Tag - Collaboration

Why the Right Technology Partner Makes Upgrading Easier

Smart business managers admit that they don’t and can’t know everything about the technology that enables their business. Even Steve Jobs acknowledged that he didn’t have all the answers. He explained that his role was not to know everything about every technology out there, it was to see the big picture for his company and the products they were making and hold every facet of the business pointed towards that vision.

You may not be running a multi-billion-dollar enterprise (yet), but your role is similar. Although it may seem like you have to know everything about everything at all times, you really don’t. As the saying goes, the smartest person in the room is not the one with all the answers, it’s the one who knows where to get them. When it comes to upgrading your business communications system, the right technology partner can make getting the right answers a whole lot easier.

TRACKING TECHNOLOGY EVOLUTION IS A PARTNER’S RESPONSIBILITY

The IP-based communications systems and platforms your business relies on are sales and customer service enablers. They provide a variety of communications and collaboration options that maintain that vital link between employees, partners and customers. If the technology isn’t optimized to deliver the features and performance your employees need to work efficiently, you’re not maximizing your operation to address your full revenue potential.

But keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change can be a challenge. With so many options available and just as many performance claims from vendors, it can be difficult to wade through all the data sheets to find the hardware and software that fits your immediate business needs and future upgrade requirements. That’s where a tech-savvy technology partner can make a difference.

Deciphering all the technical claims about speeds and feeds is your partner’s job. A knowledgeable partner will be able to clearly explain the technology, the difference between an update and an upgrade, the reasons why you should be doing both and the best way to approach the process. At the same time, the partner will be able to speak to the security risks of staying with outdated technologies and also explain the security benefits that keeping current will deliver to your business. And if you’re at the stage where you are considering a move to the cloud, your technology partner will be able to help you understand the different cloud deployment models and make it easier to choose the one that best fits your operation.

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION SHOULD BE PAINLESS

The right partner should also be a trusted advisor who is fully aware of the system you already have, the updates and upgrades you can apply immediately to optimize it and the technology evolution the system vendor will follow into the future. With that information, the partner can match your business requirements with the right technology roadmap so that your business doesn’t get painted into a technology corner and isn’t left scrambling to add capabilities in an effort to catch up to the competition.

If your system is several versions behind, chances are that there are new capabilities that could benefit your operation immediately. Many on-premises systems, like Mitel MiVoice Business, are enhanced through regular updates that your partner should be aware of. Every minor software update or major upgrade refines existing capabilities or adds new features designed to streamline work processes and improve efficiency. By unlocking new features, you can take advantage of technology improvements, improve efficiency and increase productivity.

If your system is technologically up-to-date, there are probably infrastructure investments you can make to do more with what you already have, so that you don’t have to replace existing equipment or migrate to the cloud until you’re ready. So, for example, if you have the most current version of MiVoice business, now is a great time to replace disjointed tools with integrated solutions that seamlessly connect to your existing infrastructure. It’s also an ideal time to extend communication capabilities to enable more efficient mobile or remote working while ensuring productivity and tighter collaboration across your organization, anywhere, any time and on any device.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

By working with your partner to manage technology evolution in this way you can optimize the capabilities of your existing system, extend the life of your system and migrate to the cloud at your own pace. The right partner can help you make the incremental choices that will avoid disruptive forklift upgrades and enable a smooth integration of new technology as it is available.

In addition to ensuring you’re always current, a structured and strategic approach to updates and upgrades makes it easier to think about your communication system strategically. Technology integrations can be better planned to coincide with business strategies, such as new market initiatives or a shift to a more distributed or decentralized operation.

Most importantly, the carefully planned and scheduled integration of new technologies, capabilities and features will ensure your communication system is always ready to deliver the latest and greatest email, text, chat, screen-sharing and unified communication capabilities to every desktop, smartphone and handheld device in the office and to remote employees. It makes it easier for you increase productivity and compete in your market space.

MOVING THE ANXIETY UNITS

With all that in mind, take a hard look at your current technology partner and determine whether you’re getting the biggest bang for your communications system investment buck. Your technology partner should be more than a sales outlet for a vendor’s hardware and software, and more than an installer who sells the system, installs it and is never heard from again.

The right partner is an expert in the technology your business relies on, one who cares for your success and can work with you to prepare your business for the future. Through the planned, incremental and careful integration of updates and upgrades in new technologies, that partner can ensure your employees have all the communication tools they need to be as efficient, effective and productive as possible in all their business interactions.

