More and more work is being done outside the office. At the same time, organizations are placing more emphasis on collaboration to increase productivity and capitalize on growth opportunities. Unfortunately, a recent survey from Dell finds that most companies are struggling to capitalize on both trends by delivering secure, reliable unified communications (UC) capabilities to remote workers. Of the IT professionals surveyed, 95 percent have trouble providing remote workers with quality UC services. Equally troubling is the fact that nearly eight in 10 wouldn’t know UC performance issues existed unless users alerted them.

This creates a three-headed monster of a problem. First, IT spends a lot of time troubleshooting UC quality issues that are reported by remote workers. In fact, 55 percent of survey respondents deal with UC issues every week. Second, although some issues are resolved, many go unreported and unaddressed, which affects productivity and responsiveness. Third, instead of alerting IT or waiting for problems to be resolved, remote workers often abandon the company’s UC solution and use other communications services. Not only does this practice reduce ROI, but it creates an increased security risk. The use of unsupported technology has 77 percent of respondents concerned about data security, and 55 percent are worried about meeting compliance requirements.

Several boxes need to be checked in order to deliver UC to remote workers in a way that reduces the support burden on IT, maximizes productivity, minimizes the risk of abandonment, and protects your UC investment. Presence functionality enables users to see who is available and the best way to get in touch with each person, whether it is by phone, text, instant message or video chat. You also need a user-friendly mobile client application that allows for simple collaboration without multiple plugins, complex configurations or intensive user training. A UC-as-a-Service solution that doesn’t require remote workers to sacrifice quality can help because it enables users to leverage the flexibility and network redundancy of the cloud.

The ShoreTel Connect UC platform makes it possible for organizations to integrate user devices with existing phone infrastructure, business applications and processes, regardless of location. All you have to do is tap the “Join” button. The browser-based mobile client app enables users to escalate a text message to a phone call with one click, and from a phone call to an online meeting or video conference with another click. The beauty of ShoreTel Connect is that it doesn’t force organizations to choose between a cloud, onsite or hybrid solution. ShoreTel Connect uses one common platform that can be configured for any deployment model and evolve as your business needs evolve.

Although routine tasks can be handled in-house, lean IT staffs often need help managing and maintaining their UC systems and communications infrastructure. IPC provides remote monitoring and proactive maintenance through its Network Operation Center. Organizations can also take advantage of FastSpectrum ®, an IPC-hosted phone system in a carrier-grade data center that is fully managed by IPC. These solutions enable organizations to use enterprise-class tools at a fraction of the cost of an in-house system.

Today’s collaborative, always-on work environment requires a UC solution that delivers the same quality of service whether the user is working in corporate headquarters or on the other side of the world. Let us put our industry-leading expertise to work for your organization so you can maintain high levels of productivity and security and maximize ROI.