Category Archives: Unified Communications

UCAAS

3 Way Unified Communications Helps Your Business

UCAAS

 

Enterprise businesses have been known to have complex needs when it comes to their business communications.  But, thanks to the cloud and specifically unified communications as a service (UCaaS), enterprise businesses are able to take advantage of more efficient and cost-effective methods to integrate their communications and respective applications.

Here are a few 3 ways UCaaS solutions are proving they are equipped to handle the varying challenges of enterprise businesses.

Unifying Locations and Employees 

Enterprise organizations often struggled to unify their communications infrastructure in an affordable way.  With multiple locations and remote and traveling employees, keeping everyone connected was complicated. That is, before UCaaS entered the marketplace. As the workforce continues to be more mobile and distributed, the growing need for mobility and flexibility has driven the UCaaS market into even greater demand, especially for large businesses. UCaaS enables voice, fax, video conferencing, presence, chat, file and desktop sharing, and mobility both in and outside of the workplace. The workforce today thrives on this type of multi-channel communications and collaboration and UCaaS is the catalyst.  With every employee, service and feature unified onto the same system and accessible from any device, productivity and internal communications are drastically enhanced. With the most advanced UCaaS solutions where the user profiles lives in the cloud and are not tied to a specific device, employees are even able to move seamlessly between locations, enabling phones and workspaces to be shared interchangeably which drastically reduces equipment and IT support costs.

The Enhancement of Existing Technology Investments

Enterprise businesses are relying more on cloud services and third-party networks for their mission-critical applications. Almost every enterprise utilizes some form of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. A huge advantage of UCaaS solutions is their ability to integrate seamlessly with leading CRM solutions that many of these businesses rely on.  This is a win-win for many reasons. Enterprise businesses not only improve their overall communications, but they enhance the functionality of their existing applications as well. Talk about ROI! Improving employee workflows and productivity, while at the same time providing a greater return on both technology investments. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Beyond CRM application investments, many enterprise businesses have legacy conference and meeting room systems in place. With locations all over the world and many enterprises involved in some type of acquisition and merger, having multiple disparate meeting room systems in place is a common result. The product of this costly and complicated challenge for many is having existing meeting room systems sitting idle collecting dust.  Fortunately, there is a cost-effective and simple resolution.  Advanced HD video, audio and web conferencing solutions that offer features like Room Connector can enable existing meeting room systems like Polycom, Cisco, Tandberg and Lifesize to communicate with one another, as well as with other commonly used devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets, all in the same virtual meeting.  Through the purchase of a few licenses,  meeting participants can share documents, collaborate, and chat with other offices and remote workers easily and efficiently utilizing existing technology investments. Coupling this with the advanced features of an entire UCaaS solution, the cost-effectiveness and boost in productivity and efficiency is off the charts.

Improving Productivity, Scalability and Business Continuity 

With UCaaS solutions, enterprise businesses can achieve a more cost-effective and productive way to communicate and collaborate.  By unifying all of the communications services, business applications and employees onto the same system, everything employees need and use is centralized in one place. The features of UCaaS systems are typically managed online through secure web portals, which enable access to features and the ability to make changes from any device, anywhere. This is especially beneficial for ensuring business continuity. Changes like routing calls, updating greetings, checking voicemails and conferencing can be enabled directly through the industry’s best online portals, ensuring that employees and customers can communicate regardless of the circumstances.  Scaling cost-effectively is another common concern for large organizations. Advanced UCaaS solutions have the ability to enable users, services and equipment to be added or removed at any time, giving enterprise businesses the ability to pay for only the services they need and the flexibility to scale to meet growing business demands.

UCaaS unifies the communications experience, connecting and integrating employees, locations, services and business applications. It’s no wonder that IDC predicts the global UCaaS market will top $35 billion by 2019. Enterprise businesses benefit greatly from this refined method of communications and collaboration and will be a large portion of this anticipated growth.


UC for Small Business

7 UC Benefits for Every Small Business

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. Regardless of how small a business is, communications is the most essential component to their success. In the past, having the latest communication technology in place was a costly challenge for small businesses to maintain. Fortunately, with cloud technology and the developments of cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) solutions, it is much more attainable.

With many of the most advanced features built-into UC systems and the top providers including maintenance and free upgrades, helping your customers remain professional and connected to their customers and colleagues has never been easier or more affordable for even the smallest of businesses.

Here are 7 UC benefits that provide a competitive benefit to every small business.

1. Auto Attendants
Auto Attendants are one of the most utilized built-in benefits of cloud-based phone systems. They ensure that all incoming calls are answered and directed to the appropriate place, no matter who is physically available. For small businesses, this is a huge advantage. They gain the ability to pre-record greetings they’d like customers to hear, ensuring a professional image is projected with every single call. Plus, they can save significantly by not having to designate employees to answer calls. Since the most common reasons for calls are for hours of operation and directions, using an Auto Attendant for this purpose alone will reduce the number of routine calls that need to be answered by 25%, allowing staff to focus on their business and better serve their in-person customers.

2. On-hold Greetings
The best cloud-based phone systems include on-hold greetings and music options. This feature can really make a difference in how a company is portrayed. While their customers are waiting on-hold, they can take advantage of this time with pre-recorded messages to promote and advertise specials, their website and upcoming events to boost sales or attendance, all for free. Free direct advertising opportunities like this are few and far between and definitely a great benefit for businesses with limited advertising budgets. Additionally, small businesses instantly seem larger and more legitimate having professionally recorded messages or music entertaining their callers while they are waiting on hold.

3. 800 Numbers
Another great feature that helps your prospects project a larger company image are 1-800 numbers. They can be used in a variety of ways, such as designating a phone number for advertising campaigns to track results, to direct calls to a specific employee, or to just project a larger company image in a specific location. They are a great way to centralize calls for little to no cost and a huge advantage to provide customers who would otherwise be calling long distance.

4. Online Fax
Faxing may seem obsolete, but it’s still very much alive in business. With online fax, your prospects can fax digitally and eliminate the need for a traditional fax machine and the high costs associated with it, like phone lines, paper, maintenance and ink. Faxing with UC systems is basically free and so are they. Free to fax to and from any device, from anywhere. Transactions become instantaneous, secure and hassle-free from wherever they need them to be.

5. Video Conferencing
Face-to-face meetings are critically important, but can be costly for businesses who serve clients located in other parts of the country or the world. Delivering personalized service and collaborating on deliverables can be both affordable and simple with the right video, audio and web conferencing software. These solutions allow customers to share documents, give presentations and meet and connect with their clients or team members from any device, anywhere, for a fraction of the cost of travel.

6. No IT Required
A big draw for UC systems are their ease of use. These systems are designed with the user in mind and provide access to every service, feature and setting, so your customers can easily and independently manage their own communications without the need of costly outside support. Systems that are even more advanced, go beyond just admin privileges and enable your customers to grant access to their own employees so they can manage the features needed, which saves them even more time and money.

7. Online Management
With cloud-based systems, everything is well, in the cloud. This is incredibly helpful for a business of any size, but especially a small business because everything can be managed and accessed remotely at anytime through a secure online portal. Many small businesses have limited staff available so for basic changes like recording a greeting or checking the company voicemail, owners would previously have to physically go to their place of business. Everything with cloud UC systems becomes mobilized and flexible, giving your customers the ability to forward calls, fax, listen to voicemail, change greetings about hours and much more, from any device, anywhere.

Small businesses work with limited resources. All-inclusive, cloud UC solutions offer them an affordable path to the latest technology for a low monthly fee and often no capital expense. This gives businesses of any size, the opportunity to compete with even the largest of competitors, while improving their sales, operations and customer service. We expect to see an increase in UC adoption in small businesses over the next few years. Ensure you are the one to help them transition and reap the benefits of having a cost-effective solution in place.


Presence management

7 Ways Small Businesses Benefit from UC Solutions

Happy Small Business Week! National Small Business Week has been celebrated every year since 1963 and recognizes the key contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they generate about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Since many of our customers are small businesses, we see first-hand how hard they work and the impact they have on America’s economy.

Regardless of the size of your business, communications is the most essential component. In the past, having the latest communication technology in place was a costly challenge for small businesses to maintain. Fortunately, this has all changed with cloud technology and the developments of cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) solutions. With many of the most advanced features built-into UC systems and the top providers including maintenance and free upgrades, remaining professional and connected to customers and colleagues has never been easier or more affordable for even the smallest of businesses.

Here are 7 ways that small businesses can benefit from UC solutions in a big way.