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Why Your Business Needs a Communications Strategy

When it comes to business, regrets are something every owner and manager can do without. Nobody wants to be in a business situation thinking “I should’ve been ready for that.” Effective managers try to avoid those situations by looking ahead, planning for the future, anticipating issues that may impact the business and leaving room to manoeuvre so that the business is agile enough to respond to market situations as they arise. This forward-looking management approach should extend to all facets of a business.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the communications system that is the foundation of their customer service and sales process, many managers don’t look beyond the dial tone they hear when they pick up a handset. But there’s more value to be had from a technologically current and feature-rich communication system than simple dial tone. By looking at your communication system as a strategic asset, you can position your business to deal with any eventuality.

COMMUNICATION IS YOUR BUSINESS

Regardless of which industry you are in, the reality is that you can’t be competitive without a fully optimized communications system. If your employees can’t communicate effectively and efficiently with each other, customers and partners, chances are you are missing out on important customer service requirements and potential revenue opportunities. So, in a way, communication is the key to your success.

That’s why it’s important to regularly take a hard look at what you have and what you should have. Many communications system features that may have seemed unnecessary a few years ago are now table stakes. Likewise, features you thought would improve operations may no longer be delivering the benefits they should be providing.

Therefore, as technology and your business evolve, your communications strategy should, too. It should not be a static concept that you worked on back when having dial tone was the most strategic move you could make. It should be an ongoing process enabled by the key questions that will inform it on the road to the next strategic decision:

-How do my employees collaborate?

-How does my organization handle customer interactions?

-Do our systems integrate well and do they improve efficiency?

-Are we taking advantage of all the new features available or are we behind on updates?

-Do we need to move to the cloud to improve efficiency or can we do more with what we have?

-How are we prepared to harness cloud technologies when it is time to make the move?

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS SHOULD IMPROVE OPERATIONS

Since there’s no denying that effective communication and collaboration are critical in today’s business environment, a communications strategy can help you improve operations.

Research shows that 85 percent of small businesses agree that efficient communication between different teams is fundamental to staying ahead of the competition. But a poor technology strategy can have serious repercussions on a business and even affect a company’s ability to compete. For example, inefficient communications can cost upwards of $6,000 per employee per year to a small business, even more for an enterprise.

Inefficiencies are created when employees are working with outdated systems that don’t provide the features and capabilities that will optimize their daily work processes. Systems that aren’t integrated with core applications, like CRM, that don’t provide a single unified view of all communications options and that don’t enable team collaboration, video conferencing and anytime, anywhere access to email, text and chat are not adequate any longer. Likewise, systems that offer all those things but are two or three software updates behind are not operating at peak efficiency and may, in fact, be reducing productivity.

Meanwhile, communications technologies continue to evolve and that’s never going to change. So, organizations that don’t view their communications system as a strategic asset, reassess their investments regularly and optimize their systems at every opportunity can find themselves in situations where their communication technology mix does not meet the demands that the business and the market put on them.

STRATEGIC SYSTEMS ARE READY FOR ANYTHING

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily operations for businesses of all sizes showed just how strategically important up-to-date communication technology really is. Businesses that had kept pace with ever-changing communications technologies before the pandemic found it easier to enable employees to work remotely. Those that had a less strategic approach to their communication system found that they were ill-equipped to handle the new business reality.

Now, businesses that are sensitive to the winds of change will have a technology investment strategy that ensures they aren’t caught flat footed again. They’ll keep their system as flexible as possible, ready to add functionality as needed and capture opportunities when they arise.

Thinking about your communications system strategically means making a conscious effort to keep pace with technological change so you can do more with what you have now and are ready to upgrade to whatever you need when you need it. It means maximizing the potential of your current system with incremental updates that deliver the integrated email, text, chat, screen-sharing, unified communication, collaboration and video capabilities your employees need to stay connected with colleagues, customers and partners. And it means thinking about your eventual move to the cloud, planning for it and being ready for it when your business needs it.

STRATEGY PUTS YOU IN CONTROL

With a strategic approach to your communications system you can plan to do more with what you have to meet the changing needs of your employees, your customers and your business. You can reap all the business benefits offered by your investment. And you can control how technology evolution affects your operation.

If you’re a MiVoice Business Customer, you already have access to all the key elements you need to maintain strategic control of your communications system. If your system is several versions behind, there are probably new capabilities you can unlock to take advantage of technology improvements you’ve missed. If you have kept your system current with all updates and you are not ready to move to the cloud, you can work with your technology partner to optimize your system by replacing disjointed tools with more tightly integrated solutions that seamlessly connect to your existing infrastructure.

