When it comes to updating your infrastructure and technology platforms for an agile, cloud-native, digital work environment, implementing Unified Communications (UC) is high on the list of to-dos. To get the most from your investment, however, it’s important to have a strategic plan with concrete objectives for the implementation.
These should include a deep-dive evaluation of your own constraints and requirements, including what you’re paying for existing infrastructure, any contractual obligations for existing infrastructure, conducting due diligence on evolving market technology and where it’s going, and ultimately deciding the best fit for your organization.
Putting Your Strategic Business Plan Into Action
Here are five checklist items for succeeding in your strategic plan:
Identify Your Requirements
Consider where your enterprise is headed in the next two to five years to establish what UC capabilities will be important to enable your goals. For example, if creating a mostly remote workforce is in the cards, mobile clients and encrypted communications might be important. If your business revolves around manufacturing, having video capability for the design phase of new goods could be non-negotiable. And in general, transitioning to the latest available UC capabilities will help differentiate your organization to create competitive advantage.
Talk To Vendors About Their Roadmap
Obtain a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) from the vendors you’re considering for UC, and have lengthy, fact-finding discussions around what their plans are for evolving their capabilities, including not just new features, but also integrations with other platforms, and extensibility/customization options in the form of APIs. It’s important to ask how they are planning for the big Digital Workplace picture and if Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), or other emerging technologies will be a part of their product suites down the road.
Evaluate Your Infrastructure
Make sure your transport layer is up to the job of carrying UC traffic, including video, and especially if you adopt a pure cloud or on-premises cloud model where communications will interact with the cloud. It’s important to have enough bandwidth, but also high availability of that bandwidth with failover options for mission-critical operations. You should also identify where you can leverage technologies like SIP trunking for cost savings, and ensure that you take into account adjacent technology migrations, like SD-WAN which will help if you are updating legacy networks.
Build ROI Models
Typically, having 3-year, 5-year, and 7-year models will be useful for getting buy-in from the C-suite. You’ll want to take a few items into account including the adjacent technology migrations mentioned above, installation and implementation costs including initial consulting, any movement from CAPEX to OPEX, and hard savings in terms of VoIP and SIP trunks, the elimination of air travel, the ability to let people work from home, and more.
Issue An RFP Or Work With A Channel Partner
As with any large capital decision, ensuring that you have the right option for your specific requirements should mean making comparisons between vendors and offerings. Sending an RFP out for a bid will give you the ability to evaluate the different options on an apples-to-apples basis. If you work with a channel partner (which is what we recommend), that partner will be your trusted advisor and will be able to present you with various options to fit your requirements along with a cost-benefit analysis that you can then weigh up.
It’s a great time to move to UC or to upgrade your existing system. Armed with a strategic business plan for doing so, you can ensure that your business makes the right choice of platform and that it delivers the benefits you need in order to meet critical business goals.