Does your organization have a unified communications policy? Do you need one? The answer to the second question is yes, and if the answer to the first is no, it’s time to start work on your firm’s unified communications and collaboration.
What is Unified Communications?
Unified communications (UC) involve the integration of multiple enterprise communication tools into a single interface. This typically includes voice calls, instant messages, video conferences, and more.
In addition to these communication tools, UC often incorporates collaboration tools as well. It’s not uncommon to see file sharing and app integration incorporated in a UC platform.
UC offers many benefits to enterprises, including:
- Intuitive, integrate user interface
- Improved productivity
- Easier collaboration, especially among remote workers (Gartner reports a 44% increase in use of collaboration tools since 2019)
- Improved security
- Lower costs (34.3% of businesses have reduced IT spending by an average of $161,000 per year by eliminating redundant apps)
Developing a Unified Communications Policy
How can your organization develop a unified communications and collaboration policy? It’s a six-step process, as detailed here.
1. Evaluate Your Communication and Collaboration Needs
The first step in developing your organization’s UC policy is to evaluate your communication and collaboration needs. These needs are changing for many companies as they move to a more remote workforce. Consider the following:
- What communication/collaboration tools are employees currently using?
- Why are employees using these tools?
- What percentage of work is done remotely?
- Are remote workers using different communication/collaboration tools than office workers—and why?
- How secure are your current tools?
- How do your workers prefer to communicate—text, voice, video, email, etc?
- What types of devices are workers using to communicate, both in-office and remotely?
- How are workers currently sharing files?
2. Identify Potential Challenges
There are many potential challenges to establishing a unified communications solution. While each organization faces its own unique set of challenges, be on the lookout for the following:
- Lack of interoperability between current communication/collaboration tools
- Lack of willingness among workers to change the way they do things
- Lack of enthusiasm among IT staff to deploy new systems
- Lack of IT resources to deploy new systems
- Investment in legacy systems
- Lack of security awareness among workers, especially remote workers
You need to identify these and other potential challenges and then strategize how best to deal with them.
3. Consider Security
How secure are your current communications? Many communication tools lack robust security, opening communications to hijacking and attacks. This is especially true with remote workers, who tend to use consumer messaging and communication apps that are easily hacked.
When evaluating UC platforms, look closely at the technologies used to secure all communications. In particular, you want a platform that employs:
- End-to-end encryption so messages can’t be cracked in transit
- Ephemeral messaging so messages are automatically deleted when read
- Secure authentication to prevent unauthorized use
4. Choose and Implement a UC Solution
With the previous steps in mind, you now need to select a unified communications and collaboration solution. Make sure the solution you choose integrates with your current systems, is easy for employees to use (and IT staff to manage), and includes all the security measures you deem necessary. You can choose from on-premises or cloud-based solutions, the latter of which is typically better suited for remote workers. Also make sure the solution you choose comes with ample training and support.
Once you’ve selected your UC solution, you need to implement it in your organization. This is typically not something done lightly or quickly. You want to ensure that all components work well together and integrate with your existing systems and processes. You probably want to stage the implementation so that you can test it among a subset of employees before rolling it out to the entire workforce.
5. Conduct Employee Training
Once your new UC solution is ready to go, you need to train your employees how to use it. Many companies overlook employee training, but it’s necessary to encourage employees to embrace the new platform and get the most out of it. Employee training is also a necessary component of communications security, as they need to know how to communicate and collaborate securely with your new tools. Make sure you provide detailed documentation on how to use the new system as well as ongoing support.
6. Manage and Monitor Your Communications
If everything goes as planned your new UC platform is now up and running. That isn’t the end of the process, however. Your communications need to be managed and monitored on a daily basis to ensure that everything is working optimally. You need to be prepared to fine-tune various parameters based on real-world usage and any issues that might arise. You also need to be prepared to update your system to keep pace with the latest developments in communications, as well as ever-evolving cybersecurity threats.
Let Wickr Help You Develop a Unified Communications Policy
Developing a unified communications and collaboration policy is essential to your organization’s ongoing success. Wickr’s secure communications and collaboration platform is an ideal UC solution, employing strong end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to ensure that text, voice, and video communications are fully secure. Deploy Wickr according to your organization’s needs and keep your workers securely connected, no matter where they reside.
Contact Wickr today to learn more about unified communications and collaboration.