Most importantly, regardless of where you are in your strategy, you’re in control. So, avoid any future regrets about your communication system by thinking about it as a strategic asset that you can leverage to position your business to deal with any eventuality.

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UC&C: The Secret Behind Every Great Customer Experience

Experience is everything. For your employees and your customers, their loyalty to you hinges on receiving positive treatment. To stay competitive in our increasingly saturated marketplace, and keep productivity and profitability high, experience is king. Making it easy to engage with your brand, and within your workplace, is an effective way to boost customer and employee experience. That’s where a unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) system comes in.

Better for employees

Your staff are the heart of your businesses. And to them work-life balance isn’t just a buzzword; it’s driving their choices. People want to work more productively, without having to work for longer. In the US, one in ten workers is spending over 50 hours a week on work-related tasks. Across the Atlantic in the UK, the outlook is similar, with 60% of people saying they work longer hours than they’d like to.

And it goes beyond simply the number of hours worked, to the productivity within those hours. Every day, workers navigate multiple channels to keep track of messages: 13% of a typical working day is wasted as a result of inefficient and ineffective communications, leading to nearly £8,000 of wasted time per professional per year, according to the Mitel 2019 Workplace Productivity Report. If businesses deployed more intuitive, effective communication tools, 74% of employees believe it would improve their personal productivity, our report found.

This shift in employee priorities means the future is flexible. 83% of global workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. But to make it work, communication and collaboration is key. Businesses need to have in place reliable, unified systems to support effective knowledge and idea sharing to empower employees to work in the way they want.

Better for customers

Customer expectations are higher than ever. It’s never been easier to get the products and services they want, at their convenience, and with greater choice. A bad experience and one in three customers will go elsewhere, even if you’re a brand they love. Without exceptional customer experience that keeps up with agile competitors, organisations can expect to be left behind.

It’s estimated that 86% of customers will pay more for an excellent experience and, in some cases, that adds up to almost 20% more. Excellent experiences require consistency and simplicity. Each communication – whether it’s a call, a click, a text or email – needs to be engaged with quickly, smartly and consistently, so a customer doesn’t have to reiterate information about themselves or wait while you compile their profile. Disparate processes and communication systems can stop this from happening.

By adopting a unified communication system, businesses have one, accurate view of the customer, creating a joined-up experience that’s efficient to manage and meaningful to customers.

Better for business

More productivity from staff and greater spend from customers all lead to a more successful business. For employees, it means more time for innovation, cutting downtime in navigating numerous communication apps. Plus, with improved collaboration and experience, expertise is more easily shared, more quickly. It makes for a better environment to produce new and exciting ideas, while allowing them to work in the flexible style that they prefer.

For customers, you become easier to interact with. They’ll be more likely to offer repeat business, and they’ll tell their friends about you.

Whether it’s to attract new talent, retain existing staff, gain increased spend from customers, or a combination of all these, a seamless UC&C system delivers the experience consumers and staff expect. And the seamless nature of a unified tool lowers operating costs too, eliminating multiple licenses and reducing IT maintenance costs.

Discover a more connected future

At Mitel, we understand that you’re focused on driving change and we know it’s your responsibility to improve both employee engagement and customer experience. With increased expectations and demand for a seamless workflow across platforms and devices, wherever users are located, you need the power to choose a technology solution that delivers confident collaboration, while integrating with your existing systems.

Creating a workplace that delivers the right experience for customers and employees, as well as achieving fast ROI, requires choice. At Mitel, we can offer you choice by being more flexible than anyone else. We work within your existing network to let you choose how you move to the cloud, and how and where you’d like us to support your culture of flexible working, so you and your employees can work in the way you prefer.

We make communications simple for our customers. Using our agile approach, you can rely on us to meet your unique business requirements, eliminating technical complexity along the way. We can help you drive your business forward, delivering easy communication between teams for better idea sharing and productivity, and improving the customer experience across every touchpoint.

 

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The Workplace Evolution: Adapting to the Digital Office

Meet the next generation of working styles. Changing demographics and evolving expectations of technology are transforming the workplace into a modern, but complex environment. It has presented IT teams with the challenge of both maintaining current systems and allowing for more effective processes. To stay competitive and support the needs of the business, choosing to adapt in the right way, with the right collaboration tool, is compulsory.

