07 Nov 2016

Choosing the right UC tool for your business

Unified Communications (UC) tools offer a range of benefits to organisations of all sizes. They can improve opportunities for collaboration and productivity, offer mobility and flexibility, and increase employee engagement.

With the variety of UC tools and services available, it can be difficult to determine the best fit for the business. There is a tendency to think of UC as an end-to-end, fully-integrated platform. However it’s possible to choose a standalone application, service or tool to meet specific business needs. It’s important to assess the organisation’s requirements before selecting the UC solution(s) that best fits the business needs and price range.

Businesses don’t need to make these decisions on their own. Brennan IT has extensive experience in determining the right UC solution and architecture model for businesses, and implementing it with the correct licensing, technology, expertise and training. This holistic approach ensures businesses receive state-of-the-art communications tools and training so employees can maximise their use of these tools.

As with many technologies today, there are a number of diverse architecture and vendor models that can be used to deliver UC. The three most widely deployed are online, hybrid and on-premise. Asking the following questions can help determine which architecture and UC tools are the best fit for each business’s needs:

  1. What does the UC system do for the business?
  2. What devices are connected?
  3. What does the network look like today?
  4. Is the network capable of delivering a true UC system?
  5. What does the business want to achieve from its phone/UC system?

It’s important to undertake this consultative process with a trusted IT partner who can explain the best fit UC solutions to match business requirements.

For example, a rather topical UC focus that many clients ask about is Microsoft’s Skype for Business and E5 licensing with integrated PSTN calling from Microsoft. This product, when launched in Australia , will enable businesses to use Skype for Business’s Cloud PBX service hosted out of Office 365 , and will allow these businesses to leverage PSTN calling services to and from the PSTN directly without the need for separate ISDN or SIP services.[1] This means that employees will be able to use Skype for Business to action and transfer calls from anywhere with network access, and this may become a valid UC deployment model for some businesses.

Skype for Business Cloud PBX lets organisations replace their existing PBX system with a set of features from Office 365, eliminating the need for a third-party PBX system. The solution is deployable in the cloud, in a hybrid deployment or on-premise, and through a variety of licensing models. The key benefit for organisations looking to implement Skype for Business is the ease of using a single client interface, for improved user experience across all devices and integrated collaboration tools.

However, Microsoft’s Skype for Business may sit outside the licensing and implementation cost range for some organisations. In addition, alternate UC platforms may provide greater redundancy and third party system integration and legacy device integration than Microsoft’s Skype for Business. This is why Brennan IT recommends a number of potential UC tools when consulting with clients, proposing the best fit for their budget and business needs.

Choosing the right partner is important to achieve the best results from a UC solution. The best choice is a trusted IT partner that can deliver a network readiness assessment and highly-focused customer support during the UC solution implementation, in addition to qualified training during the first week of deployment. Brennan IT works closely with clients to meet and exceed their UC solution needs, which include delivering increased collaboration between individuals and teams, business and productivity gains, and better support for mobile and remote workers.

If your business is reconsidering its Unified Communications tools, or would like more information on the availability of Microsoft’s Skype for Business upgrades, talk to Brennan IT today. Visit http://www.brennanit.com.au or contact us on 1300 500 000. 

[1] https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt631190.aspx