Tag Archives: cloud communications

Don’t Get a Desk Phone

So there’s a phone on my desk that presumably cost ReadyTalk a lot of money, but I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t actually use it and I don’t really even want it. Ever since I said goodbye to my sales role and joined the Innovation department last April, I’ve probably used the phone on my desk no more than 15 times. The last person I spoke with on my office phone was my mom.

Oh, and by the way — it’s my job to do customer interviews (talking to people, usually on the phone) for said Innovation department … and I still don’t want a desk phone.

the desk phone that's never usedI know I am not alone when I say that I hate talking on the phone. Many of my millennial kin are also averse to making phone calls.

It’s no surprise, then, that text-based communication services like Slack and Facebook Messenger have taken off, with younger users who came up through the ranks of AOL Instant Messenger. Plus, I really like the iPhone I carry around with me everywhere anyway — why can’t I just use that for everything?

Well, for me and people like me, we are fortunate to live in the times of cloud communications with unified communications (UC) clients. Shameless plug alert: A robust hosted solution, like ReadyTalk’s Hosted Voice offering, can allow organizations to embrace BYOD, empower their workforce for mobility, prepare themselves for the future of communications, and turn them into a top destination for prospective employees.

Accepting that Millennials will be dictating office behavior for the foreseeable future, let me explain why the move away from desk phones isn’t all bad for IT Directors (and maybe HR, too):

Embrace BYOD and empower your workforce for mobility

You know better than I do that BYOD (bring your own device) isn’t going anywhere. When I was at my last company, an anti-virus provider, there was some fleeting hope that IT departments may be able to at least stem the tide of personal devices on professional networks. Alas, that never actually happened. The smartphone has revolutionized how we get work done; embrace that change and save yourself the headache of managing hardware while leaving upgrading devices to your end users.

Prepare yourself for the future of communications: Video

Video isn’t coming, it’s here. There will be no communication medium more important in the future of work than video (Shameless plug number 2: FoxDen, our video conferencing product is pretty cool). You know what can’t do video right now? My desk phone. You know what can do video right now? The smartphone sitting on my desk.

Turn your company into a destination for the job seekers of the future

budget beatersSo there’s this whole remote work trend … that’s only increasing. More and more, folks are looking for flexibility from their employers as to where they can work. The number of websites for remote job seekers has exploded of late and the ability to offer a remote experience to employees is becoming a more important differentiator for employers. This is particularly salient considering the inches of snow we’re receiving in Denver today. I can’t drive in, but I can still work.

If you already have desk phones, don’t fret. The best part about a well-designed hosted voice solution is that it should be able to insert itself into your existing environment without any issues — all while driving the benefits outlined above. There’s no need to rip out existing infrastructure, though a move to a hosted voice solution could provide a great opportunity for hardware consolidation.

Make smartphones smarter and still use Polycoms

I mentioned above that I do customer interviews but I don’t use my desk phone — that’s because I typically take advantage of our huddle rooms (equipped with phones) for their privacy. Not only could you reduce the hardware you need to manage today, you can cut back on the hardware you have to buy in the future as employees can be provisioned on their smartphones. There will always be some employees who need a desk phone (Hello, Sales across the globe) but even they can benefit from a softphone client on their personal devices. That means they can accept phone calls on-the-go, including from their houses or on the train to ensure they make that deal.

Goodbye desk phone, hello cloud phone

The move to ReadyTalk’s Hosted Voice hosted communication solution will empower your employees to do their jobs better because it will enable them to work how (and where) they’d like to. It will also save organizations a ton of headaches around technology management.

The Power of Streamlining Communications

Companies have been using email, mobile phones, instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing for years. Unfortunately, internet protocol-based phone systems are all too often segregated because they are separate communications avenues. Voice over IP (VoIP) makes it hard to unify these systems, even if it makes it easier to communicate.

unified communicationsEnter ReadyTalk. We want to unify communications to make it easier on our customers. For one, we’ve heard this is an issue. And two, well — we think we can do something about it. It’s why in November, we launched hosted voice. Hosted unified communications (UC) – otherwise known as cloud communications and hosted voice – brings all these tools together, improving collaboration, connection, engagement and communication.