Auto Attendants
Auto Attendants are one of the greatest built-in benefits of cloud-based phone systems. They ensure that all incoming calls are answered and directed to the appropriate place, no matter who is physically available. For small businesses, this is a huge advantage. You get the ability to pre-record the greeting you’d like customers to hear, ensuring you project a professional image with every single call. Plus, you save significantly by not having to designate employees to answer calls or worse, answer them all yourself. Since the most common reasons for calls are for hours of operation and directions, using an Auto Attendant for this purpose alone will reduce the number of routine calls that need to be answered by 25%, allowing you to focus on your business and better serve your in-person customers.

On-hold Greetings
The best cloud-based phone systems include on-hold greetings and music options. This feature can really make a difference in how your company is portrayed. While customers are on-hold, you can take advantage of this time with pre-recorded messages to promote and advertise specials, your website and upcoming events to boost sales or attendance, all for free. Free direct advertising opportunities like this are few and far between and definitely a great benefit for businesses with limited advertising budgets. Additionally, small businesses instantly sounds larger and more legitimate having professionally recorded messages or music entertaining callers while they are waiting on hold.

800 Numbers
Another great feature that helps to project a larger company image are 1-800 numbers. They can be used in a variety of ways, such as designating a phone number for advertising campaigns to track results, to direct calls to a specific employee, or to just project a larger company image in a specific location. They are a great way to centralize calls for little to no cost and a huge advantage to provide customers who would otherwise be calling long distance.

Online Fax
Faxing may seem obsolete, but it’s still very much alive in business. With online fax, you can fax digitally and eliminate the need for a traditional fax machine and the high costs associated with it, like phone lines, paper, maintenance and ink. Faxing with UC systems is basically free and so are you. Free to fax to and from any device, from anywhere. Transactions become instantaneous, secure and hassle-free from wherever you need them to be.

Video Conferencing
Face-to-face meetings are critically important, but can be costly if your business serves clients located in other parts of the country or the world. Delivering personalized service and collaborating on deliverables can be both affordable and simple with the right video, audio and web conferencing software. These solutions allow you to share documents, give presentations and meet and connect with clients or team members from any device, anywhere, for a fraction of the cost of travel.

No IT Required
A big draw for UC systems are their ease of use. These systems are designed with the user in mind and provide access to every service, feature and setting, so you can easily and independently manage your own communications without the need of costly outside support. Systems that are even more advanced, go beyond just admin privileges and enable you to grant access to your employees so they can manage the features you need them to, which saves you even more time and money.

Online Management
With cloud-based systems, everything is well, in the cloud. This is incredibly helpful for a business of any size, but especially a small business because everything can be managed and accessed remotely at anytime through a secure online portal. Many small businesses have limited staff available so for basic changes like recording a greeting or checking the company voicemail, owners would previously have to physically go to their place of business. Everything with cloud UC systems becomes mobilized and flexible, giving you the ability to forward calls, fax, listen to voicemail, change greetings about hours and much more, from any device, anywhere.

Small businesses work with limited resources. All-inclusive, cloud UC solutions offer an affordable path to the latest technology for a low monthly fee and often no capital expense. This gives businesses of any size, the opportunity to compete with even the largest of competitors, while improving their sales, operations and customer service. We expect to see an increase in UC adoption in all markets over the next few years, but small businesses can most certainly reap the benefits of having these solutions in place for their business’ communications.


Office suite UC portal

6 Must-haves for every UC Portal

 

Since unified communications (UC) solutions are cloud-based, the actual brains behind the systems are in the backend online management platforms or, as most refer to them as, online portals. When it comes to your ability to remain agile, mobile and productive, the interface you use holds all the power.

Here are 6 must-have features and abilities every UC portal should offer.

1. Centralized Technology: One of the greatest benefits of UC solutions is their ability to centralize all of your communication services into a single platform. You no longer need multiple systems and logins to access services beyond your phone system, like faxing, video conferencing, email and toll-free. The most advanced unified communications systems will unify your access right through their online portal. This not only applies to customers, but agents who manage multiple customer accounts through other providers. A single point of access to everything streamlines the administration of your system significantly.

