Traffic Chaos highlights the needs for Flexible Business Communications Solutions

Flexible Business Communications Solutions

Flexible Business Communications Solutions can help Scottish Business drastically effected by closure to Forth Road Bridge

With over 100,000 people travelling over the River Forth on a typical working day the closure of the Forth Road Bridge will cause significant disruption to people and businesses in the local area and across the East of Scotland. The anticipated disruption and it’s consequential effects have been voiced by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who have warned that “employers of all description” faced serious disruption. The cost to business will be huge in terms of higher transport costs, reduced productivity and restricted access to customers.

Reducing the Need to Travel

The Scottish Government have advised businesses to consider whether they can allow their employees to work flexibly either by changing their normal working hours, by changing location to somewhere close or by working from home. They have encouraged all employers in the east of Scotland and Fife, Edinburgh and West Lothian in particular to think about how they can make adjustments to their business needs.

Flexible Business Communications Solutions

Already incovo have had enquiries from local businesses and organisations about communications solutions that will help alleviate the burden on their staff who have been adversely effected by the recent closure of the Forth Road Bridge, which is expected to remain closed until at least the new year.

Mobile and flexible working

incovo are able to offer a range of practical solutions that should allow businesses better cope with after effects of the closure of the Forth Road Bridge including:

• Manage incoming calls effectively with Call Forwarding

• Home Worker lets you take your profiles and settings to your home office

• Play a Voicemail message from your desktop, save it or forward a copy to your entire team

• Never miss a call with One Number Anywhere and Sequential Ringing

• Keep track of important calls with Call Notify by Email

• Use your number and preferences on any enabled phone in your company with Hot-Desking

• Use your number and profile on any phone, anywhere with Remote Office

incovo have flexible business communications solutions that helps businesses become more efficient by enabling flexible work environments through hot-desking, home working, and extending the service to mobile devices. One vehicle hire company, based in central Scotland, have switched to a hosted IP solution which delivers an extensive range of fixed and mobile communications capabilities through an easy-to-use web portal.

With this solution, they are able to meet all of their business challenges and gives them total confidence in using one supplier for all their communications needs.  With this hosted solution they have enabled their staff to adopt a more flexible approach to working, allowing them to continually deliver the quality of service their customers expect.

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About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Recording Voice Calls and the Law: A Brief Overview

Call Centre law

Recording Voice Calls and the Law: A Brief Overview

 

A recent installation of our call recording and logging software, Xima’s Chronicall yielded a conversation regarding the legality of call recording with clients. Whilst we are no legal practice with an authority on such matters, we are able to outline a short overview for the client that we have since decided to share here too.

The governance regarding the topic of recording law that legislates privacy and customers’ rights is not limited to a few short pieces of legislation but rather is a set of substantial acts. There are 5 main pieces of legislation to be aware of that fall under the jurisdiction of recording calls and they are:

1. Data Protection Act 1998

2. Human Rights Act 1998

3. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

4. Telecommunications Regulations 1999

5. Telecommunications Regulations 2000

Without drilling down into the finer details of each, we have summarised the main points to be aware of in regards to general best practice for recording phone calls and helping staff to pick out information most relevant to their job, such as:

  • The recording and monitoring of calls is legally permitted if it is for the intended purpose of providing evidence of a transaction, to ensure the compliance with a set of regulations, or to secure the effective operation of the telecom system.
  • Recording calls to ensure that national security standards are being upheld in instances where it is applicable to your line of work. Similarly, if your organisation offers way of detecting or preventing criminal offences.
  • Any recordings your business makes must be relevant to your business and a copy of the call must be retained.
  • In instances where you are collecting customer data, it is compulsory that your business is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • Any recordings that take place must be declared to the caller at the beginning of the call.

‘This call may be recorded for quality monitoring purposes’

Since the boom of contact centres in the early 1990s, there has been a steady rise of customer facing representatives that have a big impact of your company’s brand. With call monitoring and recording, companies are now able to monitor this frontline of communication for their brands and is usually the primary reason for doing so, quality performance monitoring.

It is commonplace for customers to be greeted with the automated notification that has helped raise awareness of this topic prior to commencing conversation with a business’ representatives, as per Ofcom’s guidelines. It is these guidelines that state that businesses must take every reasonable effort to inform all parties that the call is being recorded and offers companies the protection against legal problems resulting from call recording – for example when a transaction error or dispute.

