Unified Business Communications: 5 reasons why your business needs it

business unified communicationsUnified Business Communications

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand, it is more than likely that you will be familiar with IP-telephony, in the form of Skype, the low cost or free voice call platform. Unified communications, which expands on the IP-based platform, is now becoming bigger than ever in a business context thanks to the ever expanding communications mediums that go beyond the traditional phone line. The reason for increase in uptake is the ability to reduce business call costs and the ability to improve productivity, as one of Scotland’s leading suppliers of unified business communications and collaboration services, we will take a look of five of the main benefits that could help your business’ communications solutions.

Combination Power

As the name would imply, the ability to unify your communications to enable greater availability across a range of services (email, IM, voice calls, text and more) over multiple devices through telephony and business data on a network, voice, data and video information can be combined, thus saving each piece of data from being managed and compiled into separate chunks.

What’s more is, thanks to encryption,unified business communications software makes data being sent across networks far more secure and robust from being manipulated.

Productivity Hacks

Another great way UC software helps make things easier for information processing is by taking the headache out of employees having to manage and operate separate communication channels.

The fact that a worker can use a single phone number and a unified inbox across each of their communication devices speeds data handling up and makes effective decision making happen all the more faster too.

Advanced Functions

In the case of telephony, unified business communications software is more advanced than its more traditional counterparts too. Offering short-number dialling, that doesn’t require the use of area codes, multi-international businesses can run a lot smoother across countries and continents.

Call forwarding is another advanced function that appears as a benefit. The fact that forwarding can be made to various types of devices, while incoming calls can search for an idle extension, also positively impacts the overall day-to-day running of a communications-dependent business.

Inexpensive Calls

Given that calls are made over a digital network, unified business communications also offer more cost effective rates than traditional telecommunications systems. Combine that with video and data also being thrown into the package and it suddenly looks all the more beneficial too.

Billing is also more consistent too and less dependent on the fluctuating tariffs and on and off-peak charge rates that many traditional telecommunication companies employ.

Contact Management

Finally, UC can also make integrating a businesses extensive contact list a lot easier by providing a single, easily-accessible phone book. Accessible from all locations across a range of devices, this book can also be held on the central server and protected from mobile security issues that could effect devices.

Unified business communications, although widely recognised as being suitable for large organisations, might just be a good fit for a whole range of businesses. With benefits like those mentioned above, its advantages over traditional communication offerings are clear to see and only likely to grow wider thanks to future developments.

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About incovo

incovo is a business 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.

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.

Hosted trial CTA

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.

Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 series: Midmarket unified communications and contact center solution

avaya collaboration pod 2400 series

First there was the 4200 series for enterprise, now Avaya targets the midmarket

  • Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 provides virtualized unified communications and contact center applications, networking, compute and storage in a pre-integrated, all-in-one solution 
  • Solution significantly reduces time to service and total cost of ownership, speeds benefits to end users, IT and the bottom line

Avaya have announced the introduction of the next line of collaborative communications solutions for the midmarket with the launch of the Collaboration Pod 2400 Series, which is due for release in the UK at the end of this month (June). Following the success of the 4200 Series, which was aimed at large organisations and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), the 2400 series aims to reduce time to service and total cost of ownership for a midsized Unified Communications (UC) and Contact Centre (CC) solution. The new all-in-one unified communications and contact center product includes pre-integrated networking, compute and storage. So essentially, it’s an all-in-one box for UC and collaboration.

Following on the their (Avaya’s) recent success and push in the communications side of networking, they are put together a convenient and accessible solution for SMEs looking to move towards a cloud-based UC solution. The Collaboration Pod takes Avaya unified access and core networking technologies, including the Avaya Pod Orchestration Suite, and combines them with the EMC VNXe 3200 storage array, HP DL360 servers, VMware vSphere 5.5 and various pieces of software from each of the partnered vendors.

Avaya claims that the Collaboration Pod 2400 series will bring about a host of benefits with this technology including a reduction in time to service via simplified updates and through specialised partner training – the solution will be serviceable by a single vendor, again saving further time and money. As with all Avaya technology releases and with the intention of creating a collaborative collection of solutions, the Collaboration Pod 2400 series will be able to combine with a whole host of Avaya’s existing, and future, UC products, networking solutions and applications.

Avaya partners will be trained on this platform in October in the UK so expect the first customers to appear shortly after this for Avaya’s new UC and CC cloud-based solution. For more information on this product you can download the following brochure:

Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 series

 

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.

