Tag Archives: hosted voice

UCaaS Trial by Fire

Gabrielle Weaver wears a lot of hats, and a no-nonsense headset. Starting as a member of the customer care team, she now manages ReadyTalk Hosted Voice with excitement only her dog ‘Avery’ can match. Her four-year history at ReadyTalk has been shaped by an objectively first-hand view of our services. Partly from her time working in a customer facing role, but mostly because of a last-minute relocation to Washington D.C. We like to use the expression “we eat our own dog food” at ReadyTalk. Meaning, we actively use the software that we sell on a daily basis. Here’s how Gabi puts her money where her mouth is — remotely working over 1,500 miles away.  

Q: What do you miss about working in the Denver office?

A: I do miss the physical presence of my colleagues and camaraderie you develop with people over time. That mostly applies to the moments at work where you’re catching up or doing anything but working. However, given the face-to-face interactions I experience in meetings (from a television screen) there’s still enough of a personal touch I get with my team.   

Q: What limitations have you found with working remotely?

A: Seriously, there is nothing that I haven’t been able to successfully accomplish. I can do everything I used to be able to do as if I were in the office. I’m in a different time zone, so that means I need mobile access to communications. If it’s 6 p.m. in D.C but only 4 p.m. in Denver I’m still readily available even if I’ve left my home office. And that’s another advantage to using Hosted Voice — there was no extensive setup with our IT department. It was lightweight enough for me to install, but sophisticated enough for 24/7 usage. There were no barriers to entry and the learning curve was very short, thankfully.   

Q: How do you think working in customer care has helped your decisions as a product manager?

A: Coming from that side of the business I think I have a unique understanding about customer pain points. That means balancing the needs and asks of thousands of ReadyTalk users. Their preferences and requirements are all different and specific to each individual. Working in customer care taught me to distill their hopes and dreams into one product that solves as many problems as possible. How we build products, structure them, change them, price them — all of these decisions were made looking through the lens of the customer. But I also think that my current experience working remotely has put me at an advantage as a product manager. I’m literally our target customer. So as a product team we don’t operate under the assumption that we know what’s best all the time. Instead, I’ve depended on our Hosted Voice application as a means to work everyday. That has definitely kept us honest in customer conversations.

Q: What are your passions outside of work?

A: I love to travel. I’m a certified scuba diver and did some great cave dives in Mexico a couple years ago. Also, I’m very good at brunch on Denver patios.

Potential sticking points to unified communications

Unified communications has turned the workplace on its head, making home sweet home the new office place. Workers are kissing traffic jams good-bye, and the "daily grind," if you can even call it that, is measured in feet, not miles. To what extent? Well, In 2015, roughly 25 percent of employees worked from home on any given day, based on the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And over the past decade, telecommuting has risen a whopping 115 percent, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Unified communications has brought convenience back to the modern workplace. It streamlines the interaction process so individuals near and far can talk work through a single server, whether via the cloud, IP telephony or the numerous other channels that fall under the UC umbrella.

Afraid of the cloud? Don't be

Here's the sticking point, though: Businesses aren't exactly flocking to the cloud in droves. In fact, while 70 percent of business owners have at least considered using one communication provider rather than several, according to statistics compiled by Inc., only 19 percent have actually pulled the trigger, this according to computer security services firm Bird Rock Systems.

Why the slow transition? For one, change is always hard, especially for those who prefer face-to-face interaction. Cybersecurity is never far from business owners' minds, either, and unfamiliarity with the cloud can bring those thoughts to the fore. 

Just remember that being unacquainted with cloud computing security shouldn't suggest that it lacks in protection. In fact, According to Clutch, 90 percent of companies who use the cloud for data storage find it to be as good or better than an on-site servers at protecting their information!

New technology doesn't always cause headaches 

Because UC systems makes their bones by facilitating multiple communications systems, your mind may associate UC with technical problems. That's why selecting the right partner is so critical – wink, wink. But really, great customer service and a best-in-class network can go a long way.

