This blog first appeared on Best in UC.
When companies go shopping for a unified communications (UC) solution, they typically have focused primarily on phone systems. Then, they might spend a little time evaluating features such as videoconferencing and instant messaging.
Things are about to change. Now, whether they are searching for a new UC supplier or considering upgrades to their current systems, companies must make mobility a major part of the buying decision.
The intent of mobility is to connect remote workers to the enterprise’s IP-PBX over the Wi-Fi and cellular data networks. This eliminates cellular voice long distance charges. Plus, it makes remote workers more available to co-workers and customers, no matter their location. As a company’s mobility tools develop over time, users will be able to use their corporate software on smartphones and tablets – anytime and anywhere. This can enhance customer service, improve productivity, and even enhance quality of life.
But companies need to understand what their mobility solution may look like at the end, so they can begin making important strategic decisions as they build a mobility infrastructure. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Where will your users get their devices? An increasing number of remote and enterprise workers prefer to use their personal iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet as their only communications device. They simply don’t want to juggle two phones – one business and one personal. At the same time, UC suppliers such as Cisco and Avaya are already developing their own endpoint devices. They will encourage clients to adopt these tablets and mobile phones for the entire workforce. Which route will your company wish to take?
- What are your policies? Every organization needs a mobility policy – right now. The IT department should establish policies and procedures regarding the use of personal mobile devices. Decide when and how these may connect with the enterprise IP-PBX and LAN. If your organization wishes to keep personal devices off the network, be prepared with an alternate strategy that will work for your mobile employees.
- Are desk phones necessary? Many mobility users may prefer a mobile device, making an investment on a desk phone just a wasted expense.
- Will video be part of your strategy? In the near future, companies will increasingly rely on enterprise video communications. If mobile workers don’t have access to video on employer-provided devices, they will again default to their personal smartphones and tablets.