The UC outcome is dependent on the communications ecosystem and how well it is managed.
Voice is now running on a data network that, in many cases, the telecom manager has no control over. There is an inherent technical complexity of VoIP and allowing a mission critical application (voice) to reside on the data network can be disastrous. The UC outcome is dependent on the communications ecosystem and how well it is managed.
VoIP was supposed to be easier, cheaper and deliver more features, but for many it seems harder, more expensive and these features seem impossible to control.
A few years ago the technologist’s world was much easier. It was a world where they controlled all the variables – they gave out the desk phone, the computer and the user could select from a few mobile device models – all of which were selected to make the telecom manager’s life easier.
Today, users bring their own devices and expect all of the corporate applications to work flawlessly. On top of that, they are having to manage a phone system that lives in an NOC they don’t control and is running over bandwidth that is someone else’s problem. Add in different vendors for the phone system and the network and it’s hard to know where to point the fingers when something goes wrong.
Most telecom managers are left asking, “How can I handle call quality across these pieces I have absolutely no visibility and no control over?”
Visibility is the Key to a Positive UC Outcome
It doesn’t have to be this hard. Jitter, latency, dropped calls, and other voice and video quality issues can be difficult to troubleshoot. A reliable service and the right network monitoring and reporting tools can simplify the effort of finding and fixing voice and video issues.
It’s almost impossible to bring back the control. But if you are willing to change your thinking, you can choose vendors who can provide visibility and who will give you access to what you need to make decisions. It is no longer about controlling a network. Instead, it’s about the end user’s experience.
Lighten the Tools
One way to control the user’s experience is to use tools that can pinpoint problems before users complain. Pick a toolset that is lightweight enough to be deployed anywhere and everywhere. Rather than pick a server centric software that resides in a data center and tries to manage something local, you need a lightweight tool that can be deployed in data centers, cloud environments and mobile devices across the country or around the world.
Work life has shifted from sitting at a desk all day to users having random interactions wherever they may be – a coffee shop, a customer’s office, or in the car. When telecom managers choose lightweight easy-to-use tools, they can get better visibility into the experience.
Adding Bandwidth is Easy
The easiest thing to do when call quality goes bad is to throw bandwidth at the issue. That’s good and bad – bandwidth is getting cheaper, but that doesn’t always solve the problem. Instead, monitor and test internet connections or connections between offices to discover the real causes of issues. When you can audit the quality of the providers and what is happening on their network, you can see what others can’t.
Will Companies Save Money?
Where the cost savings come into play is how people use the information. Executives can analyze the data and determine answers to questions like:
- Do we need desk phones?
- What have I purchased and how is it being used?
- Is my video conferencing system being used? Who is using it?
- Are users adopting instant messaging?
- Do people need training on these new systems?
Asking these questions helps determine the return on investment (ROI) for each technology purchase. Once the ROI is determined, it is easier to look at how the technology helps the company make money.
Where Do We Start?
Typically, IT departments focus internally. They determine what is happening in their world and rarely get out and talk to users about how their jobs are impacted by technology. To truly save the company money, the telecom and IT people need to step out of their office and talk to users. Start asking questions like:
- How does technology impact your daily routine?
- What frustrates you about technology?
- Are there processes that could be improved with technology?
- What do you need to improve internal and external communications?
The UC outcome needs to focus on the user experience. As support employees, the telecom and IT managers should be focusing on making revenue generators (sales) and revenue protectors (customer support) more productive. Access to lightweight tools that can diagnose problems on the user’s device, the corporate network and the carrier’s network is the best way to ensure a successful UC outcome.