There is also perhaps the misconception that this is only applicable to larger organisations but this is a perilous fallacy but smaller businesses must also comply with the guidelines. The best way to comply with this is to have a pre-recorded message or spoken warning by the operator to advise of the call recording, in other circumstances it would be permissible to include these warnings in written form of publicity materials or in a telephone directory.

So in conclusion, we would recommend putting these practices in order to ensure that your business is able to record calls lawfully. For full compliance we would advocate contacting Ofcom or your company’s solicitor for advice as to what is required given your business’ particular circumstances for recording voice calls.

FAQ with incovo Head of Technology, Ray Prunty regarding UK Call Recording Legal Compliance

Q. For what reasons can I record my customer’s calls?

RP: The Lawful Business Practice [LBP] Regulations specify conditions upon which calls may be recorded. These are to:
1. Provide evidence of a business transaction.
2. Ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures.
3. See that quality standards or targets are being met in the interests of national security.
4. Prevent or detect crime to investigate the unauthorised use of a telecom system.
5. Secure the effective operation of the telecom system.

Q. Do I need consent from my callers to record calls?

RP: No, provided the recording is to meet one of the aforementioned conditions and you are not intending to make the recording available to a third party. If you are recording for any other purpose, such as marketing or market research, you will need consent from the third party. If you are intending to make the recordings available to a third party, then you must make every reasonable effort to inform all parties to a telephone conversation that it may or will be recorded.

Q.  How do I advise callers that they may be recorded?

RP: The particular means by which you choose to do this are not specified. Acceptable options, depending on circumstances, might include warning tones, pre-recorded messages, spoken warnings by the operator or written warnings included in publicity material, telephone directories, contracts, terms of business, etc. It may not always be possible to warn first-time callers with whom you have had no previous contact but what is important is that you have a systematic procedure in place which provides the necessary information wherever this is a realistic possibility.
In these cases recording voice calls is authorised on the basis that there is reasonable grounds to believe the caller has consented.

Q. Do I need to notify my employees that calls are recorded?

RP: Yes. Businesses can monitor, but not record, phone calls to see whether they are relevant to the business (ie open an employee’s voicemail or mailbox systems while they are away to see if there are any business communications stored there).

If you want to know more about the requirements to ensure compliance with recording voice calls then contact incovo today:

recording voice calls

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Print Technology Focus: Cloud Printing – Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Printing

Cloud Printing – Google Cloud Printing

Definition: Using cloud technology, you can connect printers via the web across a range of internet connected devices such as phone, tablet, laptop or PC. No extra drivers are required only a compatible application from your device.

Google Cloud Printing Features:

Print Anywhere – Provided your printer has internet connectivity (most do), you should be able to print from almost any printer/multifunctional device (MFDs) with Google Cloud Print. Newer printers and MFDs will most likely be cloud-print ready, in these cases, set-up is very simple and straightforward – allowing for for greater flexibility and convenience with your printing.

Print Anything – With cloud printing you can now print directly from an application (currently GCP is supported on over 20+ Apps – for a full list of compatiable apps click here), these can be used at home, work or on the go.

Sharing Printers – Built with ease of management in mind, Google Cloud Print allows you to share your printers with anyone you choose, with a single click.

As Scotland’s leading Konica Minolta accredited partner, incovo are well placed to help businesses in Scotland improve their business efficiencies with optimised print settings with the use of Google Cloud Printing. Are you interested in seeing a demonstration of cloud printing for your business? Contact us today

Cloud printing CTA

 

 

 

Cloud Printing Q&A with incovo Print Engineer, Greg Loftus

Q. Tell us about Google Cloud Printing

A. Google Cloud Print is a service that connects your home and work printers to the web. Since your printer is connected to the web, you can print to it from anywhere, using any Internet-connected device, including PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, phones, or tablets.

Q. How do you print from Google Cloud Printing?

A. Depending on the device, you can either print directly from the Chrome web browser or you can or directly from your computer by visiting this page  Google Cloud Print management page. From here the steps are very similar and it’s a simple case of clicking print and either selecting a file (computer) or choosing a destination (chrome).Google Cloud Printing  Google Cloud Printing 2

Q. How easy it is Google Cloud Print to set-up?

A. In most cases, very. If you have a printing device/multifunctional device that is cloud-print ready then it is very easy and quick. On older machines, it may require some configuration, in the latter case it may be advisable to speak to a print technician/engineer.