The changing face of the workplace

The workplace of today is unrecognisable from the past, and it’s still evolving at pace. No longer faced with the static nine-to-five office of 50 years ago, IT teams have had to adapt tools and devices to the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce that’s expected to reach almost 2 billion workers by 2022. Currently over half of employees work away from the office for half the working week.

For IT, the trend of flexible working brings added challenges and can mean time that could be dedicated to innovative projects is now reassigned. With work being completed from home, off-site locations and on the go, cafés are the second most popular place to work. This introduces new outside devices and networks to corporate systems, which can leave organisations vulnerable. Add to that the huge number of networked devices used for work tasks, which is predicted to reach 38.6 billion by 2025, and it makes the task of keeping devices maintained, up-to-date and secure even more complex and time consuming.

A totally virtual working space is an approaching reality – and with it comes the need for powerful connectivity. To stay productive across different locations and working hours, businesses rely on their IT departments to deliver capabilities that support effective collaboration and communication. Without it, work simply takes longer and results suffer.

The connected generation

The workplace shift goes beyond bricks and mortar. Younger generations are entering the workforce in droves, and they’re leading the digital revolution.

In 2020, Millennials and Generation Z, those born from the early 1980s to early 2010s, represent a significant proportion of the workplace. These generations have grown up in a world where the internet, smart devices and instant connectivity are ubiquitous, and they expect the same simple, connected communication platforms at work as they’ve been used to in other areas of their lives.

The frequency and fondness of communication varies depending on generation. Millennials, for example, often avoid face-to-face interactions in the workplace, with 55% preferring online messaging software and 28% choosing email to communicate. And for the Gen Z, frequency is key. Over 65% say they need regular feedback from their line manager to stay in their job. For IT, it means finding a simple way to accommodate these diverse preferences to ensure maximum productivity and inclusion.

The race to stay ahead

These changes have brought an influx of applications and communication channels, which can negatively impact productivity. Using disparate systems will slow down a business. When systems aren’t compatible with each other, transferring data and knowledge from one program to another, or one person to another, can be arduous. And for IT teams, staying on top of management and training to use the systems takes even longer.

Plus, employees are less than impressed with the daunting number of channels at play. Almost a quarter of IT professionals have found that the communication options available can be overwhelming to staff. It also makes it harder and more time consuming to keep track of information, forcing a long search across platforms to find the details needed. The solution is simple: implement one easy-to-use tool.

Today’s IT departments are under more pressure than ever. From the growing demands of the workforce to disparate systems, the current day-to-day workload is both complex and time consuming. So exploring a solution that unifies communication into one platform across the whole business makes it simpler for IT teams to manage systems. It means they can reassign their time to innovative, future-looking projects while boosting overall employee productivity. Plus, it helps IT to contribute to business growth and gain added flexibility over the implementation of new systems.

Choose to embrace the future

The modern working world holds plenty of exciting opportunities, and collaboration in ideas and knowledge is essential to react to them. The right communication systems can facilitate a workplace that delivers exceptional customer experience and supports business growth in today’s fast-paced, decentralised environment. For mobile workers, three hours a week can be lost without using unified communications and collaboration tools.

At Mitel, we understand the pressure you’re under. Our unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions support IT teams – giving you the power to choose which systems to make available, and how to roll them out. It lets you have the choice of on-premise, cloud or hybrid, the choice of when to upgrade and which systems to make available to which employees.

We work with you to uncover your unique business requirements before tailoring solutions to meet them. It means the solution is adapted to your needs, powering efficiency in the areas you need it most, while making it considerably easier to manage.

Our approach is flexible and agile, and we work within your existing network – seamlessly integrating to eliminate technical complexity and make adoption simple. We’re here to help you drive business forward.

 

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Break Free from Business Lockdown with an AI Virtual Agent

As we all struggle to adjust to the new normal under worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns, digital transformation has never been more critical. Staying home under quarantine with countless hours on Wi-Fi means more consumers than ever are shopping online, outside of traditional working hours. The pressure is now on businesses to boost their level of online support to readily supply information, services or goods. Moreso, with supply shortages and extended delivery times challenging many households, the business that can respond in real time has a clear advantage.

Whether you’re seeing a massive shift to online orders and queries or are seeking ways to adjust your business model to stay relevant during the quarantine, consider how AI technology can help your business cope. You can quickly build and implement a customized Contact Center AI Virtual Agent to handle any new territory.

Before COVID-19, North Yorkshire County Council had implemented a Mitel chatbot solution to offset the volume of calls and web chat requests coming into their internal IT service desk. Mitel’s Google AI-powered Virtual Agent provided digital self-service with intelligent handoff to a human agent—a capability that greatly curbed the volume of routine calls and liberated agents so they could respond more thoroughly to service requests.

