We’ve all heard the saying, “The only thing constant in life is change.” When it comes to unified communications, no technology provider has the luxury of resting on its laurels.
Not only does technology change at a break-neck pace, but the needs and communications preferences of both businesses and employees evolve without fail. This was never more obvious than earlier in the year, when workplaces had to immediately adapt social distancing and work-from-home guidelines.
Yet some experts are reminding us that these recent transitions aren’t so much a unique trend as an acceleration of where the workplace was already headed. We need to acknowledge that the workplace has never been static, and business requirements will continue to evolve. Therefore, the solutions and systems that serve them must remain relevant. An effective unified communications provider must always invest in new capabilities and services to meet evolving needs.
The best way to create a more flexible, scalable, and consistently relevant UC solution is to deliver capabilities through a hosted model. Also known as UCaaS, or unified communications-as-a-service, this cloud-based business communications software more easily accommodates updates and changes, since the entire solution is delivered via the cloud.
Because much of the infrastructure accessed by the employees who use the system is virtualized, UCaaS provides a flexible method by which to implement updates and fresh tools either automatically, or via a simple license activation. And importantly, UCaaS requires no capital investment on the part of the customer: they access all capabilities on a monthly subscription basis.
User preferences change: Early in the BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) trend, employees began to show a devotion to communicating on the same devices that they used in their personal lives, such as mobile devices. This preference has developed into a full-fledged movement where employees communicate via text, instant messaging, or even video, just as they might do with family and friends. UCaaS solutions that incorporate these expanded media will be more accepted by customers and users alike, and will be better positioned to serve customer needs in the future.
Users may not know what they need until they need it: It seems the more technology is able to accomplish, the more users discover new functions and capabilities to put on their wish lists. A savvy provider needs to be in tune with their customers’ wants and needs. Technology providers should have a system in place to gather ongoing feedback. This customer input is an invaluable asset when it comes to prioritizing product development that is forward-looking and problem-solving.
Business needs evolve: As companies find success and grow, they must often contend with new requirements, such as expanding office space or adding staff — oftentimes remotely. Companies need to provide consistent communications tools and experiences, regardless of their physical footprint. An effective UCaaS system will accommodate all sorts of customer variables, enabling it to remain relevant through all types of business growth cycles. If a provider wants to grow with their customers, they need to be agile enough to have solutions that support a range of use cases.
As surely as time passes, the communications needs of businesses will be driven forward, and not just by a single force like the pandemic, but by a myriad of elements that affect daily operations. From communications preferences to mobile trends, a sophisticated UCaaS solution should be a living, growing ecosystem.