You may be considering making a communications upgrade to your current system. Like many other organizations, you’re looking into ways that digital transformation can improve your company and enable your workforce to adjust to remote work environments.
This is a great decision, and one that’s bound to improve productivity and lower costs—if you plan properly. Oftentimes, businesses rush into a communications upgrade, leading to costly and disruptive issues down the line. Even during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, a little foresight and thoughtful planning can help strengthen your organization for the long term.
That said, here are some important things to consider when planning a communications upgrade:
Conduct A Network Assessment
Before you implement any new digital communications tools, it’s important to make sure that your network can handle the increased network traffic that it will produce.
VoIP, after all, is IP-based which entails transmitting data packets from point to point. If your network isn’t equipped to process large amounts of data, you can expect lost and delayed transmissions, resulting in poor sounding calls.
Therefore, it’s worth consulting with a network architect prior to getting started to determine your network’s health and stability. By doing so, you can make important changes early in the process. Assessing your network will also allow you to better understand your technology needs as a whole and see how switching to a remote, cloud-based system can benefit your company for the long term.
Consider Software-Defined Solutions
If you’re operating a global network, it may be time to explore software-defined computing solutions, or “software-defined everything.”
For example, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) can serve as a viable alternative to expiring MPLS contracts. Or, software-defined interconnect (SDI) can be used to establish agile and fast cloud connectivity across your locations. In short, software-defined solutions involve removing underlying infrastructure and replacing them with virtual, agile technologies.
Augment Your Phone System
Chances are likely that your business has either recently purchased new phones, or is reluctant to discard its current models. Instead of recycling or selling your hardware, consider using SIP trumps to VoIP-enable your existing phones or switching to softphone extensions.
SIP trunking is highly reliable, as it enables automatic failover during the event of a power outage or sudden loss of connectivity. SIP trunking is also a cost-effective pathway to VoIP.
Softphone extensions allow you to turn personal devices such as desktop computers, laptops, and mobile phones into fully equipped business phones that work as seamless extensions of your existing communications system.
Educate Your Workers
Your business may be ready for a communications upgrade, but is your workforce?
Keep in mind that people get attached to communications tools in funny ways, and may be reluctant to change tried and true solutions—especially if they have been using the same tools for years, with strong results.
Make sure to communicate why your company is changing its communications tools. You may even want to ask for feedback and suggestions, and work their input into your decision. For example, you may find that your employees prefer softphones over wireless DECT handsets.
Establish A Strong Work From Home Policy
Your business should also have a clear plan in place if you have employees working remotely.
Remember that a certain amount of autonomy, respect, and communication is needed for telework to go smoothly. Attempting to micromanage workers, or constantly checking in to make sure that they’re working could backfire and create a stifling environment that could increase turnover. So be clear on boundaries before getting started. It’s also important to be respectful of working hours.
One way that you can establish a successful remote work environment is to use unified communications as a service (UCaaS), which comes with helpful features like voice and video chat, presence information, and SMS functionality. UCaaS is a great and non-invasive way to communicate with remote teams.