When the COVID-19 outbreak hit, the council experienced a surge in customer contact center and service desk requests. The chatbots proved invaluable, enabling the council to field the influx of questions from residents and employees so agents could focus on more tangible actions.

As North Yorkshire County Council discovered, contact center AI can allow 24-7 services to be automated so customers (and constituents) can be tended to. Meanwhile, remote-based human agents can be free to handle more complex cases and provide an enhanced customer experience.

Your digital transformation strategy does not have to mean a significant spend—in fact, with today’s cloud-based technology you can maximize your existing investment. Instead focus on streamlining and enhancing operational processes and systems with specific attention paid to the customer and agent journeys. Consider how you can alleviate the pressure on your agents and reduce stress by leveraging technology. By providing up-to-date information on your website using virtual agent and chat, customers get their questions answered and feel seen and heard.

The impact of COVID-19 on people and businesses, while monumental, is not insurmountable. At 4Sight Communications, we’re primed and ready to help you move forward with confidence, even in uncertain times.

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This article was first published by Mitel.

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Everything You Need to Know to Excel While Working from Home

With limited travel, school closures and whole cities dropping into quarantine to contain the spread of coronavirus, it’s not surprising that many companies have shifted to remote work. Limiting person-to-person interactions, by encouraging employees to work remotely, might help decrease the chances of catching the virus, but it comes with its own challenges and learning curves.

Remote working can be a difficult transition, especially for individuals who are used to an office atmosphere, and productivity can certainly see a dip as they navigate a new setup. However, it also means shorter commutes (or none at all!) and more flexibility. With the right tools in place and knowledge of best practices, telecommuting to work can be made easy and maybe even increase productivity.

Here’s a roundup of remote working best practices, sure to help your team make the most of staying at home.

Coronavirus Remote Work: How to Make Working Remote for the First Time a Success

Working from home means less ability to collaborate in person, but in this article, Christoph Trappe explains how some tasks are easier to complete remotely.

“Many creative tasks – like writing, editing, multimedia, etc. – are much easier to do in a quiet place anyway, in my opinion.” Look at the positives of working from home, like more work hours in your day, improved focus and maybe even more motivation.

The 3 Problems Everyone Has When First Working Remotely (and How to Solve Them)

This is a transition time for nearly everyone, meaning you likely aren’t the only one on the team dealing with the struggle of being the only one in the “office”. Other people on your team are likely having similar issues so it’s important to keep in touch and work through these problems together.

8 Tips to Make Working from Home Work for You

Telecommuting has never been this big before, but coronavirus has millions working from home, some for the first time, meaning some basic tips go a long way. For example, if you’re easily distracted, get ready for work every morning just like you would if you were still physically going into work. Or, if you’re the kind of person to never take a break, consider a change of venue to keep you from getting claustrophobic.

Tips from Experts—Our Co-Workers in Asia—About Working from Home

Given that coronavirus started its spread across Asia in January, many workers in the area have already been working remotely for over six weeks. Bloomberg took the chance to ask their colleagues in Asia for any tips or advice they may have as the US and Europe shift toward their own work from home solutions.

12 Steps to Eliminating Remote Work Distractions

Working in the office versus working from home have completely different distractions and how you should deal with them. The most shocking statistic? “Once you’re distracted, it typically takes 23 minutes and 15 second to get back to work.”

5 Tips for Effectively Working from Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak, When You Have Kids

At least 69,000 schools across the US have closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, meaning plenty of parents are having to balance work and home life more than normal. Coworkers can sometimes be a distraction, but working alongside kids can require a whole new learning curve.

How to Boost Your Home’s Wi-Fi

With many of us working from home, and many kids now schooling from home as well, our Wi-Fi is being pushed to its limit. However, there are plenty of tips you can use to ensure you’re getting the most out of your bandwidth.

Although the shift to remote working was unplanned for many businesses, instead of looking at it as a nuisance, consider the benefits of telecommuting:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased flexibility
  • Additional work hours (if needed)
  • Reduced office requirements
  • Improved employee retention
  • Maximizing time
  • Improved trust among employees

Take this opportunity to put mobility first and find a communications system that enables you to work from anywhere. With the right system, you can stay productive, even while on quarantine. Our remote working solutions concentrate on ease of use and are built for the mobile work style, empowering users to work more efficiently and productively, no matter their location. Collaborate with others seamlessly by leveraging the power of unified communications.

