A communication platform is key to staying competitive

A complete communication platform does more than just give every employee in the business a desk phone — it’s a comprehensive business solution that keeps costs low, provides the most up-to-date connection options and allows you to stay competitive in a turbulent marketplace.

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A complete communications system

Management and business experts have no shortage of advice for how to stay competitive in the modern era. But as valuable as that advice may be, it all requires one foundational system: a complete communication platform.

What is a complete communication platform?

Think of the modern enterprise on a graph. On the horizontal axis is every function and department within the business, and on the vertical axis are the individuals within each department. Each department has different needs, and within that department, individuals will have communication requirements specific to their roles.

A complete communication platform does more than just give every employee in the business a desk phone. Today’s total solution should provide four things:

  • Customizable options for every role and function;
  • Seamless continuity that keeps employees connected to customers and to each other in any circumstance;
  • Reasonable pricing that makes budgeting and scaling up options easy and accessible;
  • Comprehensive provider services from implementation to support that address the complexity of the modern business.

Options for every function and role

The modern enterprise includes a variety of functions and roles, and each of those positions may require different communication options to stay connected to colleagues and customers.

Start with the different departments across the business. Those departments could include everything from accounting to sales to the warehouse to customer service to a host of other functions, depending on the business.

Every department needs the right platform to connect within the organization, but within each department, different roles will need the right options to perform specific duties. A complete communication platform is one that provides the right solution for every part of the business:

  • For customer service departments, the platform will offer robust reporting and scheduling options to meet staffing needs while also presenting customers with the chat, text, e-mail and voice options they want.
  • For office workers, the platform might offer the kind of mobile options they need to move around and work remotely while also creating a full “in-office” experience through apps and collaboration tools.
  • For employees who don’t sit at a desk all day, the platform will provide multiple options to stay connected to the business while performing inventory tasks or driving to appointments.

Seamless business continuity

A communications platform should provide business continuity

The only thing that’s certain in business is the unexpected. Whether it’s a global health crisis, a regional emergency or a building flood, at some point, every business will experience disruption.

A complete communication platform will act as a key piece of a total business continuity plan. When circumstances prevent employees from getting to the office, a comprehensive solution means seamless connection to colleagues and customers. In order to offer this kind of continuity, the platform should be:

  • Adaptable: When disruption strikes, the best systems respond without any indication to customers that anything is amiss. If employees can’t get to the office, they should be able to instantly take calls and interact with customers and colleagues remotely.
  • Secure: While on-premise systems can offer similar functionality to cloud systems, they remain uniquely vulnerable to disruption, especially from last-mile events. A complete communication platform will be secure under any circumstances.
  • Reliable: The middle of a disruption is not the time to worry about outages. To guarantee seamless continuity, a complete communication platform will offer the kind of uptime that gives the business peace of mind when disruption happens.
  • Up-to-date: A complete communication platform will always be operating on the most current version of its software. With cloud solutions, updates to software and applications take place behind the scenes, so businesses can rest assured that their platforms are always current.

Pricing options for every situation

For the modern enterprise, the ability to scale up and react quickly to changes in the market is vital to staying competitive. One way to ensure that kind of flexibility is through a cloud communication platform. Unlike on-premise communication systems, cloud solutions offer significant cost advantages:

  • OpEx vs. CapEx: Adopting a cloud communication solution doesn’t require the kind of significant CapEx investment that an on-premise solution requires. As a monthly operating expense, cloud solutions offer greater budgeting flexibility and lower cost of entry.
  • Reduced maintenance costs: With cloud solutions, maintenance is factored into the monthly fee, resulting in a more consistent budget across the life of the contract. And because software upgrades happen in the cloud, there’s no extra expense every time a new version of software is released.
  • Flexible scaling: For the enterprise experiencing rapid growth, it’s important to control costs while also remaining responsive to market trends. Cloud solutions allow businesses to add licenses at a pace that makes sense — not too many, not too few.

Comprehensive provider service

While it’s true that a complete communication platform requires less long-term maintenance from a business perspective, IT departments and business leaders should expect that their communication provider will have the expert knowledge and customer-centric perspective to meet their needs.

From the first call and early solution design stage to system implementation to final support for the life of the contract, a trusted, customer-centric solution provider with in-depth knowledge and ability to address all the needs of the business is a vital piece of the total communication platform.

Your key to staying competitive

A complete communication platform is more than just a modern phone system. Rather, it’s a comprehensive business solution that allows you to stay competitive in a turbulent marketplace. With a complete communication platform, your business can:

  • Allow employees across functions and roles to work anywhere, from any device.
  • Connect with customers the way they want.
  • Ensure seamless business continuity.
  • Keep costs low while providing the most up-to-date connection options.

Allstream’s Unified Communications (UC) Cloud Voice solution can provide the complete communication platform you need to keep your competitive edge in today’s market. For more information, download our e-book The Case for Cloud.

Images: ljubaphoto/iStock; Charday Penn/iStock

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