Q. How secure is it to print via Google Cloud Print?

A. Google Cloud Print jobs are submitted and retrieved over a secure connection (https), and are only available to you and the printer you’re using. In terms of what information Google is privy to, Google keeps details about the print job (the job title, the printer you sent it to, printer status) as a record, along with your Google Account ID. This is used to process your print jobs. That’s mainly it.

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Telecoms Security: How to help protect your business against toll fraud

Telecoms Security

Phone System Security Is A Rising Concern For Businesses As Toll Fraud Is On The Rise Again

Regardless of whether you have an analogue, digital or IP phone based system, without proper protection, it can take a hacker mere seconds to infiltrate your phone system and start causing havoc. We would never claim that we could make a phone system impregnable, but there are certain steps you can take that will help lessen the risk of a successful breach and improve telecoms security.

Phone system security is a serious concern for enterprise as these figures illustrate:

  • The UK is the 3rd most targeted country in the world
  • Toll Fraud is on the rise – up 15% per year
  • 85% of UK businesses are not safe from hacking
  • Average cost of a UK attack is estimated at £10,000.

We spoke with incovo Head of Technology, Ray Prunty about some of the most effective security measures you can implement to your business phone system to help shore up your company’s defences and improve telecoms security.

1. Training

Firstly, it is vital that employees have all the necessary training to optimise the efficiency of the telephone system. In most cases of toll fraud, they are extensively linked with the stealing of authorisation codes and passwords. It is essential that your staff safeguard these to the best of their ability. The numbers should never be written down or programmed into auto diallers. If you have staff who travel outside of the office they should also be aware that thieves can be watching or listening in to phone calls in order to find out the relevant numbers.

2. Control Phone Calls

Controlling of your phone calls is a good way to enhance the security of your company. Most hackers will focus on making non-permitted long distance calls. You are able to place restrictions on this by eliminating or restricting unnecessary calls to other countries. This is ideal if you know the countries you do not do business with. You could also place limits on which of your workers are allowed to make such calls or on what times calls are made, as this could stop phone calls being made in the evening.

3. Be Aware Of Thieves’ Techniques

There are certain signals to look out for that will alert you to toll fraud. A growing number of thieves will try to deceive your workforce in order to gain access. For example, they could ring you on a local access number or 0800 service and ask to be continually transferred between personnel until they obtain an outside line. It is recommended that all of the following should be looked into: obscene phone calls, continuous hanging up of the phone, recurring incidents of asking for an invalid extension number, wrong numbers, callers asking who they have reached and silent calls that wait for you to hang up. All of these techniques have been used in the past by fraudsters and should raise alarm bells if they occur in your office.

4. Protect Your Passwords

Passwords are the easiest form of protection but there are several ways to make these more secure. The more characters you use the better. You should also avoid patterns in your system such as digits that follow in order or all of the same numbers. Do not use default passwords or access numbers as they are simple to crack. Keep away from making the password the same as the extension number or those which are related to the owner, such as an I.D. Room.

In line with this it is also advisable to frequently change the passwords. We would recommend doing this quarterly, as well as when anyone leaves the firm who had access to them.

5. Be Aware with Auto Attendant

Automated attendants are a vulnerability and target spot on your telephone system, leaving it susceptible to fraud. The toll fraudsters will go from the automated attendant and dial the 90XX or 900 extensions. On several exchanges these numbers will connect them to outside lines. You can limit or block the capabilities of local dialling or long distance trunks in order to stop this. Block access codes such as 900XXX can be used in these circumstances.

6. Software Patches

Make sure that your phone and voice mail systems are up to date and have all current patches installed. Phone system manufacturers are releasing updates all the time to help battle toll fraud and improve telecoms security.

7. Unused Mailboxes & Phones

When a member of staff leaves, remember to disable to change their passwords. If you are operating SIP based phones then these are the easiest to hack so don’t leave them unplugged and always put complicated passwords on them.

8. After Hours Calls

Restrict outbound calling out of your normal working hours. Typically most hacks originate from outside the UK and such they operate in different timezones which usually means more hacking attempts in the evenings. Similarly, at the weekend than during normal Monday to Friday working hours, are more common in our experience.