Plus, companies are already planning ahead for these types of adjustments, as 21 percent of CIOs say they'll add full-time tech professionals to their staff this year, according to a poll from Robert Half. Why? Twenty-four percent said it had to do with cloud migration or big data.

From efficiency to productivity, increased engagement to cost containment, the return on investment makes unified communications the business solution that simply gets the job done – both inside and outside the office.

3 Ways ITExp0 2017 Can Transform Your Company’s Communications

3 ways to enjoy ITExpoReadyTalk is thrilled to be a first-time sponsor of ITExpo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this year! ITExpo is a communications-solutions event for engineers, IT managers, business owners and C-Level execs. As the communications industry continues to evolve, attendees enjoy coming to ITExpo to meet and hear from hundreds of solutions providers – all in a single place. It’s also a great event to learn best practices on how to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase productivity.

As a first timer at this event, we’re not sure what to expect, but here are 3 things we can’t wait for.

1. Network with fellow cloud communications solutions experts.

We can’t wait to meet over 6,000 like-minded communications experts to exchange best practices and stories. Not only do we get to talk with like minded people, we get to see the latest technologies that enable people to better communicate – beacons, AI, virtual reality and more.

Because we’re always innovating, we’re looking forward to getting new ideas and sharing some of ours.

2. Learn more about and share ideas about the evolution of work.

The future of work is now — remote working, appealing to Millennials in the workforce, project-based work, mobile technology and more. We’ve been championing these evolving workforce ideas for more than 15 years, since the company was created. And many of these ideas and practices are already in the workforce. But what about tomorrow — Generation Z, AI, virtual reality and augmented reality?

We have some thoughts. While we’re at ITExpo, we’ll be sharing our most recent findings on the future of the workforce and how MSPs can adapt during the MSPExpo. Here are the details:

  • Title: The Future of the Workplace and MSPs
  • Speaker: Matt DiRienzo, Product Manager, Unified Communications
  • When: Friday, February 10 at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: MSP-14

3. Get cool swag and be reminded of awesome companies.

It wouldn’t be a real trade show without tons of swag. We have our sights set on some cool apparel like socks. We know they’re all the rage.

We’ll have swag, too. In fact, our booth is going to be chock-full o’ swag, waiting for friendly faces to come by and spin our prize wheel! If you’re attending, stop by!

Win prizes at ReadyTalk booth #229.

5 Tips on Moving to the Cloud

Move to the cloudCloud computing will continue to grow over the next few years. If your business is done with handling bulky, expensive on-premises IT systems, consider moving to the cloud today. It’ll free up IT resources, streamline and add to your productivity, enable your remote workers, provide business recovery benefits and more.

If you’re like most people, though, you have fears of moving to the cloud — from talking with employees about which data moves to security. Address those fears and get the most out of your move. Here are five tips on how to start:

1. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing

You don’t have to be fully on-premises or in the cloud. Many companies benefit from a hybrid IT environment. If you don’t believe you can move all your operations to the cloud, choose the ones that you can and keep the rest in-house.

2. Create goals

You need to develop a mix of short- and long-term goals for what you want to accomplish through moving to the cloud. This way, you’ll know you’ll be on track for reaching your main objective — a successful cloud migration.

3. Improve communication channels

Everyone should be in the loop during a major IT system restructuring like this. Take time to keep everyone informed and give periodic updates or hold Q&A sessions to give employees a chance to respond. This involves bringing them into the process before decisions are made. This will increase buy-in and ensure a higher adoption rate.

4. Address security concerns

Due to many high-profile data breaches in recent years, your clients and personnel may be concerned about the security risks from a cloud migration. Despite these worries, many companies actually boost their security abilities by switching to a cloud storage provider. Address their concerns to alleviate fears.

5. Use this time to consolidate and reorder data

Like spring cleaning, moving to a cloud-based data center is a great time to consolidate and get rid of excessive data or structures that are no longer relevant or needed. Again, you don’t have to do all or nothing.

Need more tips?

Get more information in our ebook (PDF), Move to the Cloud. You can even start small and move your communications system to the cloud.

Go Cloud Communications

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.

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