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An Expert Q&A: The Evolving World of Collaboration in the Workplace

June 11, 2017

An Expert Q&A: The Evolving World of Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaboration previously meant making a phone call or sending an email to discuss a business issue. However, over the last two decades, collaboration in the workplace has come to mean many things, all contributing to the improvement of business processes. Some companies still have questions about how they should implement VoIP and collaboration, and in the following expert Q&A session, may find some of the answers they are looking for.

Question: Should our company invest in on-premises or cloud-based VoIP telephony?

Answer: It depends on how your company likes to pay for technology and how long you plan on keeping the system. Because the average break-even point for a premises-based system compared with a cloud product is about 48 months, keeping the on-premises system becomes a better value than cloud. Cloud services can be a better offer if the company has many mobile workers, because services can be provided to anyone, anywhere, at any time with limited expense. Speak with your VAR to get a better idea which method is best for your company.

Question: What is better, pure VoIP or hybrid?

Answer: There is no right answer to this question. Businesses with existing premises-based equipment that still works well or is under contract will benefit from using it to the end of its life while adding applications in a hybrid environment using the cloud. VARs can help businesses decide which way to go.

Question: How can our IT department make sure our UCC infrastructure can keep up with mobile device software and hardware updates?

Answer: When supporting mobile devices in a UCC infrastructure, determine if users are updating their phones and if your infrastructure will support those updates. Major releases may require some testing on your network. It is important to have a policy advising end-users not to update until they receive confirmation from IT. For UCC services, most software is backward-compatible with previous releases. If there is a problem, there will be an upgrade or patch released to deal with it. Problems may arise with bandwidth constraints due to the increasing number of mobile devices that use networks to communicate. New wireless standards such as 802.11ac will help significantly. Even though there will be some upgrades to in-ceiling cabling, the newer antennas provide a significant increase in Wi-Fi capability, speed, and bandwidth. If you are evaluating wireless increases to handle bandwidth issues, look for those that are already 802.11ac-enabled. VARs are in the perfect position to analyze and advise IT departments on this subject.

Question:  What about migrating to SIP trunking; what do we need to know?

Answer: Enterprises preparing to migrate to SIP trunking need a robust WAN infrastructure because most deployments are centralized with all connectivity between an organization and its carrier going through the data center. A robust WAN is necessary to support the requirements of SIP trunks and prevent issues such as latency and jitter. Enterprises that don't have the necessary infrastructure can still deploy SIP trunks in a decentralized manner and centralize them at a later date. VARs can help enterprises decide the best way to move forward with implementation.

Question:  What are the benefits of combining UC, collaboration, and social media in our enterprise?

Answer: The combination of UC, collaboration, and social media has created “collaborative communications.” Each of these tools has its own value but are even more powerful when integrated with each other. Collaborative communications include:

  • UC tools such as instant messaging, video, and presence, which are dispatched using a unified end-user client

  • Collaboration technologies such as meetings or conferencing

  • Social tools such as communities, activity feeds, and microblogging

Social software and unified communications can be used together by tying in presence, mobility, click-to-call, click-to-conference, and other similar capabilities to make it easier to connect with people inside and outside of the enterprise. Working with vendors that provide products with open application programming interfaces and plug-ins will help IT departments and value-added resellers make the integration easier.

The world of collaboration has been steadily evolving over the last two decades and will continue to do so in the future. In the end, the best way an enterprise can get the answers it needs is to consult with its value-added reseller.

Are there Q&A’s about the evolution of collaboration you would like to see addressed in this blog? Comment below: