14 essential things a true enterprise collaboration product must have

First in a series of articles that looks at the comparative features of major UC products

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The demands of a constantly evolving workplace make the evaluation of a collaboration solution as a critical business tool more important than ever. A narrow decision based on a single platform or capability—for example, instant messaging (IM) or desktop conferencing—may limit your flexibility later when it comes to supporting other important constituents such as mobile workers, executives, call center agents, and business partners.

Likewise, a solution that has not been designed with the wider needs of the enterprise in mind—such as the efficient handling of voice and video, consistency of service from the cloud or on-premises deployments, or the ability to support a variety of operating systems, devices, and applications—could become a major concern as the workspace needs continues to change.

Canadian IT departments are continually evaluating technology options against a range of characteristics that they feel are essential in an enterprise communication and collaboration solution. To help them weigh the options, we’re offering an inside look at Allstream’s own checklist. We feel a true enterprise collaboration solution must be:

  • Developed and supported by a technology vendor with the depth, scale, technical maturity and longevity required for such a critical function
  • Capable of supporting high availability design criteria to ensure that critical voice services are always available
  • Able to support a range of deployment options – including cloud-based, premised-based and hybrid architectures
  • Based on technologies and standards that are proven, mature and open – allowing integration with both existing and emerging technologies
  • Able to provide current support for and on-going commitment to innovative mobility strategies for distributed staff – including BYOD initiatives
  • Fully supportive and committed to the ongoing development of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).  SIP integration plays a pivotal role in enterprise UCC architectures as the enabler for multi-vendor, multi-function services (i.e. presence, multi-media conferencing etc.) to any device, person, system etc.
  • Capable of allowing for a design that conforms to best practices in deployment of voice services – including integration of analog devices/services
  • Able to support a rich range of telephony features that can be tuned to address the requirements of specific user communities and are available through simple to use interfaces
  • Able to provide a deep portfolio of endpoint choices – including telephone devices, soft phones, conference units and mobile devices
  • Scalable to support the longer-term needs of  the enterprise and able to grow modularly as greater demands for additional users or new multi-media applications occur
  • Able to provide rich presence indications and instant messaging capabilities with an option to support “click-to-dial” functionality
  • Able to provide tight integration to a contact centre solution
  • Able to provide tight integration to the types of collaboration services – including audio, video and web conferencing – that will improve business efficiencies and support knowledge generation and transfer
  • Acknowledged as an industry leader – enabling us to be confident that the performance, reliability, integration, and operational readiness required by enterprise customers will be delivered – including access to a robust support organization across broad geographies

An enterprise collaboration platform must be able to effectively and seamlessly accommodate all of the components of a truly unified communications experience – including both voice and video. Our next post in this series will take a more detailed look at the vendor Allstream has determined fits the bill.

Learn more by downloading The Enterprise Collaboration eBook: A How-to Guide to Unified Communications, from Allstream.

Photo Credit: Daniel Kulinski via Compfight cc

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