2. Intuitive Design– Time is everything, especially in business. So having a portal that offers an intuitive design is crucial. The last thing you want is a complex menu tree or hierarchical system that is difficult to navigate. With one portal for everyone, managers and employees alike, the portal design should be straightforward and offer the latest technology like drag and drop and click-to-dial capabilities. The most common functionalities: listening to voicemail, setting individual preferences, uploading contacts, forwarding calls, recording greetings, paying bills and adding new services, should be both easy and possible without any IT assistance.

3. Mobility– Today’s workforce is mobilized, so the platform you use needs to match your organization’s work style, Your online portal should offer unlimited mobility, where users can access any feature and make changes as needed, from any device, anywhere. With the increased need for mobility and the popular BYOD trends, support for mobility is a critical component to every UC offering and the online portals that support them.

4. Permission-based Controls– In every organization, different employees and departments have various functions and levels of authority. User profiles are a new way that businesses can achieve optimal productivity, yet remain in complete control. With portals that allow you to create custom user profiles based upon individual user personas and needs, administrators can grant employees access to self-manage the features that are applicable to their role, saving time and resources.

5. Collaboration– Many companies today have multiple locations and employees that travel or work remotely, so having an online portal that unifies your entire organization is a definite must. Features that encourage internal collaboration like real-time presence that showcases the availability of each employee, company-wide chat, and the ability to video conference online, will enable your organization to stay connected and collaborate seamlessly, no matter where they are.

6. Built-in Intelligence– Beyond just being used to manage communication services, online portals provide us with a great opportunity to tap into the intelligence of the system. Advanced tools are now built into portals, such as call history reporting, so you can extract and evaluate important call data that will help improve the sales, customer service, marketing and operations of your business. Agents can also benefit from built-in intelligence tools from provider’s portals and gain greater visibility into their customer accounts, product revenues, contract renewals and customer satisfaction levels.

Online portals are really the heart of any UC system, so when purchasing or recommending your next unified communications solution to your customers, be sure that the online portal used to access and manage the important features of the system offers the functionality you will need both now and in the future.


Communications solutions Chicago

Dynamic Communications: The Unique Communication Needs of a Dynamic Workforce

The success of any business depends on communicating effectively. At Prime Telecommunications, we want to use technology to keep your workforce as dynamic and relevant as possible. Let’s examine a few needs of today’s active market and discuss how S-Net can help you meet them.

Adaptability
In the past, communicating with other employees meant picking up your desk phone and making an in-house call. Today, more employees than ever travel or work from home. They need a communications system that will keep them in touch with their workplaces even when they aren’t physically in the building.Prime Telecommunication’s cloud-based phone systems provide for this need. Cloud-based phone systems work with the internet, so any place you have an internet connection, you can access your company’s phones. Our systems utilize the latest features, including click- dialing, email to voicemail, and unified messaging.

Durability
Today’s businesses must complete work quickly and efficiently, and nothing slows that down faster than computer or phone problems. A workplace with too many technological problems often suffers from lost or damaged work, overworked IT personnel, and frustrated employees. Our Prime Telecommunications cloud phone systems can reduce or eliminate these issues. At Prime Telecommunications, our products are thoroughly tested and protected against natural wear and tear, power surges, and extreme weather. We also outfit our systems with firewalls and other measures to protect against viruses and hackers. This ensures employees, especially IT personnel, can focus more on current projects and less on technological breakdowns.

Cost-Effectiveness
Employees won’t want to communicate if they feel the communication system is too complicated or expensive. Thus, Prime Telecommunications provides one of the most cost-effective cloud-based systems available. With Prime Telecommunications, each employee is responsible for his or her own training. This fosters independence and interdependence – employees can teach each other how to manage the new system and build individual mastery at the same time. Additionally, employees are responsible for their own devices. This saves money in IT and other departments.

Socialization
A big part of today’s communication needs comes from networking. Employees who don’t network regularly miss opportunities to learn from each other and improve their skills. Yet employees can’t network effectively if they’re on the phone all day, stuck at one desk. Using an Prime Telecommunications cloud-based system eliminates this issue. Cloud-based systems help employees prioritize their communications – what can be said over the internet vs. what must be discussed in person.

In-person interactions get moved to the top of everyone’s priority list, making it easier to create authentic networking experiences.

Protection Against Obsolescence
One of the most difficult parts of working with technology is that a product seems to be obsolete the moment it hits the shelves. The staff at S-Net works to ensure your phone system won’t become outdated. Our phone systems work with almost any device or computer, including the newest models.

