More and more businesses are looking to capitalise on Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC). They’re keen to realise the advantages of improved teamworking, faster decision making and workflow efficiencies. But there are a number of parts to any UCC solution – platform, hardware, software and services. Choosing the right options end-to-end is vital in order to reap the promised benefits of this investment.
What’s the current state of play?
Some companies are still doing communication and collaboration the old way. They have a traditional PBX phone. They rely on email to share information and files. Teamwork is done around a table with a whiteboard. More progressive businesses might have taken steps towards a more joined-up approach to communications, with VOIP, presence tracking and a webcam in the boardroom for the occasional video conference. In larger organisations, there will be more sophisticated use of available technologies. But it’s often the case that individual teams may have side-stepped IT to buy cloud services that aid collaboration. This can mean Enterprises are wasting thousands of pounds on duplicate software and services that don’t deliver the capabilities or unity that teams are demanding.
A growing market, you see
This means the marketplace for UCC is definitely a mixed bag right now, and one that’s full of potential for sales, no matter where a business is in its evolution. Over 50% of global IT leaders plan to consolidate their communication and collaboration platforms within the next 2 years; and another 24% following within the third year(1). This trend will see the UCC solutions market rise to $60 billion by 2025.
Sold on the benefits
Benefits such as end-user experience, improved customer-centricity and greater innovation are easy to buy. But there are challenges. IT budgets are tight, and businesses are keen to leverage existing technology investments. They want UCC up and running. The solution has to be user-friendly or familiar to minimise ramp time and maximise adoption. This may seem a tall order. But the answer for many businesses may already lie at the heart of their software estate.
Step forward Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 makes sense as a UCC solution. Microsoft Office is the de facto standard for daily work for businesses across the world. This offers two immediate advantages. It’s a familiar interface and a proven quantity for customers. Over the past two years, Microsoft has added new features to Office 365 to round out its UCC capabilities. It released Teams in 2017 – the fastest growing product it has ever released, with more than 500,000 organisations now using Teams(2). It harnesses Office 365 Groups, enabling collaboration with team members when writing documents, creating spreadsheets, working on project plans, scheduling meetings or sending email. It also incorporates Yammer and SharePoint capabilities.
Innovation in video conferencing
Teams also takes over from Skype for Business, providing audio and video calls for up to 50 people. Some nifty features have been added to video calls, such as customisable backgrounds – so you can hide your untidy bedroom when working from home. More innovations are set to follow, including live captions, impressive whiteboard features and the ability to broadcast live to up to 10,000 people. The promise of ongoing innovation is the strength of Microsoft for UCC. Businesses can feel confident that they’re choosing a platform with a future.
Hardware is where the magic happens
The platform is only one player in the UCC story. The other starring role goes to the hardware that equips the physical spaces where people meet, chat and work together. Hardware can make or break a UCC solution. To ensure a solution achieves its full potential, businesses need to invest in hardware that’s designed to work with their chosen platform. When it comes to Microsoft Teams, there’s no closer collaborator than Poly.
Poly – taking UCC to the next level
Poly and Microsoft are long-term partners. The biggest advantage of this? Their technologies work beautifully together. Complementing the capabilities of Teams, Poly brings new dimensions to video conferences. See every participant clearly with sharp HD video quality and intelligent group framing. People tracking technology automatically zooms in on an active speaker, making meetings more dynamic and engaging for all participants. Crystal clear audio is delivered by industry-leading voice technologies. Clever NoiseBlock technology filters out distracting background noise, so far-end participants can hear every word. Poly’s solutions for Microsoft Teams Rooms have a simple user interface and convenient centre-of-table touch console. From small huddle rooms to large conference rooms, each can become a powerhouse of productivity. See how Poly completes the Teams platform to create the ultimate UCC solution.
Video interoperability, simplified
As businesses consolidate their communication and collaboration around Teams, they still need to get as much value as possible from existing video conferencing. And that means existing assets need to connect to Microsoft Teams. Poly RealConnect offers video interoperability that’s simple and intuitive for all users.
Get to know the dream team
Right now, business across the UK and the world are chasing the dream of UCC – email, instant messaging, voicemail, calendars, project management, presentations and video conferencing, performing at their best in a single platform. Find out more about building profitable UCC solutions with Poly, Microsoft Teams and Ingram Micro. Contact us at ucc@Ingrammicro.co.uk