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Unified Communications for the SME

The world of UC never stands still, but is tech evolution driving SMEs’ changing use of applications, or is it business demands? And to what extent are resellers’ routes to market shaping UC progress?

Tim Mercer, CEO at Vapour Cloud offers his thoughts…

“If we look at the UC solutions available in the marketplace we’re seeing a new era of capabilities. Tech no longer exists for tech’s sake – it is here to solve very real and ever-changing business problems. This is, therefore, a generation of UC rich with potential as we’re talking apps that SMEs can actually use. And with great success.

In terms of the channel’s hottest tech, I think much revolves around WebRTC-powered applications at the moment. WebRTC is not new – it has revolutionised how we, as consumers, communicate in our personal time. Millennials now demand it as standard. But in the commercial environment, the tech just hasn’t hit the mark. Until now.

Now it is fuelling a new level of flexible working. We only have to look at the national media headlines to appreciate the true demise of 9-5 desk-based employment, and the number of organisations offering flexible working will only increase moving forward. But thanks to UC innovations they can do this without any compromise to customer service levels or management confidence.

WebRTC voice comms mean that a customer service agent can now work from home, for example, and still hold secure, encrypted, recordable and reportable calls, just as though they were in the contact centre. There are no compliance fears, everything can be stored for future quality audit purposes, and important stats such as average call duration and answer time can be generated and analysed with ease.

The reduced rigidity of WebRTC apps means businesses – and resellers – can be more creative in the solutions they seek. If something seems impossible on the face of it, the industry is no longer faced with a sense of defeat.

Such tech remains a difficult sell for most resellers, however, when complex queries arise, relative to the tech itself or the underpinning network or service desk, for example, they can be difficult to answer. So, if there is a knowledge or skills gap, resellers should not be afraid of having a technical partner. In fact, I’d actively encourage it. Much depends on relationships of course – this has to be a true partnership. But in an era of collaboration, why can’t it be?

Most cutting-edge UC solutions are now – understandably – cloud-based. The security, ease of deployment, disaster recovery and upgrade benefits of such solutions are clear. However, the industry has not yet moved away from installing communications entirely. Every business is different and so, at this stage, customers could find themselves quite alienated – with their requirements unsatisfied – if the industry offered ‘cloud or nothing’.”

Posted by Katie Mallinson
on March 29, 2018

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