If there is anything that the business world has learned over the past few months, it’s that being ready for the unexpected is paramount. And, like the old saying goes, luck favors the prepared. However, is that easier said than done? Well, the answer depends on several key factors.
First, many would argue that the events that transpired in 2020 were completely unforeseen and completely unavoidable. In our industry—Unified Communications Solutions—I cannot even begin to explain how busy we have been to ensure that companies maintained the entirety of their communications infrastructure.
The realization that people needed to be able to communicate seamlessly from anywhere was for many a novel concept that became a shattering reality in just days. Literally, a nice-to-have suddenly and frighteningly became mission critical: our team were provisioning 40,000+ users at a time—all for companies that would otherwise have closed their doors for good if they couldn’t maintain person-to-person connectivity.
Why were some companies unprepared? The answer is actually quite simple. Unified Communications (UC) is a relatively new technology stack as it relates to the core of what most consider communications. Certainly, the core of telephony and all its associated systems has been front and center for decades. But the periphery of so-called “remote worker” features and functionality have rarely if ever been considered mission critical. After all, it’s been viewed for years as a small portion of the overall communications infrastructure, usually relegated to a few traveling sales people and a tiny group of work-from-home individuals with special circumstances.
Then, of course, a global pandemic changed everything overnight. From internal communications, to video chat, presence, and issues like call centers and customer interaction were all thrown into the fray simultaneously, bringing us to today.
Now, with the world slowly merging back to some sense of normality and with regional approaches to reintegration happening globally, organizations must now take a hard look at their infrastructure to prepare for whatever lies ahead. And it’s not to say that a second wave of the pandemic is going to hit again—it would be remiss to count it out—it’s about realizing that communications practices, paired with business continuity and customer engagement, have now been transformed into UC.
So, what does this mean for companies worldwide? First, everyone must invest in a comprehensive UC systems evaluation and overall infrastructure health check. Without anything else, although small, this is the greatest investment companies can make, an investment that will deliver vast rewards over the long term. It will show holes in the system, what needs to be addressed, what potentially needs to be fixed, and much, much more. And, it could save millions in downtime, lost business, and brand damage.
But let’s pretend there are companies that are so over confident in their systems that none of the aforementioned matters. Okay, then let’s look at the other benefits. For the sake of argument there can be everything from licence right sizing, to usage and tracking, and even unforeseen or unknown benefits of application integrations, and more that will lead to better connectivity, productivity, and ultimate profitability. So, again, I say—make this a priority.
Next on the list is preparing for the future in a far more strategic way. Far beyond the panicked moments of March 2020, enterprises need to look at the totality of their strategic vision for the future. And though this may by default encompass the 2020 need for better, more optimized business continuity planning, there is far more to consider.
As digital transformation now becomes a harsh business reality, heavily weighted topics such as communications infrastructure and cloud migration all move to front and center. After all, it’s the cloud that remains the ultimate goal in evergreen functionality paired with limitless possibilities for increased revenue that everyone seeks.
Lastly, the question becomes: Who manages all of this going forward? For so many companies, IT teams are stressed as it is. From fighting daily fires, to managing massive business-driving projects, to being an integral part of corporate strategy, why would any company want to be their own phone company?
And, yes it sounds preposterous that anyone would want to especially in a semi post-pandemic response mode; however, many may not have taken the time to contemplate the reasoning. Taking UC off the shoulders of IT and placing it in the hands of highly trained UC professionals as part of a comprehensive managed services model does two very distinct things: it immediately alleviates unwanted work and burden from IT, while simultaneously creating a highly well-managed environment addressing everything from the tediousness of help-desk functions, all the way through to mission-critical infrastructure, strategy, and more.
The moral to this story is that luck always has and alway will favor the prepared. You simply have to ask yourself how prepared or, conversely, how ill prepared you want to be.