2020 has been a year of firsts, at least for most of us. A global pandemic has disrupted even the smallest of our lives details and we all witnessed an event we never expected: the complete shutdown of an entire economy. Unfortunately, these drastic measures only curbed the spread for the short term and it seems that a second lockdown is all but inevitable. With the average US positivity rate reaching 10% and states such as Iowa with rates as high as 50%, it seems inevitable that another shutdown will occur. This time, however, we have the benefit of history and time. Many of us learned from the first shut down, and through sheer effort and will, to keep our businesses running by patchworking systems together. Many of us relied on cloud solutions, such as UCaaS, DaaS, CPaaS. And while these got us through the crisis, they may not have been the most efficient technology and solution for your business. If you haven’t already, there is no better time than now to begin preparing again. And one key area that you should focus on that is crucial to your business is your communications solutions – and if they are prepared to handle a second lockdown.
4 Steps to Take to Prepare for Lockdown
We know how to prepare for a disaster or event that causes a temporary shut down, either a weather event, communications cable cut. We know the basic data recovery and business continuity protocols and even have them planned in case we need them. But with the potential of another lockdown, we need to take a second look at these protocols, and especially take a hard look at how our communications system can support us through the upheaval. Here are 4 key areas we need to pay attention to as you prepare for lockdown:
Enhance business continuity, with reliable, cost-effective communications.
You can survive a downed electrical grid, closure of your office doors due to flooding, or a blizzard, or any other event causing a temporary shutdown. But it is almost impossible to survive without being able to communicate with your customers and your staff. On-premise systems do really well and are strong contenders – but in the event of a complete business shutdown, have the challenge of pivoting to a completely remote management environment. Which is one reason why cloud communications, like Unified Communications, have a singular advantage in times like this. The ability of the system to pivot on a dime and enable you to simply redirect your entire system to remote endpoints such as cell phones or softphones keeps your lines of communications open from day 1. Depending on the size of your organization, it can take anywhere from minutes to hours and all from the comfort of your administrator’s home.
Don’t cut corners – cut costs.
There are plenty of “free” collaboration tools out there, from Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and many others. But the lack of integration with your whole communication stack can create challenges and confusion and lack of adoption. Meaning you may end up spending more to manage your employee’s different environments and leaving a disorganized image of your organization to your customers. While on the surface, it may seem more economical it can actually cost you more at the end of the day. Free tools can often have hidden costs and limitations that can cause you trouble when trying to scale or manage massive strategic changes. Whatever solution you decide on, you need to make sure that it seamlessly connects to your entire communications solution. Don’t cut corners…cut costs and a fully integrated unified communications platform can do this for you.
Simplify communication & collaboration for your team.
Another challenge with free tools is the added complexity they can bring as you attempt to implement new solutions at scale. Integrating with other collaboration tools can be challenging, hindering your employee’s ability to work seamlessly. Integrated tools that allow screen sharing, virtual meeting rooms, as well as video, audio, and text communications enable your employees and customers to interact easily. There are three main components you need to ensure that your provider can support:
- Mobile applications that enable interaction between employees and customers with full PBX features, such as internal transfer, conference calls, and the ability to display internal DID’s when calling from a mobile device.
- Video collaboration & web collaboration are tools that have been rapidly growing in popularity and enable seamless collaboration between teams who are in separate geographic locations as if they were together in the same room.
- Business SMS, or the ability to send a text message from a mobile phone and have it appear to have come from your employee’s desk phone. With 50% of consumers preferring to text with businesses, not having a solution in place outside of a global shutdown is quickly going to become an inhibitor to future business growth.
Prepare for lockdown by managing communications effectively.
Adding new (or different tools) will always have an adjustment period, and to ensure they are adopted and used efficiently, you will need to invest in the time to train employees on how these new tools work and the features they have. You have spent a lot of time evaluating solutions to meet your business needs but to reap the full benefits, efficiencies, and enhancements, you need to make sure your employees know how to use the tools.
“By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail.”
These wise words were once uttered by Benjamin Franklin, and remind us of the singular importance that preparation plays in both our personal and professional lives. We are in a unique position right now in that we have the insights of the very recent past to guide us in preparing for what is most likely ahead. We need to use the wisdom that we gained in the first part of this year in order to drive our decisions for the remainder and into the next. MIX Networks’ geographically redundant, best-in-class hardware, and a wide range of services can help you navigate the uncertain future. Contact us today to learn how you can prepare for lockdown by putting UC to work for you.