How Companies Use Unified Collaboration Platforms to Drive Business

After a pilot program, LifeStore which is based in West Jefferson, N.C., deployed RingCentral across the organization. The platform has given employees new ways to connect with customers. “It creates such a huge e­fficiency boost in the way users co­mmunicate,” Rountree says.

The multiple collaboration tools that organizations support often overlap with each other, notes Art Schoeller, vice president and principal analyst for contact center and collaboration technology for Forrester. Now that the initial chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic has settled, he says, companies should take care to consolidate their environments and also provide training and adoption support to employees where needed.

“It’s like a garden,” Schoeller says. “You do the best planning you can, but you also have to understand that you’re going have weeds, so you have to go out every once in a while and prune things back. Companies should be looking at the level of adoption and level of satisfaction for different tools. It’s not that you want a pure popularity contest, but we often don’t invest enough in adoption.”

LifeStore deployed RingCentral across its 12 locations late last year, and the organization instantly reduced the management burden associated with its phone system. LifeStore’s entire IT staff is just Rountree and one other person, and the previous on-premises phone system required hands-on support for issues that sometimes popped up without warning.

“You could come in at 8 a.m., and the server room might sound like a jet about to take off, and you would have to assess the situation,” he says. “Complexity was one of the biggest drivers of this move.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how collaboration can immerse your organization in business resilience.

LifeStore relied on CDW for services around the design, building and adoption of the RingCentral system. Corey Buskirk, a principal consulting engineer for CDW, notes that a network readiness assessment revealed bottlenecks in the bank’s network, and CDW engineers configured switches and firewalls to improve performance.

“I can’t preach enough how important a stable network is for UCaaS,” Buskirk says. “If you don’t have a solid foundation, the whole house will crumble.”

RingCentral provides each user with a single number for phone, text and fax, and many employees are already making effective use of integrated instant messaging capabilities. “The uses are so different across our company,” he says. “You may have some people, all they use are their desk phones. Then you have power users who spend more time on IM. A customer service representative can have five different IMs going on and just get so much more done.”

New-Age Communication for the Workforce

In the construction industry, a unified approach to communications can improve not only efficiency but also safety. The fewer devices that workers need to carry with them, the more attention they can pay to their surroundings. “It’s clearly a better experience and a safer experience to be working on one device,” says Doug Myers, CIO at Suffolk Construction, a national building construction company headquartered in Boston.

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