A Quick Guide to Unified Communications

Unified Communications

Unified Communications – A Brief Overview

In light of recent conversations with a few of our customers, some have asked us “What exactly is UC (Unified Communications)?” and more often when I have explained it to them, the response has been along the lines of “Ah right, I’ve heard of all those things before but I didn’t realise that altogether that results in what is known as Unified Communications.” Of course I am paraphrasing there but my point is that they are aware of the individual components (in most cases) but were unaware that all those elements bundled together equates to a solution known as Unified Communications.

It is of course, a major buzz phrase in the industry over the last two years and when you think about it, the phrase is perfectly apt for its definition – so really its just an awareness raising exercise from the industry. The definition of Unified Communications is the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services across one platform via multiple devices. What that ostensibly means is that all your communications devices (phone, laptop, tablet, conferencing set-up or other technology) are synchronized under the one network allowing for an intelligent, organised and efficient means of collaborating within a business context.

Unified communications is an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience. It optimizes business processes and enhances human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies. Exploring that definition further can be a good way of seeing what that means in practice and what is yielding the best results that is making the industry push this as the great service that all businesses should be evolving to for their core communications strategy going forward.

Unified Communications features

deskphone - unified communications1. Phone Calls – Nowadays, most people do not have just one phone and given the increasing transient nature of business people are reachable in spite of their geographic location. Depending on the role – a phone can take the form of a desktop, a mobile, PC Softphone or Smartphone App (like Avaya One-X mobile or Skype for Business). Each have their own merits and will suit different business scenarios .

 

video unified communications2. Video – One of the best points of Unified Communications is that you are able to make video calls to your contacts on virtually all of your devices/equipment (provided they have a camera)

 

 

 

Presence Unified Comms3. Presence – Is the software  interface that offers real-time presence information on your colleagues, providing information on their availability and what their preferred means of communication is at that given time.

 

 

 

Unified Comms Messenger4. Chat – Chat or as its more commonly known, Instant Messenger, is typically a component of a UC solution that offers another option for communication for example when calls aren’t available/practical.

 

 

 

collaboration unified coms5. Collaboration – Probably one of the best points of a UC solution is the ability to collaborate in way that enables the utilisation of technology to best effect. Practically this means screen sharing, real-time document sharing and alterations and other brilliant and innovative features. In addition, through the development of Avaya – its all modular so it can be added to in segments and it will continue to grow through the use of apps as the technology and solutions evolve.

 

voicemail unified comms6. Messaging – Probably the most convenient feature of UC is the ability to get all of your messages, whether it be  emails, calls, voice mails, texts, fax, chats all in one place, on any device, anywhere in the world.

 

 

Today’s challenging economic conditions mean that the drive to improve employee productivity while reducing costs has become the executive challenge to the IT solutions providers and they have responded with Unified Communications.

For businesses this inevitably means finding new ways to do more with less, so there is an increased focus on those transformational technologies that can help deliver both process and personal productivity improvements.

For more information on this or to see practical examples in action then please feel free to contact incovo, specialised Avaya partners and Unified Communications solutions providers for businesses in Scotland.

incovo ICT solutions UK

 

 

 

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.

Avaya and HP Enterprise Services join together to offer cloud-based unified communications

Avaya-LogoAvaya and HP Enterprise Services has announced a multi-year agreement to offer cloud-based unified communications and contact center technology, and management solutions for enterprises.

Together, the companies will sell a combined portfolio of Unified Communications-as-a-Service, Contact Center-as-a-Service, and infrastructure modernization services.

The Avaya-HP agreement addresses growing global demand for comprehensive, secure, reliable business collaboration solutions, delivered as a service. HP ES will resell the as-a-Service offerings and in parallel, Avaya has the benefit of increased scale enabled by HP’s highly flexible deployment models to quickly reach more customers and help simplify and transform business communications.

As part of the agreement, the HP ES Business Process Services organization will assume service delivery of a significant portion of Avaya Private Cloud Services (APCS), including a limited transfer of APCS employees and contractors to HP ES. These services will be integrated into HP ES’s existing Mobility and Workplace and Business Process Services practices and partner eco-systems to deliver private and hybrid cloud-based unified communications and contact center solutions to existing and future customers.

Sales contracts, service level agreements, and overall client experience will remain with Avaya. HP ES will augment and amplify APCS by extending services to more customers, in more markets, with the speed and service performance needed to help grow demand for cloud-based solutions.

This agreement marks another major step in Avaya’s transformation to a software and services company. HP Helion solutions will become a cornerstone of Avaya’s cloud offerings deployed in HP’s global infrastructure.