What’s in a name?

UC, hosted voice, cloud communications, cloud telephony — it’s all the same. It sounds jargony, but it’s really about simplifying communications. The basic idea is it takes lots of different systems and makes them seamless … integrated.

Why UC?

It incorporates IP telephony, conferencing, softphones, and presence into a company’s workflow, all under one roof. It can improve productivity and reduce costs. And it’s best when you can go to one company to deliver all these communication solutions together.

Reduced cost

Many UC benefits such as productivity gains and can be more difficult to quantify. However, there’s discernible cost savings, too; UC cuts costs. Hosted voice is able to route internal calls over their data network, lowering long-distance fees, maintenance costs and support costs by as much as 25%. And once a hosted voice is in place, the costs for moving, adding, changing and deleting users goes away.

Better communication

Intangible benefits are harder to define. The best returns come from improved communication, which have several benefits like enhanced customer service and revenue stimulation, where having faster access to information results in sales closing faster and invoices being sent out sooner.

Think about speed. With UC, end users gain access to all of their communications tools – email, calendars, telephony, real-time communications and corporate directory – in a single interface offers a major productivity boost. Instead of having separate interfaces for checking email, making appointments, placing telephone calls, or having instant messaging conversations, all of this can take place in one interface.

Flexibility for workers

The use of one interface for all communications allow employees greater flexibility in where they work – on-site, at home or in their local coffee shop. For example, using a UC system an employee can be just as productive at home or in a hotel room as he or she is in the office. That means that teleworking is easier, leading to improved employee morale and greater employer flexibility in hiring employees independently of their geographic location.

Faster decisions

Beyond better and faster communications, workers can make faster decisions. An employee sitting in an airport or at home can receive calls or conduct instant messaging conversations just as if he or she was at their desk. This eliminates much of the “telephone” tag that takes place in business today.

Greener companies

For those organizations focused on “green” initiatives, UC can support these initiatives in several ways, including reducing the number of individual systems and power requirements that a company must support, reducing employee travel into the office by allowing them to work remotely more often, and minimizing the amount of floor space in an office by allowing employees to use the “hoteling” concept – i.e., coming into an office location only when necessary.

Compared to standalone solutions, UC systems can provide any organization with a number of important benefits that include lower IT labor expenditures, greater employee productivity, faster decision-making and lower real estate costs. While there are a number of vendors and delivery models that can be used to deploy hosted UC, appliance-based or hosted solutions will typically be the best choice for SMBs and SMEs given the relatively high cost per seat for on-premise solutions and the lower deployment and management expertise possessed by many smaller firms.

Learn More About UC

Why Unified Communications?

In my lifetime, there have been some outlandish promises about technology. Flying cars, not just self-driving, should be zooming about us as we speak into devices that look like those Star Trek communicators. But you already know, those pieces of technology don’t exist. Sure, they’re creeping closer … but we’re not quite there yet.

Why unified communications That was the promise with unified communication … until recently. (Whether you call it hosted voice, hosted PBX or cloud communications. It’s the same — unified communication.) Telecommunication and software companies are getting better at providing a host of solutions together, hoping to make it easier for customers and potential customers. But most businesses haven’t moved to it; only 19% as of July have.

That’s changing. According to Inc., 70% of businesses are considering moving to a single communication provider for everything from phone systems to instant message (IM). So chances are good your competitors are thinking about it.

Why UC?

It goes beyond doing what other businesses are. Here are the reasons why even small businesses are considering cloud communications.

