Improved access to sales partners, accelerated business processes and increased productivity - Unified Communications (UC) technology promises a wide range of advantages that have signalled the demise of traditional telephone systems for many modern businesses.
However, not every new implementation actually delivers what it claims, because the support and maintenance costs can be much higher than expected.
If you require integrated fax into your new phone system, the ability to link in to employees’ mobiles or perhaps the need to enable conference calls, you are going to need a separate IT server for each of these options. You may also want to control your telephone from the PC (also known as CTI or computer telephony integration), set up voice mail or introduce a touch-tone system such as press 1 for sales and so on. Already you will need three further servers.
So, as well as the server for the main phone system, at least a handful of other servers will be required depending on the scope of applications used. Not only that, but if you buy servers from different manufacturers then each will have a different type of administration and user interface.
Then, when a new user is set up or settings are changed, this leads to duplicate, triplicate or more modifications. A simple username change rapidly becomes a small IT project. If you don’t have an IT manager in-house then you could become heavily reliant on a third party provider.
Key conclusion: More servers equates to significantly more maintenance and administration overhead.
If you want to minimise the time and money managing your Unified Communications solution, then a fully software-based solution could be the answer. They offer all the performance features of a complete Unified Communications solution but only need a single server.
With a single server approach you can drastically reduce the maintenance plus it’s faster to install in the first place. It also presents fewer problems on the compatibility side, so in the event of upgrades you don’t need to make multiple changes to multiple servers, so you can always take advantage of new functionality that can be simply downloaded via the Internet.
With a regular UC or phone system, much of the on-going maintenance changes known as MACs (Moves & Changes) are made to individual user profiles. Employees may leave the organisation or new extensions need to be created as new staff join. If you are a fast-growing company then these kinds of changes are going to happen on a regular basis.
If you go with a solution with multiple servers then all these changes will need to be made to each one, whereas with one server changes need only be entered once and are then universally applied.
If you’re looking to upgrade you phone system, UC can deliver countless business benefits such as
If you’re considering a move to unified communications, remember to ask your reseller how much maintenance will be involved and what the on-going charges will be. If you ask for a ‘single-server’ approach you will find that over the long-term your support costs will be lower.