How incovo help their customers protect their system:

  • Conduct A Security Audit on your phone system
  • Disable International calls
  • Check your firewall configuration
  • Install call logging software with toll fraud alerts
  • Update your phone systems software
  • Change your system’s passwords

 Want to know more about telecoms security?

Security Banner

 

 

 

 

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Protecting your investment: Planning to get the most out of unified communications solution

Unified Communications Solutions

Get more from your Unified Communications Solution

We’ve seen it so many times before: businesses want to adapt their communications protocols to enable growth and deliver enhanced service delivery channels to meet customer growing expectations and they turn to unified communications as the solution. Sold as this silver bullet that will open up a new range of channels and features that will enhance your communications ability, giving greater options and availability – all of which it does.

However, without the correct planning and quintessentially, stakeholder buy-in, inevitably it never reaches the intended full potential of it’s considerable ability. This is highlighted summarised by a recent study by Softchoices that indicated that of employees and IT managers polled, sum 71% use fewer communications tools than are available to them. Underutilisation is often underpinned by lack of understanding, lack of buy-in or lack of training.

What also adds to this paradigm is the rate of development of technologies and solutions that go even further to bring new benefits and efficiency to the communications procedure but without sufficient planning, it is easy to get lost in excitement and lose sight of the business objective.

Taking action with the end in mind

  • Focus on outcomes, not technology – While communications technology is an essential enabler of performance, we would always be quick to remind customers that performance as a business needs to drive all investment in infrastructure. As a solutions integrator, we always begin this process by providing guidance at your current position by assessing your current environment; providing relevant options as how to help migrate to new platforms and integrate new applications. We believe we can deliver top performance to you as a service provider by  understanding how to augment and enhance your business processes through unified communications.
  • Delivering a service orientation, not a product orientation – Having established the key business priorities that ensure the correct technology selected and delivery method is suitable, the next step is about the service delivery from the provider. In order to obtain a full return on your investment in the technology solution, as your technology partner, incovo are committed to integrating, maintaining and perpetually upgrading your platforms and applications.

How incovo helps customer’s optimise their unified communications solution

incovo differentiate themselves from product providers and systems integrators by becoming a technology partner with our clients and this is done by the delivery of a strategic assessment of the organisation’s current competences and capabilities. The assessment is designed to measure your ogranisation against a set of operational and strategic competencies that determine the appropriate solutions.

Unified Communications Competency Assessment

With this assessment and our best practice experience we are then able to determine where your organisation fits into our development and integration model. The model is designed to pinpoint your current ‘as-is’ status with utilising current technology and then plots staged operational upgrades with reasonable and considered time-frames to reach the ‘optimal’ stage of deployment. Our experience has allowed us to develop this model to help manage expectation and facilitate stakeholder buy-in enabling the optimised adoption for the organisation. This is often achieved with a stakeholder workshop, from across all the key areas of the business (typically IT and senior business department heads) that are familiar with strategic objectives for the business.

Those who invest the time, reap the benefits

It seems obvious to say but those organisations that invest the time and effort into this process invariably are able to focus and prioritise the best path for unified communications development. Those that do have been known to benefit from decreased costs from the reduction of office space, cutting travelling time and costs and savings from telephony operational expenditure. Furthermore, they also experience better collaboration and improved efficiency amongst employees and greater flexibility resulting in improved employee satisfaction.

This approach ensures a single vision across the business that will assist in optimising existing initiatives, as well as serving as an educational process to explain the various technologies and their purposes, strategically, to business users. So if you are at the starting point of your organisation’s strategic planning process or in a checkpoint review point of an ongoing planned project, it may be well worth your while speaking to incovo about how to get the most out of your unified communications project.

Ready to put a UC system to work for you? It’s time to explore incovo’s UC solutions, powered by Avaya

Unified Communications Solutions 2

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Business Phone System Features: incovo’s Guide on What to Look For

Phone System Features

Top 10 Phone System Features for Business

Is your phone system letting your down or constantly causing you issues? Perhaps your system simply doesn’t have the functionality you require or you’ve experienced a change in business circumstances. In the event that you are uncertain as to know where or what to look for, we have put together this generic guide which applies universal requirements across a diverse range of industries. With this short guide we will aim to help illustrate which features are relevant to you and which aren’t and ultimately, help you choose a potential new phone system and ensure that you get the most out of it.