  • Be more efficient and productive. Reduce inefficient communications – from telephone tag to scouring through several contact lists to find someone. Share information in a moment’s notice, easily without struggling with multiple solutions. Ensure customers get the attention they need.
  • Improve communication and engagement. Unified communication increases the likelihood that information will be shared and received. It even helps identify people are available (referred to as presence). The quality of the communication is better too — with chat, video and collaboration (desktop file sharing and presentations) are all easily available.
  • Grow your business without changing providers. Unified communication, when done right, is scalable as your business grows and expands or as your company changes focus.
  • Go mobile, with access anywhere. Your employees don’t have to be at their desk to be productive. Enable your salespeople and more to work when and where they need to while still being productive.
  • Reduce costs. Cloud communication is cheaper than maintaining outdated, on-premises solutions. It also enables more people to work from home, saving money on office expenses. And it reduces the need for travel.

All of these are possible with the right vendor. The right vendor depends on your company, but if you want good customer service and easy to use products, that might be us. We have some of the best net promoter scores in the industry and our customers tell us our products are intuitive.

Sources:
McKinsey’s SMB cloud communications report
Evolve IP

5 Signs You’re Ready for Cloud Communications

Determine whether your business is cloud-ready with these 5 questions
If your company has a legacy PBX and you’re wondering whether your business should move to cloud, ask yourself these questions.

1. Do you wish you had more control over your phone system?

Relying on your IT employees or outside vendors to update equipment can get expensive. Besides, wouldn’t you prefer to do it yourself? With hosted voice, resetting voicemail passwords, turning on your holiday schedule and adding or moving users is simple — one click. And there’s no surprise fees.

2. Does your present phone system provide business continuity?

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. Instead of worry about ruined equipment or worse, a ruined business, hosted voice protects your company. Your data is protected with backups and is easy to recover. Top-tier providers also have several redundant, geographically dispersed data centers, keeping your systems up, even when there’s an emergency.

5 signs you need cloud communications

3. How much is your premise-based PBX system costing you?

With hosted voice, your fees are lower than with on-site equipment. Your IT resources aren’t burdened with maintaining equipment or attempting to recover it should an emergency happen. If you use a third-party, you won’t need to pay that overhead. It’s just one predictable monthly rate.

More than saving you money, your business will also benefit from automatic upgrades and new features.

4. Do you want to take advantage of new communication tools?

With a hosted voice, you’ll have the ability to receive all your calls on only one phone number using easy features. You’ll also be able to just check your email inbox for all your messages.

And that’s just the beginning. With other unified communications solutions, like Google Apps and Salesforce, integrated with your phone system, you’ll gain even more productivity.

5. Does your IT staff spend the majority of its time fixing issues or making improvements?

Is your IT staff usually stressed out in the server room? Wouldn’t it be great if they could spend more of their time focused on developing new ways to improve your business? With hosted voice, your IT staff can get back to focusing on your core business!

Cloud Business Communications Saves Money at Your Office

A lot has been written about the increased agility, customer service and productivity benefits of using cloud-based business communications services. Cloud services enable many worker types, such as executives, knowledge workers, project managers and customer service staff can work productively anywhere. Unified communications and collaboration tools enable the dispersed workforce to regain the benefits of spontaneous “water cooler” conversations via messaging, voice and video.

That’s right, you don’t have to be in one office to work as if you’re a big company. Your sales team, customer service and creatives can all be dispersed — working from home, in other states or even other countries. That’s the beauty of unified communications.

Office SpaceHowever, there’s another tangible benefit to more agile, flexible working practice – and that’s the reduction of traditional office space required. More small business and midsized companies can benefit.

Office costs

With office space rental costing anywhere from $4,000 to $14,000 per year, per employee in major US cities, freeing workers from their cubicles can save organizations serious amounts of cash! (Source: Market Watch and TheSquareFoot, 2015 data)

Remote working, including working from home

One of the biggest perks small and medium-sized businesses have in recruiting is flexibility. Indeed lists three top reasons people join new companies — pay and flexibility are the top two. Some people even prefer flexibility of time and location to pay.

Some have even gone the extra mile, and become completely virtual enterprises, with no traditional bricks and mortar office premises. While this will probably remain the exception rather than the rule, there’s no doubt cloud communications and near-ubiquitous broadband is providing unprecedented freedom in where and how we choose to work and live our lives.

You’re in a virtual office?

What’s your favorite part about being dispersed and virtual?