMEs, meaning you can reap the benefits of UC without investing heavily in additional IT support. In terms of continuity of service, Gamma is experienced in handling this sort of digital transformation and can give you reassurance on this front.

Better yet, UC can reduce the amount of IT support your business actually needs in the long run. A simple GUI platform will make the management of your communications infrastructure much easier, with limited hardware maintenance and functions that are easy to update. And, with a single provider for all of your communications infrastructure, managing your telecoms relationships also becomes simpler – freeing up your time to focus on higher-level issues.

Ultimately, implementing UC isn’t something you need to worry about. Realistically, a bigger concern with any new technology investment is making sure your staff are properly trained and able to make the most of the platforms. Ensure you find a technology stack that is easy to navigate, and will primarily consist of tools your team are well versed in (like mobile), to ensure it isn’t a difficult transition.

Integrated communications: your route to success in 2019

UC enables you to communicate more efficiently both internally and with your customers. For SMEs, this efficiency is crucial – and you can also rest assured in the knowledge that UC can grow and adapt with your business requirements. So, regardless of your past experiences with new communications infrastructure, don’t be put off by the thought of getting UC up and running. With the right help, the process should be simple and speedy – getting your business on the track to success, whatever your plans for 2019.

If you need help on choosing the right unified communications system for your SME, download this guide.

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18 January 2019 | Neil Taylor

The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.