Important Phone System Features for Business

 

out of hours1. Out of Hours Greetings

Why have we chosen this as our number one feature? Well, day and night greetings ensures that your business never misses a call and do a great job of presenting your business in a professional light, especially when you consider the alternatives like: unanswered calls – leading to frustration and hanging up.

A practical example of this is: if your receptionist hasn’t picked up after 5 rings the system will pick up the call for you and greet them with your own customised message. “Thank you for calling YOUR BUSINESS, your call is important and we will be with you in just a moment…”

So simple, yet so easy to neglect.

voicemail2. Voicemail (and Voicemail to email)

Again, another really simple and easy one but when you consider the alternatives: Handwritten messages – which can often lead to miscommunication and distortion of information.

Just like your mobile phone voicemail, phone system voicemail allows callers to tell you exactly what they want, while maintaining their privacy. Voicemail saves unnecessary return calls and allows you to prioritise call backs.

transfer3.  Transferring calls in and out of the office

In spite of the fundamentally basic nature of this option, transferring calls can be a major contributor for choosing to switch or upgrade a system. The ability to do so with minimal fuss and the least amount of opportunity for mistakes is a key factor in driving business efficiency. Different brands achieve this in different ways and you need to understand how the system you’re looking at actually works (not just looks). It may not be the right option for you.

dialler4.  Speed dialling and CTI

The are a large percentage of workers out there that, through the nature of their job call the same 5 or so numbers on a daily occurrence that being able to utilise speed dialling and CTI functions can be a fantastic benefit to them.

Further testimony to this is when you use a database, ACT, Goldmine, Microsoft Outlook, or just a list of your customers or associates, phone systems can make calling people as easy as clicking a mouse button.

twinning5.  Mobile Twinning

If you are anything like me, I am pretty bad for remembering to divert my calls to my mobile when I am out of the office. However, with the ability to mobile phone twinning, you are able to pair your desk phone to your mobile phone at the same time – with both ringing at the same time and both answerable to the same call. You can even have the call though to the employee for free if you use a GSM gateway. The best thing about this function is that this is becoming more of a standard feature so feel free to ask about it with your current/potential future supplier.

If you would like to read the other 5 remaining features to look for when upgrading your phone system then please download this free guide on business phone system features.

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Phone System Features

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Unified Communications and collaboration: Are you ready to step up? incovo’s guide

Unified Communications

What to consider for upgrading unified communications and collaboration?

Go to any telecoms solutions provider and undoubtedly they will be talking about Unified Communications and collaboration as a must-have dynamic and progressive communications breakthrough (which it is!); and whilst it is great and in some instances, crucial for some businesses. It is also broad and all encompassing and as such, time and effort should be taken to analyse your business’ requirements prior to engagement to ensure uptake and adoption. Unified Communications (UC) is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products and solutions that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across a variety of communications devices.

As individual consumers, we are used to accessing a variety of communications modes at any time via our smartphones and now the business community is seeking the same functionality and availability from the business equivalents. Depending on the business function, there are requirements for services such as: instant messaging(chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax).

Why upgrade?

Staff cuts, attrition, and skills gaps in an IT department can have a profound impact on an enterprise’s ability to maintain quality service for voice, data, and video.

When an enterprise is struggling to maintain multiple technology platforms, manage multiple vendors, and deploy disparate communications services, the move to Unified IP communications can make sense. incovo provides fully managed, cloud-based solutions that free mid-sized IT staff from the day-to-day headaches of managing communications infrastructure and services.

With embarking on such a UC project, no doubt as person responsible for planning and overseeing this implementation, you will undoubtedly will be thinking about the practicalities of such an undertaking for example, assessing LAN and WAN capacity, switches and routers, and all kinds of speeds and feeds. However, have you contemplated some of the more measured and far less technical steps beforehand? If not, we have put together a few practical considerations that we have encountered with clients as a solutions provider.

Head of Technology at incovo, Ray Prunty, who acts as the principle lead for all UC systems solutions for clients had the following advice to dispense – “Before worrying about the technical details, organisations should understand why they’re getting into UC in the first place – and how different employees will use the technology. The benefits of taking this approach is to allow the company to better understand what employees do and make sure they have the tools that make the most sense for their specific jobs.”

