India is home to 51 million Micro, Small & Medium Businesses, contributing to 37.5% of the GDP. The Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC &C) industry is Projected to Grow at a CAGR of Over 12% during 2017-2023. Interestingly, one of the drivers for the UC&C growth is the surge in SMB sector. There was a time when small business phone systems used to be extremely basic. A small company would have a few phones and one or two lines, but not anymore! With the growing demand for better communication models, increasing penetration of the internet and increasing user-awareness, small businesses now demand IP PBXs with big features and a reasonable budget. Also, the increasing growth and availability of economical SIP Trunking in the country are promoting people to migrate from the traditional PBX/KTS (Key Telephone Systems) to IP PBX.
What SMBs want from their Unified Communications System
• Flexible Time-Based Call Routing
• Built-In Conference Bridge
• Music on Hold for incoming calls
• Voicemail Blasting
• Find Me / Follow Me Calling
• Calling Queues (ACD)
• Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
• Presence and Instant Messaging
• Mobile Client
Many SMB’s are getting to a point where it is not whether but when and so the real question is which UC features the organization must choose. If you are a business owner and have the responsibility of choosing a UC system for your company, the following are key criteria
to keep in mind while selecting a solution.
1. Productivity—Does the solution help to increase staff output and aid productivity in general by integrating and streamlining business processes and fostering real-time collaboration? On average an employee spends several hours every day toggling between instant messaging, voice, email, chats, audio/ video conferencing, file and screen sharing and more to get through his/her work day. Studies have shown that UC applications significantly increase staff productivity by enabling employees to check and respond to all their messages from one screen, on any device.
2. Mobility—Does it support the mobile workstyle of today’s workforce which includes working remotely and on different devices (sometimes at the same time)? The present-day workforce chooses where they work when they work and what devices they use for work. UC is critical for the success of ‘Bring Your Own Device’(BYOD) initiatives because they allow employees to have the same user experience across any device and synchronize communications across all their devices including emails, voicemails, IM/text, files and conferencing tools.
3. Look Bigger – Does the solution help your business project a larger look and feel to your customers? Unified communications provide interesting features to small businesses to make themselves appear larger to the customer. A feature like Follow Me allows the
employee to receive the phone call, that was made on his desk phone, on his cell phone.
4. Flexibility—Will you still be able to keep your legacy equipment (PBXs, phones, etc.) with the new solution or have the option of moving some applications into the cloud and keep others on-premise?
5. Simplicity—Can you expect a seamless transition to the new solution that doesn’t require a lot of retraining or create a burden for your resources who are managing the communication system.
(Author: Jim Machi is the Vice President of Marketing for Sangoma. He is responsible for developing and executing the global marketing plan including digital strategy, partner marketing, content generation, lead generation activities and launch planning. )