If you would like to know more about Prime Telecommunications cloud systems or how we can improve communication in your workplace, contact us today. We provide a plethora of phone and computer services, and our staff is trained to answer all technological questions.


10 Unified Communications Statistics Every IT Decisionmaker should know

Information overload can be a major obstacle in the search for value in communications technology. The Internet provides almost an endless volume of statistics, which can make it difficult to parse out the truly meaningful nuggets from the noise.

But not to worry—we’re here to help. To make life a little simpler and convenient for you, we’ve compiled 10 unified communications (UC) statistics that will clearly demonstrate why UC is the future of business communications:

  1. UC applications rose 21 percent year over year in 3Q14. —Infonetics, “Enterprise Unified Communications and Voice Equipment” report
  2. By 2016, 30 percent of BYOD strategies will leverage personal applications, data and social connections for enterprise purposes. —Gartner.com
  3. The global UC market will exceed $75 billion by 2020. —Grand View Research
  4. The global UC market will grow at a CAGR of greater than 14 percent over the next five years. —ReportsnReports, “Global UC Market” 2015-2019 report
  5. Some 62 percent of employees say improved collaboration is a top business driver for UC. —Information Week, “2014 State of Unified Communications”
  6. By 2019, more than 6 billion devices will support WebRTC. —“WebRTC Industry Status & Forecasts Report, 2014 Edition”
  7. The global enterprise videoconferencing market totaled $752 million in 2Q14, up 5 percent from 1Q14. —Infonetics Research, “Enterprise Telepresence and Video Conferencing Equipment Report”
  8. Single number identity is the most important UC capability for SMB owners and employees according to survey respondents. —Software Advice, “SMB Attitudes Toward Unifications 2014”
  9. Businesses realize just 43 percent of technology’s potential benefits according to CIOs surveyed. —Gartner, 2013 “Hunting and Harvesting in a Digital World” report
  10. Conferencing services will generate $2.58 billion in the EU by 2019. —Frost & Sullivan, “European Conferencing Services Market” report  

As these figures demonstrate, UC adoption is picking up rapidly based on its ability to improve mobile communication, cut costs, and enhance employee collaboration. With so many businesses either already enjoying these benefits or planning to switch to the technology in the near future, can you afford to hang on to your outdated system?


Productivity and Unified Communications

In a  recent Mashable.com piece, it was noted that, “The productivity of a “knowledge worker” hinges on communication and the ability to locate information quickly.” This makes sense: the quicker employees have things at their finger tips, the quicker they can perform and deliver results.

In the research survey they came across some interesting statistics that relate employee and overall business productivity and business revenue to unified communications. With unified communications bringing employees and client’s communication closer and closer and easier and easier with each solutions feature it is proven to drive up productivity in the average employee as well as increase revenue.

The highest rated time wasters:

  •  36% of time is wasted in a day at work by trying to contact people find information and schedule meetings.
  • 14% of the time is spent duplicating the same actions and receiving unwanted communication such as cold callers or spam.

Tracking Employee Time Wasters Down To the Minute:

The average employee spends 74 Minutes a day trying to contact co workers and colleagues.

  • 67 Minutes a day is spent trying to find key information and digging for what they need.
  • 39 Minutes a day is spent on duplicating the same communications.
  • 33 Minutes a day is wasted on ATTEMPTING to schedule meetings without success.
  • 29 Minutes a day is unwanted communications peaking in and bugging the employee’s time and attention span.

 

The Savings and Proven statistics from Implementing Unified Communication Platforms in these businesses:

 

  • 75% of the time wasted by the average employee can be saved with unified communications solutions.
  • 50% of the time wasted on employees trying to contact customers and colleagues can be saved.
  • 25% of the time wasted by employees trying to get information can be saved.
  • 75% of the time wasted on duplicating the same actions can be saved.
  • 25% of unwanted communications can be saved.

 

When Time Is Saved Money Is Saved

There is no read in between the lines with the above statement. Big money is actually saved when time is and it means big revenue change.

If unified communications is applied to 50 workers in a company with the salary around $40,000.00 the expected savings can be $942,000.00 annually.

All of these statistics make it easy to sell Unified Communications to businesses. Why wouldn’t businesses want to save huge capital and increase productivity?
Want more information on “Unified Communications” and the solutions that we offer with in it?