This is an industry concern as highlighted in the Gartner’s technology analysis and forecast “Optimize UC Adoption With These Best Practices.”  In the report, Gartner warns that:

“Through 2017, 30 percent of UC projects will fail to meet their objectives because the UC solution deployed does not adequately meet user needs in terms of functionality or user experience quality.”

That’s why at incovo, at the consultation and planning stage with our clients, we always discuss the following steps:

Step 1: Define your UC strategy

Firstly, we speak with the customer about what their business objectives are in regards to unified communications and collaboration – i.e. enhanced multi-channel response options or increased operational capacity when working remotely. Also, importantly, identifying the individual requirements of different users is going to determine what deployment will be best suited with regards to technology.

Knowledge workers have different requirements from those in a manufacturing plant. Similarly, employee needs depend on whether they’re at headquarters, a remote branch, or working at home.

For example, some remote workers may not need that much mobile technology. On the other hand, an engineer who works at a desk while also doing projects with others in different parts of the country will need the full range of UC technology.

The idea is to define profiles for each type of user, describing what they do and what their UC requirements are. Of course, it’s still important to recognise that the company as a whole has some shared communication needs.

Step 2: Create a realistic UC business case

Having established the requirements of all the users and their profiles, we are now best placed to create an accurate business case that will demonstrate that UC will improve business performance. Traditionally, to quantify estimated return on investment (ROI) for the Sales team, some consultants would simply calculate an average saving of say, 15 minutes per day that UC would save each of them and multiply this by the number of members.

However, this is an oversimplified approach and does not take into consideration user profiles and the extent of use of UC functionality per user. From this point we are able to determine the amount of time savings, productivity gains, and efficiencies you’ll gain on each user profile.

Step 3: Do a UC audit – don’t discount existing infrastructure

A common misconception is that all existing equipment and infrastructure becomes obsolete when upgrading to UC, for example Microsoft technology, Polycom speaker phones or headsets (headsets have been proven to increase the rate of UC adoption) – all of these are more than suitable for migration to a UC platform.

If it’s a solid product that’s doing its job and has useful life left, we look at integration with those products to deliver a holistic UC and collaboration environment. Once we understand what products can be re-purposed or need replacing, then we’ll get to a network assessment.

So whilst it’s important to find out if you’ve got enough bandwidth, server capacity, and the like; plus, your communications consultant will be able to advise on these matters during the initial feasibility stage of their consultation. But before all of that, it makes far more sense – and will result in a better outcome – to first take the three steps above.

If you are considering upgrading to an improved Unified Communications and Collaboration set up for your business then call us today and we can assess your needs. incovo will provide a consultation as well as an assessment that will test to ensure your network is properly configured for Quality of service, bandwidth, and topology for VoIp and Video traffic and includes installation of devices on your network that will help you simulate VoIP and video traffic.

unified communications Scotland

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

WebRTC: The Next Disruptor

WebRTC

 

WebRTC enables browser-to-browser applications for voice, video and more, without plugins

WebRTC or Web Real-Time Communications is the next big thing in web innovations and whilst it may have been around for a while now (the Beta version first emerged in 2011) its only over the last year or so that it is becoming more common place.

Since the introduction of HTML5, which is the platform upon which the content of the internet is structured and presented, was introduced in 2005, there has been a continuing series of developments and innovations that have enabled greater capabilities and functionality for web-users – and WebRTC is the latest in a long line of improvements to the internet and online communications.

Delving deeper into what WebRTC is and how it works, WebRTC is an open API (application program interface) that enables browser-tobrowser applications without plugins, for voice calling, video chat and peer-to-peer (P2P) communication. In its current form, WebRTC is provider of text, audio and visual applications and given time we will see these applications developed further to push the boundaries of web communication even further.

The use of Web-based communications, you may say, was something which already existed and is nothing new, and you would be right; however, the innovation comes in the form of the lack of requirements to install plug-ins lack Flash or the use of dowloading of an application.  Previously, downloading applications could have created security problems or the use of applications meant that they might work on Windows, but not on Macintosh, iOS, or Android. The same goes for plug-ins. Flash works great on my Windows PC and my iMac, but it’s not supported on my iPhone or iPad.

Other benefits of WebRTC include file sharing without the requirement fro a software client and will work on desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. This will act as a disruption in the multimillion pound industry of video conferencing but in these early stages the benefits and qualities offered by video conferencing vendors will be focused on more high end and professional services. Users can also choose to enable the Open Communication Manager (OCM) soft phone module so that they can place and receive calls directly in-browser without being tied to a desk or desktop soft phone.

