Selecting a unified communications platform

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Undoubtedly, unified communications (UC) is the way to go for the future of work, combining several communication tools into one system for better productivity and easier working. When selecting a system, organisations must ensure they understand their requirements — the number of users, types of communication channels, integration needs with existing systems, mobility requirements, security and compliance considerations and scalability.

Flexibility

Large enterprises are constantly evolving, and therefore require a solution that’s dynamic enough to change with the organisation itself. Look for a platform that can accommodate increasing numbers of users, devices and locations without compromising performance or requiring significant reconfiguration.

Platforms with robust mobile applications are key. They’re downloadable on any device, meaning employees can stay connected and productive from anywhere, whether they’re in the office, working remotely or on the go. By providing employees with the flexibility to access communication and collaboration tools from any location or device, you can empower them to work more efficiently and effectively, regardless of their physical location.

Integrability

Integration with existing business applications is key to maximising the ease of implementation and ongoing use of the UC platform. Choose a platform that seamlessly integrates with your organisation’s existing systems, such as CRM applications like Microsoft Teams, Outlook 365, Salesforce and Google Workspace.

Integration capabilities enable you to streamline workflows, enhance productivity and leverage the full potential of your existing investments. Many UC platforms offer application integration as part of their package, but it’s worth checking your existing systems and seeing if integrations exist to ensure that the shift supports employee productivity rather than creating a clunky, difficult-to-navigate system.

Security and compliance

Security is paramount when it comes to UC solutions, especially for enterprises that handle sensitive information and operate in regulated industries. Prioritise UC solutions that offer robust security features, including authentication mechanisms and access controls, as well as compliance with relevant regulations — IPSOS 27001, SOC2, GDPR and C5 standards.

For confidential comms, a solution that offers end-to-end encryption for video and phone calls and messages could be another worthwhile feature. By choosing a secure UC solution, you can protect sensitive data and mitigate the risk of security breaches or compliance violations.

Reliability

Large enterprises rely heavily on uninterrupted communication to drive business operations. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a UC solution with a proven track record of reliability and high availability. Look for features such as failover mechanisms, geographic redundancy and 24/7 technical support included in the service level agreement to minimise downtime and ensure business continuity. A reliable UC solution enables your organisation to maintain seamless communication and collaboration, even in the face of unexpected disruptions or outages.

Cost

Cost isn’t everything, but it is something to consider. Evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a UC solution — both upfront costs and ongoing maintenance fees — as well as potential savings from increased productivity and efficiency can support you to select the right solution. Are you charged additional fees for removing or adding accounts to the system? Most UC systems work on a subscription-based model, meaning this shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s something worth checking.

Futureproofing

Consider how futureproofed each UC platform is. Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to select a UC solution that can adapt to emerging trends and technologies. Look for platforms that demonstrate a commitment to innovation, continuous product development, and support for emerging technologies such as AI and Internet of Things (IoT).

One key feature to look for is a cloud-based system. While on-premise UC systems do exist, a cloud-based platform is by far superior as it gives employees choice on where and how they work, and additionally aren’t affected by the upcoming PSTN switch off.  Any old-school copper-based technologies, such as PBX phone systems and even FTTC broadband, won’t be fit for purpose after 31 December 2025. So, opting for a cloud-based UC system means your business is prepared for 2025 and beyond.

Selecting the right UC solution for a large enterprise requires careful consideration of various factors. Shifting company-wide technology is a challenging move, but by carefully selecting the right UC partner, the shift can be seamless, lead to greater team efficiency and job satisfaction and ultimately greater business success.

Crystaline is an independent business communications specialist, supporting businesses to make their comms set-ups more efficient. For expert advice on which UC platform is best for your needs, please get in touch.