 

Original story taken from Comms Business

Unified communications vs. social collaboration, what’s the difference?

incovo

Social collaboration vs. unified communications – incovo

Following last week’s blog article on Collaboration through Unified Communications to replace email? which mentioned the use of social collaboration, a couple of clients have asked me the difference between unified communications and social collaboration, so I thought I would write a short article explaining the differences and the relationship between the two. Some of the confusion arises from the shared principles of creating improved efficiency and more availability for enterprise, creating an co-dependent working relationship between the two.

Broken down to a fundamental explanation, the difference could be summed up by remembering that unified communications covers: software, hardware and services whereas social collaboration is solely concerned with software. Unified communications’ primary objective is to increase availability through one account, through multiple devices – commonly; phones, headsets, videocalling, messenger and email amongst others.

Whereas social collaboration is about spreading knowledge and as the name suggests, creating a platform for teamwork and sharing in the enterprise to achieve common goals. Where the two intersect is more commonly in larger scale projects, typically across larger or multiple organisations, where geographic location is a barrier to progress between groups of people.

In such an instance, the  use of unified communications tools and applications such as instant messaging, presence, chat, web conferencing or remote access are used to enable social collaboration. The enterprise use of these tools is becoming big business with many industry commentators predicting big things for this sector. One such example is when Microsoft seen fit to spend $1.2 bn on social collaboration tool, Yammer in 2012 as it seeks to enhance its capabilities and offering  in the social communication and collaboration sector.

This is likely to be the beginning of the development of this market. According to a study by New York-based consulting firm McKinsey & Company, 72 percent of companies use social technologies. However, “very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit.”

According to McKinsey:

“In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing and customer service. Yet the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing and collaboration within and across enterprises.”

McKinsey’s research estimates that improved communication and collaboration through social tools could potentially raise the productivity of workers by 20 to 25 percent by making tasks such as reading and gathering email, basic research and other communication more efficient. On a macroeconomic scale, McKinsey puts value that could be unlocked by social collaboration at between $900 billion and $1.3 trillion.

So as progressive companies seek to create greater productivity through an improved and more robust communications infrastructure, it would seem that the utilisation of a unified communications strategy can be enhanced with the addition of social collaboration platforms.

Is your business ready to improve its process efficiency through the leveraging of this new wave of technology? If you would like to know more about deploying a solution based on your business requirements then contact incovo today at info@incovo.com

Collaboration through Unified Communications to replace email?

Email, a stalwart of businesses’ communication procedure for over two decades, could be set to be replaced by new applications and technologies accessible via Unified Communications through the increasing use of next generation smart devices.

Email is so central to business communications it serves to double as a calendar, a repository, a collaboration tool, a project management platform or verifiable register for attendance – it is an integral part of business. But with such dependence and versatility comes over-reliance and misuse; the emergence of smartphones and universal communications has meant that email overload is becoming a real issue for some users. This has become so much of an issue that recently in France new legislation was passed to prohibit the checking of work emails after 6pm to ensure that employees aren’t under duress to check messages.

A recent study by iPass served to highlight unavoidable and unrelenting presence of work emails with over half of respondents intimating that they answered their first email before the got to the office and their last after they had left the office. In a bid to curb this issue and alleviate the great lengths of time consumed by internal communications, IT services company, ATOS have banned internal emails and has redirect their efforts through other enterprise communications applications.

With this wave of new technology and supporting applications, the purpose seems to be to harness effective collaboration by automating certain parts of the communication or collaboration process within business functions. The end goal of industry is to refine these elements and unify them into a single solution that is accessible via a multitude of platforms, and industry giants such as Avaya and Microsoft are leading the way with their enterprise solutions through Aura and Lync respectively. Unified Communications’ focus is geared towards availability and this centered on the use of mobile.

What will be an interesting development to monitor will be the business use of social application in a business context – with many businesses already utilising social media platforms such as Twitter to respond to customer complaints or technical issues, but can their use be implemented internally to improve collaboration? The proliferation of social collaboration tools such as Basecamp or Teamlab are prime examples the efforts to remove over-dependence on email for other enterprise functions such as project management and reporting.

Ultimately any attempt to successfully deploy an alternate means to email for enterprise collaboration will depend on the buy-in from its users. Having a simple to use, reliable and effective platform will dictate the willingness from employees and the better the fit of the tool to match employee’s working style the more likely a successful enterprise deployment. What is more than likely is that Unified Communications will be one of 2014’s biggest technology trends and it has all the capabilities to emancipate enterprise’s over reliance on email.

incovo are telecommunications and networking experts and are able to design an Unified Communications solution for your business, contact them today to find out how. email at info@incovo.com or call  today 0845 450 8400.

Unified Communications from incovo

Unified Communications from incovo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unified Communications