The potential of this technology is substantial and this is verified by the major players involved in the development of the WebRTC standards and browser code implication which includes companies including: Cisco, Mozilla, Google, Opera Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson and a raft of other communications specialists. Similarly, incovo technology partner, Avaya announced at the end of 2014 that they were directly collaborating with Google to bring WebRTC to call centres with the intention to simplify and modernise its contact center systems.

Already, most major collaboartion platforms are using WebRTC to support interactive, instant business-to-consumer communications with voice, video and data sharing from websites and mobile applications. WebRTC is on the cusp of changing the way people interact with one another on the web. It offers the most potential in contact centres, but it is also a game-changer for UC and collaboration.

Avaya Communicator for Web (Broswer Based)

Those using Avaya IP Office and specifically Avaya communicator can work on Browser and doesn’t require the need to install any software on PC just open browser login using SSO and click to dial Voice / Video / IM / Presence using Web RTC which is Native in IP Office.

Avaya Communicator for Web, is initially available for IP Office and provides a streamlined, easy to use experience with a style familiar to those using mobile, cloud and browser-based applications. Part of the Avaya Communicator client portfolio, Avaya Communicator for Web is a browser extension designed to embed Avaya collaboration and communication from IP Office (instant messaging, presence, voice and video calling, phone control) into Google Apps and Salesforce.com. It enables users to engage with others without having to leave the web application they’re working in.

Keep checking back to incovo’s blog to find out more about WebRTC updates as we get them or alternatively, contact incovo today.

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About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Cut waiting times for your customers with Webtext from Avaya Aura

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Using Avaya Aura can help give your customers the option to interact directly with an agent using SMS text messaging

There are very few things in this life that irritate us more than having to needlessly waiting for the simplest snippets of information, only to be told that “We apologise but we are currently receiving exceptionally heavy call volumes presently and you are currently 347th in our queue!” (pardon my exaggeration), but regrettably it is a common issue for many. And yet it needn’t be, not with the next generation of unified communications that are servicing the multichannel demands of the modern consumer (text, calls, emails, social media, fax, webchat and more).

Webtext with Avaya Aura to the Rescue

The answer comes in a new technology from Webtext, the 2014 Avaya Innovation Award winner. Webtext Call Directed to Text™ (CDTT) allows Avaya customers who use Avaya Aura® Contact Center, Call Center Elite Multichannel and other Avaya customer service platforms to offer their customers the option to interact directly with an agent using SMS text messaging.

So often, all a customer needs is a simple answer to one of a number of simple questions: “What time do you close?” “What is my reservation number?” “Where is the nearest authorised repair center?” These are exactly the kind of questions that are best answered in text.

Think back to when your customer’s service journey started: Imagine if instead of the usual ordeal you were able to offer, “We are experiencing exceptionally heavy call volumes. If you’d like to interact immediately with an agent using SMS text messaging, say or press ‘one.’”

What if almost instantly after opting-in, a text message was automatically delivered to your customer’s device? What if you could respond and be served immediately? Then your urgent question is answered quickly and you’ve got the information you needed. Your customer’s valuable time should be respected, and they should feel that their business is truly important.

Of course, for some issues, an actual conversation is required. Sometimes something that starts off seemingly simple requires more support. In that case, the voice option always remains. A texting session can be escalated to the voice channel as simply as sending back a short phrase such as, “Speak to an Agent.”

Your customer might ask, “If no one is available to take my call, how can I be served faster using text?” The answer is that a voice call is a one-to-one experience. While a call center agent can only speak effectively to one person at a time, text is different – on average, text-enabled agents can handle as many as eight times the number of text interactions as voice calls in the same period. This means benefits to you and your customer, greater efficiency and lower costs for the business. Wins all around.

Find out more about Avaya Aura and Webtext

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incovo Head of Technology, Ray Prunty has the following advice on Avaya Aura Contact Centre Solutions:

“Avaya has great call center software and allows advanced programming for routing calls. I feel that it is a very good solution for medium offices and large offices, and also feel that Avaya does call centres better than anyone. For supporting customer call centres and everyday telecommunications needs, Avaya Aura encompasses great functionality as well as level of simplicity. For example, some uses are very simple like providing dial tone at the desktop while other uses are much more complex like providing Best Service Routing for call center support to make sure the calls are answered as quickly as possible. But with Avaya accredited partners, incovo, at hand to help you with design and configuration if need be.

