For most companies embracing the future of hybrid work, unified communications tech isn’t an option – it’s crucial to successful transformation. Currently, 83% of employees believe a hybrid work model is optimum for their productivity going forward. However, if you want to leverage the benefits of a more unified, empowered, and successful hybrid team, you need to invest in the right vendor.
The right vendor for hybrid work communications will ensure you can build the ultimate technology stack for your team, featuring the capabilities and functionalities most important to you.
Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the steps you can take to ensure you’re working with the right partner in 2022.
Step 1: Look for Suitable “Bundles”
One of the reasons Unified Communications technologies is so beneficial for hybrid workplaces, is it helps to align multiple communication tools in one, simple environment. The fewer tools your employees need to jump between to access the functionality they need, the more productive they’ll be – no matter the working environment.
UC vendors have begun offering a range of bundled solutions to help create a more convenient “single pane of glass” experience for teams. This means companies can now access UC technology with extra bundled in tech, like:
Collaboration and meeting tools: Including everything from video conferencing tools to rooms-as-a-service subscriptions for companies who need access to conferencing room equipment, cameras, and speakerphones
Contact centre access: Many UC solutions are now becoming increasingly intertwined with contact centre as a service features. Bundling your UCaaS and CCaaS technology can be an excellent way to reduce the headaches of managing communications tech
Specialist solutions: Special services like call recording tools, data management, and workforce management, and optimisation tools can all come included with your UCaaS technology if you choose the right vendor
Step 2: Prioritise Flexibility
Hybrid workplaces are paving the way to a more flexible future, where work doesn’t have to happen in a specific office environment. As the workplace evolves and new trends emerge, your UC vendor will need to be flexible and agile enough to adapt to your needs.
First, ensure you’re working with a UC provider who can offer you the deployment strategy best-suited to your company. This could mean having some of your communication tools in the cloud, others located on-premises, and so on. It might also mean looking for a vendor capable of hosting cloud data in a specific location, to ensure ongoing compliance.
Next, look for a vendor who can offer integrations with your existing tools, both hardware and software. Just because you’re switching to a hybrid workforce doesn’t mean you won’t want to continue using some of the hardware and software tools your employees already rely on. An open UCaaS environment with plenty of options for integrations, add-ons, and even API development will be crucial to your future.
Step 3: Put User Experience First
Hybrid workplaces have the capacity to improve engagement and productivity for your team members. However, there may be a learning curve if you’re adapting to a new UC system. Whatever your strategy for transitioning into the future of hybrid work might be, a user-friendly experience will always be crucial to success.
Look for hybrid work tools which feel familiar or comfortable to your employees, based on the kind of technology they use already. If possible, you can also provide training and documentation for team members who might need a little extra help mastering new technology.
Another aspect of “user experience” worth considering, is how easy your technology will be to provision. Your tech team needs to press a few buttons and give every hybrid employee access to the same technology, no matter where they are. A convenient cloud-based administration portal will be essential to success.
Step 4: Check Support Quality
It’s hard to know for certain how good your vendor’s customer support is going to be until you go ahead and put it to the test. However, you can check for promises from the company to help give you some peace of mind. For instance, start by looking for an SLA from your vendor for high levels of uptime. This should ensure you can keep your team up and running at all times.
Some UC vendors will be able to offer extra training and support to help get your employees on the right track when you’re moving into the hybrid workforce too.
Aside from training, guidance, and excellent uptime guarantees, it’s also worth ensuring your vendor can give you the same quality of service in multiple locations all around the world. If you’re running a global business, you need to ensure you have global service.
Step 5: Choose an Innovative Vendor
Finally, if you’re going to be making the transition into a new kind of workplace, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to continue innovating in the years ahead. Look for a company with a strong investment in R&D and a commitment to regularly rolling out new technology for their customers. A vendor with an existing strategy for artificial intelligence or plans on how to invest in extended reality might be particularly useful for the hybrid workforce.
Since you want to ensure the innovative technology you invest in is going to have the right impact on all of your team members, it’s also worth looking for a UC vendor who builds analytics and reporting tools into your technology. This will make it easier to track the performance of your staff and learn more about what they may need more of going forward.
It may even be helpful to specifically look for vendors who offer access to either in-built workforce management tools or integrations. These solutions will help your managers to keep everyone in your team properly engaged and focused as you explore the benefits of hybrid work.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to choosing the perfect UC vendor, but the tips above should get you on the right track for hybrid work.