Workers around the globe are largely dependent upon telecommunications technology to remain connected and productive during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, industry analysts warn that critical phone, video and computing services are likely to experience disruptions due to prolonged periods of heavy traffic.
Most Americans say any such interruption would be a crisis. In a new Pew Research Center survey, 93 percent of U.S. adults say that a major interruption to their Internet or phone service during the pandemic would be a problem in their daily life. Nearly half say an outage would be a “very big” problem.
With at least some degree of remote work likely to become a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future, many companies are choosing to upgrade to cloud-based unified communications. Mitel’s MiCloud, for example, combines telephony, conferencing, instant messaging, video, collaboration and contact center communications in an integrated solution. A smartphone app allows users to access all these functions from a mobile device with no loss of functionality.
Can your phone system handle the long-term demands of a remote workforce? Consider these six questions when evaluating your current system and potential replacements:
Are traffic spikes reducing the quality of your communications? Network slowdowns, dropped phone calls and low-quality video are all signs an upgrade or replacement may be in order. When evaluating solutions, don’t settle for anything less than “four 9s” reliability, which means the system is available 99.99 percent of the time. The provider should also have Tier 4 data centers with several layers of redundancy, multiple connectivity options and automatic failover.
Are remote workers creating security risks? With remote workers connecting to the corporate network across the public Internet, protecting sensitive information is a top priority. If your system lacks robust security features, you might be better off with a new system that tightly integrates end-to-end encryption, endpoint security, multifactor authentication, and identity and access management.
Are remote operations meeting regulatory requirements? Compliance with industry or government regulations is critical for those in sectors such as healthcare or financial services. Violations are expensive and can tarnish your reputation. Make sure any solution you are considering is certified to meet your industry’s most stringent requirements.
Can your current system adapt to changing needs? The future is uncertain, so businesses need to be able to respond rapidly to changing demands and requirements. You should be able to quickly and easily add or remove lines and users as necessary without having to wait for a vendor to make changes for you. This is one of the best features of cloud-based UC solutions — you can add or remove seats and upgrade permissions in real time, making your business more agile and flexible.
Are you meeting client expectations? Your customers are increasingly reliant upon digital communication channels to engage with you during the pandemic. If your system doesn’t support seamless omnichannel interactions, call escalation, ticketing and more, you run the risk of losing customers. The top cloud-based UC platforms make it relatively easy to provide remote agents with access to technologies that can help them be more responsive to customer demands. Increased automation, AI-powered conversations, chatbots, intelligent routing and powerful analytics are among key features to look for.
Is license management becoming a burden? If your current system requires you to manage multiple licenses and plans, you may want to consider a switch. With a cloud solution, you can mix and match license types on a single plan. It’s simple to add licenses for contact center or team collaboration modules, and you can create a separate profile for each user.
Although the sudden shift to remote work caught most organizations off guard, many are now preparing to support work-from-home employees on a more permanent basis. Let us help you evaluate your business communications platform to see if it is up to the task.