“In terms of value, Avaya Aura has enabled us to deliver the following ROI for our clients:

  • We were able to reduce customer hold time by 50% after implementing Avaya’s Best Service Routing and Business Advocate. This has helped with call center performance and customer satisfaction.
  • Avaya’s One-X products allow employees to work from remote locations and still have the ability to answer business calls without call forwarding. This helps with employee efficiency and disaster recovery.
  • By implementing an Avaya IR solution to handle requests for order status and price and availability checks, the number of calls routed to customer service agents decreased by 30%.”

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About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

SME Contact Centre Solutions: Which one is right for us?

Contact Centre2

Contact Centre Solutions: Choosing a solution based upon your requirements

As an Avaya accredited solutions partner, we at incovo are often asked about Contact Centre Solutions for midsized business in Scotland and today we are going to breakdown the difference between Avaya’s two main mid-market Contact Centre solutions: Avaya IP Office Contact Centre (IPOCC) and Avaya Contact Centre Select (ACCS).

With nearly 6000 UK contact centres, responsible for employing 734,000 contact centre agents, the UK Contact Centre industry was an growth industry in recent years (2011-2013). These numbers suggest that companies spanning different industries are realising the importance of providing top notch customer support and expanding their contact centers to better meet their customer’s needs.

In the digital age, more people are leaning to alternative ways of interacting with customers outside of calls. For example, web chat rates have picked up considerably over the last few years, and they are predicted to grow by a further 24% by 2018. Further to this, in 2014, 16.4% of inbound call centre interaction was carried out via email, suggesting that other ways of communicating are taking favour. To that end, solutions specialists and technology partners have responded in kind with more robust, multichannel solutions for the SME market in the form of IPOCC and ACCS.

Here are the fundamental details of each system:

FeatureIP Office Contact CentreAvaya Contact Centre Select
Primary FunctionSupporting the businessKey to the business
Number of Users5 to 30 (IP500 V2) or 250 agents (Server Edition)10 to 250 agents
Suitability based on agents/business ratioTypically for companies where 10% to 20% of employees are contact centre agentsTypically for companies where 30%+ of employees are contact centre agents
System Management responsibilitiesSome IT communications knowledge is required, but the end customer will most likely rely on consultants or a trusted local partnerWill be typically managed by CIOs and tech savvy experts most likely familiar with contact centre solutions and database integration
System FunctionalitySimplicityFeature richness
Channel Response OptionsVoice centric with multichannel:
voice, email, web chat
Blended multichannel:
voice, email, web chat, text, fax
Languages SupportedEnglish onlyG-14 languages
Outgoing Calling FunctionsPreview, progressive outbound callingPreview, progressive outbound calling
Workforce OptionsLocal or remote agentsLocal or remote agents
Call Routing OptionsSkills-based routingSkills-based routing
Supervisory Roles AvailableSupervisorsSupervisors
ReportingReporting (real-time and historical)Reporting (real-time and historical)
Routing ConfigurationsDatabase directed routingDatabase directed routing
Call Monitoring FunctionsCall recordingCall recording

Further reading

 

IP Office Contact CentreAvaya Contact Centre Select

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a nutshell, for a SME who is thinking in the direction of deploying in-house Contact Center to further their business prospects, Avaya’s offer is an excellent proposition. The Avaya IPOCC is designed to drive SMEs towards building a strong foundation of customer satisfaction and loyalty and a lifetime value by offering high-quality individual attention to each customer.

Furthermore, Avaya recently announced the new OnAvaya™ cloud-based contact center solution, built exclusively on Google Cloud Platform This new solution provides a low-cost solution that allows customer service agents to work from anywhere, right in the browser. This new solution also does not use VPN, but instead utilizes HTTPS to establish a secure connection between the app and Avaya Secure Border Controller Element, software that verifies access to the database and routes relevant traffic to and from the app. Interactions inside the app are handled by WebRTC, an emerging Web standard that we’re strong supporters of.

The new OnAvaya has just been released in the USA and is due for release in Europe later this year/early next year and promises to add greater flexibility to the range of Contact Centre solutions already available.

To find out more about Contact Centre Solutions for SMEs in Scotland, please visit our website for further information

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About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.