Explore 4Sight Communications Remote Working Solutions.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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How to Organise a Home Office for Better Productivity

For many modern professionals, remote working is nothing new, but COVID-19 has changed working from home from novelty to necessity. Remote work can take some adjusting to, and these tips on how to organize a home office for productivity will help you make the most out of your home office.

Tip 1: Select Your Office Space Carefully

When selecting a space in your home for your office setup, be sure you keep in mind the amount of daily foot traffic in that area. You want to minimize distractions, which includes outdoor noise, by selecting a quiet part of your house to work in. Literally being able to shut the door on distractions can be a big help to your overall productivity.

If your space does not allow for an entirely separate room for your home office, you can set up shop in your kitchen, living room or dining room. These areas tend to naturally have more distractions, but you can alleviate some of these issues by purchasing focus-inducing equipment. For example, noise-cancelling headphones can help you hear others clearly during calls. Or, if you need to create a physical barrier to separate yourself from others in shared spaces and maximize your collaboration experience, you can purchase a foldable screen. When the screen is up, it will act as a signal to others in the same room as you that you are working, minimizing interruptions in the process.

Don’t forget—regardless of where you choose to have your home office, you need to ensure the space you select has ample electrical outlets as they will be crucial in keeping your work flow uninterrupted.

Tip 2: Natural Light

Try to set up your workspace in a room that has a few windows. You’ll feel the benefits of keeping your work space bright and airy; since you’re spending the majority of the day sitting at your desk, having access to natural light can have an impact on your overall work performance, mood and wellness.

In fact, the Harvard Business Review states that research showed that workers who worked in offices with daylight environments reported a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and 56% reduction in drowsiness. You too can feel the health benefits and increase in alertness in your remote work by choosing to have your home office set up in a place that receives plenty of natural light.

Tip 3: Invest In Seating

The type of seating you choose for your home office can impact your productivity levels. Investing in a chair that offers adequate back support may well be worth the initial costs. Since this is where you’ll be spending most of your day, you don’t want to be slouching or have inappropriate back support as these can have health repercussions.  A chair with adjustable heights can allow you to change the positioning of your legs throughout the day, and a footstool can also help with elevation to prevent leg fatigue.

Tip 4: Decluttered Workspace And Storage

As a general rule, you should have all items you need for work within arms’ reach throughout the day. However, keeping those items properly stored is key to productivity. A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind, so it’s important only to have items that pertain to your current task on your desk at any given time.

To minimize distractions, you’ll want to declutter your work area as much as possible. A proper desk with ample storage can play an important part in keeping your home office clutter-free by keeping important items close at hand but not directly on top of your workspace. If your home office space does not allow for a desk with drawers, invest in a rolling filing cabinet to store important documents and other miscellaneous objects that would otherwise clutter your workspace.

Tip 5: Computer Screen Configuration

Many people use multiple screens at their office for daily work. If this is the setup you’re used to, it’s best to mimic it at home. You can purchase monitors and monitor mounts online that are easy to configure. If you don’t want to set up the monitor mounts, you can use monitor stands instead, allowing you to place your screens at eye level so that you do not have to strain your neck or affect your posture while working. If you cannot find a computer screen that fits your needs, you can also use a small television as an extra screen, and connect it using an HDMI cable. Bringing home any docking stations that your workplace provides makes for a seamless office-to-home experience.

Tip 6: Customize Your Space

Just as your specific job tailors the kinds of items you need to be productive, the way you work as an individual will determine some additional needs you may have. For example, if you don’t like the keyboard on your office issued desktop, be sure to purchase an external keyboard. The same goes for using the laptop trackpad vs. an external mouse. There are an endless number of ways you can customize your home office for your personal productivity—choose what’s right for you.

Depending on your work function, there are other items you may want to consider when setting up your home office. These include paper shredders for confidential documents you may be handling and a robust printing or copying machine if your work doesn’t rely solely on digital outputs.

Remember, working from home takes getting used to, but following these tips will set you on the right track to maximum remote working productivity and help you triumph at your new work from home life.

Explore 4Sight Communications Remote Working Solutions.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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How to Prepare for a Videoconference as a Remote Worker

Videoconferencing is quickly becoming “business as usual.” So now more than ever, it’s essential to prepare for your business videoconference meetings so that you can get the most out of each one and make sure work gets done efficiently. Whether you’re new to working remotely or have been doing it for some time, it’s easy to fumble on a call.

