- Enterprises should look beyond quality of service factors to the broader working practices guidance available with the new generations of unified communications and collaboration services.
- New features such as WebRTC can only successfully be delivered as part of an advanced UC suite, but will deliver a genuine competitive advantage.
When enterprises can use Skype as an internal messaging and conference service for free, is it any surprise that they question why they should pay for Microsoft Lync or Cisco HCS-based services?Apps such as ‘What’s App’ essentially offer unified messaging, whilst almost every tablet now comes with some kind of video chat software. What’s more, consumer apps are developed and released much more quickly than business grade apps. When being cutting edge matters, why not go with the most agile source of new technology? The quality of service argument still holds strong and enterprises should bear in mind that most UC solutions are provided with a 99.9% availability guarantee as a standard. The advent of HD voice is another factor that enterprises should consider. HD voice offers a genuinely enhanced end user experience and is often not available on consumer grade solutions – especially if they are free.
Enterprises should also be aware though that telecoms vendors are becoming more and more advanced at selling workplace solutions rather than merely selling technologies. For example, Vodafone has begun to roll out its ‘The Ready Business’ suite of services designed to make enterprises more connected both internally and with customers and to promote more joined-up working methodologies. Vodafone has backed its launch with a complete overhaul of its sales teams with a sales education programme that focuses its sales professionals on selling solutions. Vodafone is backing this up by integrating Microsoft Lync into its One Net solution – thus combining conferencing, IM, presence, IP voice and FMC. If enterprises remain suspicious, then they should be aware that most providers are now using themselves as case studies for their solutions. AT&T’s Workplace 2020 scheme provides a strong example of this, as does O2 UK’s Joined Up People proposition. One final point for consideration for enterprise customers is the emergence of web based real time communication, or ‘WebRTC’. This has been around in a nascent form in functionality such as Skype click-to-chat, or click-to-call links on websites for some time. However, embedding this in a wider collaboration solution is a more challenging proposition. A number of providers already offer contact centre solutions with multi-channel support, but WebRTC is also now appearing as a feature of audio and video conferencing solutions such as Interoute’s recently launched One Bridge service. The extra features and professional services support offered by the new generation of UC propositions can deliver real value for money and a competitive edge for enterprises.