BROADSOFT UC ONE IS HERE. IS YOUR BUSINESS READY FOR IT?
Broadsoft, the world’s leading platform for hosted PBX, announced the coming of their Unified Communications (UC) client almost exactly one year ago in this press release. Since then, it has gone through the arduous vetting process by service providers that wanted to add it to their hosted PBX offerings. Now, through select providers, it is finally available to end users.
This means that without having to use 3rd party software, businesses can get a seamless integration that adds video, chat, desktop sharing, presence information and more to their already cutting-edge phone service. Make no mistake – this application will transform the way businesses not only communicate, but operate. Forward-thinking organizations will leverage this technology to streamline operations, set new goals for productivity, and grow beyond previous boundaries of scalability.
WHAT EXACTLY IS UC?
UC is the seamless integration of many different applications that businesses use to communicate and share information, and typically includes:
• Desktop/application sharing
• Remote Call Control (RCC)
• Outlook calendar and contracts integration
• Mobile integration
• CRM/IVR integration
You may or may not be familiar with these applications on their own. Each is a powerful tool in on its own, but combining them seamlessly creates a totally new animal with enormous potential.
The word seamless here is key. When embracing new technology, it’s extremely important that the applications are USER FRIENDLY. Ever try deploying new technology at your business that isn’t user friendly? Employee resistance can be a killer to your new initiatives. On the other hand, when new technology is embraced ubiquitously, there’s no limit to the potential gains. Look at the boom period of the mid-late 90’s, when email and e-commerce were embraced by businesses.
“The word seamless here is key. When embracing new technology, it’s extremely important that the applications are USER FRIENDLY.”
Broadsoft’s UC One works seamlessly. Integrating new applications is as easy as clicking a single button with the mouse. While on a normal phone call, if I need to show a new product prototype to an executive in another office, I can simply click a button and add video. Think of this in contrast to the old paradigm: 1) I need to launch a video application 2) I need to log in and remember my password 3) I need to make sure the other user has the application and is logged in 4) I need to mute my speakers or hang up the phone so there is no terrible echo. The latter scenario is not seamless, is not user friendly, and is sure to leave users scratching their heads as to why the service is supposed to be the wave of the future.
How does UC transform business operations?
As a salesperson, I know the importance of getting information quickly. The adage “time kills deals” is accurate. When I’m on a sales call, I want to be able to answer all of my clients questions quickly, and with confidence. There’s nothing that takes the wind out of your sails (and sales) like the phrase “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” With the chat feature, I can easily ask a question to a group of engineers and get a quick reply from someone that 1) knows the answer and 2) is available to give it to me. I don’t have to wait anxiously for an email response, or annoy any of my coworkers by calling them or stopping at their desk.
Also, using a group chat allows all of the other engineers that didn’t answer to know that my question was answered, so they can go back to their tasks. I can also use the presence feature to know which of my coworkers are available and off the phone to help me before I even engage them. Most importantly, I get my information quickly and am able to answer my customer and keep him or her engaged.
Because UC One is a hosted application, it can be used anywhere. This means that any user with an internet connection has access to real time information and tools just about anywhere. I have used UC services on an airplane, 30,000 feet above the ground.
“We were able to look each other in the eyes and read each other’s body language when we spoke, which are huge contributors to communication.”
I can assure you that using IM cuts down on email clutter just as well up there as it does down here on terra firma. This also means that during bad weather or sick days, employees can be just as productive at home as they would be in the office.
Video is probably one of the most underutilized tools in the UC set. I had a better conversation with my 9 year old nephew last week using FaceTime (teaching him how to sell wrapping paper and chocolates for school) than I’ve ever had with him over the phone. The reason is that I we were able to look each other in the eyes and read each other’s body language when we spoke, which are huge contributors to communication. He listened patiently and willingly role-played with me as I shared the secrets of the trade with him in hopes that he’d make President’s Club for 3rd graders.
DOES UC REALLY WORK?
I am a witness to the power of UC. I worked for a company that was one of the first hosted PBX providers to deploy a UC client (Microsoft’s OCS), also one of Broadsoft’s largest hosted PBX providers. When the company was acquired, it went from a startup of 40+ employees in one office to the first publicly traded UC company with 200+ employees and 4 locations. Naturally, the integration of the company had its bumps, but when everyone embraced the UC applications we were able to cut through the clutter and make great strides towards efficiency. If you think your organization isn’t ready for UC, know that the one I worked for employed over 100+ in a rural area, and whose main product was Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), and they were able to adapt quite well.
OCS had its limitations – many features didn’t work well on a Mac, support was not ideal, and when issues crept up it wasn’t immediately clear whether they came from the OCS client or the Broadsoft platform. Despite these limitations, I quickly saw the power of UC and became an early evangelist. With Broadsoft’s UC One, the application was designed by the same group that built the world-leading hosted PBX platform, and it works equally well on Macs and PCs. I encourage every business owner, operations manager, or IT executive to take a serious look at this technology before your competitors do. The main question to ask yourself is: are you ready to lead your organization to the next level of performance?
To learn more about Broadsoft’s UC One or to see a demo, please contact us.