Get Technically Ready For Your Video Conference Call

Working remotely means you have to make sure all technical aspects of a web and videoconference are in order. In other words, you are the IT department. Don’t wait until five minutes before the call to get everything prepared. Do it way ahead of time.

Here’s a checklist of things to nail down before the call.

Internet Connection.

Your WiFi signal must be strong enough to handle both voice and videoconference calls. What’s fine for browsing or email may not be robust enough to facilitate video.

Up-To-Date Software.

Make sure you have the latest version of the meeting software. Or use a web-based business videoconferencing solution where you only need to sign on.

The global videoconferencing market size is expected to expand at a CAGR of 9.2 percent from 2018 to 2025, according to Grand View Research.

Lights, Camera, Action!

One key to successful videoconference calls is making your visual presence as clear and strong as possible. You may be in your home office, or even the kitchen table, but you still have the ability to control lighting, visual background and ambient noise. Before starting the call, turn on your camera and take a good hard look at yourself and what’s behind you and the lighting. Make sure a light source is on your face – not behind you. Then check what’s in back of you. A pile of papers? The laundry? Set up your call so that your background is clear and uncluttered. You want other participants to focus on you and not be visually distracted. Finally, find a quiet space, ideally one with a door so that you can block out other noises.

Prepare For The Content Of The Videoconference Call

Taking a few moments ahead of time to organize your thoughts can make all the difference between a frustrating call and a productive one. As you prepare for your business videoconference, consider these elements.

Agenda.

If you’re the organizer of the call, be sure to send out an agenda at least a day ahead of time. Identify what you expect from each participant. For instance, “Ashley, I’d like you to be prepared to review the latest estimates for the new construction.”

Your Role.

If you’re not the leader, reach out to the organizer and ask for clarification on your role and how you should prepare. Think through what you’d like to contribute.

Other Participants.

Find out who else will be on the call. Just as with face-to-face meetings, it’s helpful to know ahead of time who’s “in” the meeting.

What To Do During A Business Videoconference Call

These days, we’re all so accustomed to multitasking that we’re tempted to do it during a conference call – particularly a boring one. All the more reason to define your role and contribution to the call ahead of time. Here are some ways to stay tuned in.

Be Present In Mind And Body.

Look into the camera. Keep your attention on whoever’s speaking, just as you would if you were sitting in a conference room. React to comments with appropriate body language, like nodding. Because the video software may automatically switch to the speaker, avoid verbal comments unless you have a contribution or question.

Take Notes.

It’s easier to stay in the moment when you’re jotting down thoughts and information. Note any questions you have for other participants or comments you want to add to the conversation. Be ready to share when the opportunity presents itself.

The Benefits Of A Cloud-Based Video Conferencing Solution Include:

  • Improved communication with customers
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Scalability
  • Reduced costs

Limit Side Conversations.

Keep one-on-one chats to a minimum. Again, if you were in an in-person meeting you wouldn’t be passing notes to colleagues, right? Instead, take notes for follow up.

Fill In The Gaps.

We get a lot of visual information during in-person meetings. While in this respect video conference calls are better than voice conference calls, we still miss out on important data. When you have to break eye contact with the camera (and the meeting participants), it’s useful to explain what you’re doing. For instance, you may be taking notes or looking up a document that’s pertinent to the discussion.

Record The Call.

If possible, record important video conference calls. Inexpensive transcription services are available to provide a written record of the call within hours.

What To Do After The Video Conference Call

Follow-up is important after any meeting, video or in-person. Using the notes you took during the call, reach out to colleagues and partners with next steps. Virtual workspace software like MiCloud Connect Teamwork makes it easy to assign tasks, send follow-up emails and group messages, share documents and schedule future meetings, all from one web-based application.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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Why the New Private Cloud Solution by Mitel is Build on Google Cloud

The choice to go private cloud is typically made after a lot of research and consideration. The modern workforce is more mobile and unified communications hosted in the cloud provides teams with fast access to applications and shared documents. But before embracing any private cloud solution, IT teams need to be certain that the platform they implement will meet high standards for security, reliability and scalability.

Knowing this, Mitel has recently launched our private cloud solution, MiCloud Flex, on the Google Cloud platform. Partnering with Google brings a number of benefits that help complement the MiCloud Flex offering. As the leading cloud network, Google Cloud offers security, reliability, speed, innovation and geographic reach that complete our private cloud, unified communications and collaboration solution.

