Long-term adoption of Unified Comms & Collaboration Solutions

If the COVID-19 lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that an agile workforce is a fundamental failsafe requirement for your business continuity. In the past month, businesses quickly sought short-term communications solutions for their team to remain operational but now it’s time to take a step back. Prior to long-term adoption, you should assess the benefits and limitations of your chosen applications and hardware.

Ask yourself…

Will these short-term communications solutions continue to play a starring role when your team go back to business as usual?

Are they suitable tools on which to achieve your long-term goals and evolve your workforce behaviour?

What alternative solutions are available that will facilitate further unification under one umbrella?

What do you need to do to reduce the disruption and maintain consistency once the lockdown is over?

Unified Communications platforms, such as Microsoft Teams or Circuit by Unify, are prime examples of these ‘umbrella’ options. Both applications have found themselves front and centre in the fight to deliver business continuity, each now widely accepted as best practice for remote working.

Unified Communications – What’s the benefit of long-term adoption?

According to a recent global survey conducted by technology analyst firm IDC, every week we each spend 8 hours looking for people, 7 hours looking for data, and another 7 hours looking for information. That’s 22 hours of unproductive, low-value search time! Thanks to features like screen sharing, central file repositories and calling, not only can the right collaboration platform save your teams time, and increase the agility of your business, but it can also save you money when compared to a traditional landline phone system.

Reduced costs
As there’s no need for individual handsets for each member of your team or expensive line rental, you can reduce your costs significantly – which is especially vital in these uncertain times – all while adding extra functionality for your employees.

Increased mobility/flexibility
Your customers can use existing site numbers and have calls automatically redirected to mobiles and computers for a seamless experience that doesn’t detract from your corporate image and ensures your employees are always contactable and more responsive, wherever they may be.

Increased productivity
Having all their information and files in a central, shared file system means a more collaborative and productive workforce that doesn’t have to rummage through endless inboxes for that one document. Employees can even use their existing laptops and mobiles to make and receive calls, for a simple remote working solution, rather than jumping from one device to the other and can use their time more effectively by leveraging the contact methods they most prefer in their communications. Plus, they can use Rich Text Formatting and emojis to add a little personality to their correspondence!

What’s more, both applications have very demanding and vocal user communities, where suggestions for improvements are put before the developers for Teams or Circuit. Not only do these help keep the applications relevant but speed up the innovation within the applications and there are some incredibly futuristic plans already in place for both parties. Teams is exploring real-time translation capabilities and Circuit is looking to add its applications to modern car entertainment systems for even greater access while commuting.

Sound good? Get in touch today and let’s work together to find the best calling solution for your business.

Unified Communications – How can ICGroupUK help?

We’ve explored the various unified communication platforms and created strong relationships with the two providers that we think offer the best experience and feature-sets for modern businesses looking to streamline processes and communication. While the key benefits of Microsoft Teams and Circuit by Unify may remain the same, we fully understand that every business is unique and there are key differentiation that may help you decide which is the right collaboration service for your team.

Microsoft Teams

As a Microsoft product, there’s extensive integration with Office365, Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as the various peripheral applications in Microsoft’s productivity suite.

If you already use these applications, adopting Teams will not only simplify your teams’ workflows but as they are already familiar with Microsoft’s User Experience, the learning curve may be shorter than adopting a completely separate service, ensuring your team remains productive while adopting a new system, especially while working from home.

What’s more, with Direct Calling  – an optional extra if sourcing directly from Microsoft – but already included in our Teams services to ensure you’re not having to worry about separate monthly payments – users can call traditional landlines and mobile numbers, instead of having to rely on existing email contacts to organise calls – providing a one-stop hub for any internal or external communication.

Circuit by Unify

Microsoft may have a wide array of integrations with 3rd party applications – over 400 in fact from the likes of Wrike, Trello, Asana, Dropbox and many other big names – but it does lack an official Apple Watch app and Microsoft is yet to announce any plans to resolve this, while Circuit includes a native app for a true on-the-go calling experience.

Another of Circuit’s key differentiators when compared to Teams, is the ability to ‘swipe’ your existing call from one device to another mid-conversation, for a seamless transition while on the move. Not only does this prevent calls stopping and starting but ensures employees don’t miss any vital pieces of information while re-joining a call.

Circuit’s Audio Conference Bridge feature is another incredibly useful and unique tool for those odd occasions when a team member doesn’t have access to a device to join a conference call by providing a traditional landline number to call and join the conversation from any phone available.

So, which one is best for you?

If your team doesn’t use an Office365 subscription, which can be a significant cost for small businesses, Circuit is a more-than-viable alternative that has some amazing features that aren’t included in Teams. But don’t fret – whether Circuit or Teams is the right choice, both include high levels of encryption and security, presence (or availability) indicators, file/screen sharing functionality, as well as recording capabilities and applications for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android.

Get in touch and tell us about your Business and team behaviour, as well as how you’ve adapted to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, so that our team of experts can work with you to decide which solution is right for your team and help design, implement and support the long-term unified communications strategy that will help you through the current climate, and prepare your team for a brighter future.

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