Wondering why Google Cloud works best? Here are top five reasons and why we’re sure they’ll benefit you:

1. Multi-Layered Infrastructure Security

Security is a top concern for any company going to the cloud. Those who choose private cloud are looking for additional security safeguards. Serving over one billion end users each day across seven cloud products, Google is committed to protecting information, identities, applications and devices. Built on Google Cloud, MiCloud Flex is protected by the same secure-by-design infrastructure, global network and built-in safeguards that will mitigate the most challenging security scenarios.

With the assurance of the Google brand, Google Cloud also meets the most rigorous privacy and compliance standards that test for data safety, privacy, and security. Even the data centers are built to satisfy the most stringent security standards, with full certifications to meet SOC 2 and HIPAA compliance. The solution is deployed in a dedicated and secure single instance environment through Google’s cloud access with private and secure network links, so you’ll always have the safety and control necessary for your most valuable data.

2. Reliable Infrastructure

Google’s cloud infrastructure is a future-proof technology monitored and modified by more than 700 top experts in information, application, and network security. This is the same technology that powers billions of search results in milliseconds and serves over six billion hours of YouTube video per month.

MiCloud Flex uses the Google Cloud brand of technology to work across secure, Tier 3+ high availability data centers with optional additional security measures including full encryption. Information and voice calls are delivered through the public Internet using voice over Internet protocols (VoIP), meaning users stay connected anywhere and everywhere – in the office, on the road, or working from home.

For this reason, you can be assured that communications will never go down because of a single network outage or hardware failure; MiCloud Flex features a high-availability deployment or available geo-redundancy for enhanced disaster recovery.

3. Speedy Provision

When you need information quickly, Google leads in speed and availability. Google Cloud has a 99.999% service level agreement (SLA), the highest standard for monthly uptime provided to users. Intensely monitored data centers and large dedicated data pipelines ensure low latency and almost zero downtime across Google Cloud products.

Additionally, Google Cloud is considered a top performer across most tests, benchmarks, and categories for performance and scalability that stress CPU, memory, disk, and networking resources in the cloud. MiCloud Flex’s fully managed, serverless offerings eliminate operational complexity, making Google Cloud easier to adopt and use.

4. Continuous Innovation

Leading the pack of big technology players across the globe, Google is at the forefront of research for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT), all while maintaining and improving its host of industry-leading products across the cloud.

MiCloud Flex Contact Center leverages Google AI capability that integrates multiple tools and resources seamlessly to generate deep insights into data and performance. With serverless data analytics and a machine learning platform guaranteed by Google Cloud, our contact center platform can turn your data into actionable insights with increased efficiency, simplicity and mobility, making for innovation within and without your organization.

5. Geographic Reach

Staying connected across the globe is no problem for the robust number of Google Cloud data centers developed, maintained, and expanded by Google annually. Mitel has carefully selected a subset of these centers focused on delivering MiCloud Flex based in specific country rollouts, including 20 regions, 61 zones, and 134 network edge locations, with more on the way in the future. With an extensive, resilient network of data centers, deployments and interconnectivity for international customers is not a problem for the leading cloud communication and collaboration solution.

Mitel + Google Cloud + 4Sight = MiCloud Flex

MiCloud Flex represents the best of two leaders and innovators in business technology. By collaboration between Mitel and Google, 4Sight can offer businesses a complete, reliable private cloud unified communication and collaboration solution. Your employees will work smarter and more efficiently no matter where they are, and your IT team will be confident that all communications are secure, reliable and adaptable to every business need.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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UC & C: The Secret Behind Every Great Customer Experience

Experience is everything. For your employees and your customers, their loyalty to you hinges on receiving positive treatment. To stay competitive in our increasingly saturated marketplace, and keep productivity and profitability high, experience is king. Making it easy to engage with your brand, and within your workplace, is an effective way to boost customer and employee experience. That’s where a unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) system comes in.

Better For Employees

Your staff are the heart of your businesses. And to them work-life balance isn’t just a buzzword; it’s driving their choices. People want to work more productively, without having to work for longer. In the US, one in ten workers is spending over 50 hours a week on work-related tasks. Across the Atlantic in the UK, the outlook is similar, with 60% of people saying they work longer hours than they’d like to.

And it goes beyond simply the number of hours worked, to the productivity within those hours. Every day, workers navigate multiple channels to keep track of messages: 13% of a typical working day is wasted as a result of inefficient and ineffective communications, leading to nearly £8,000 of wasted time per professional per year, according to the Mitel 2019 Workplace Productivity Report. If businesses deployed more intuitive, effective communication tools, 74% of employees believe it would improve their personal productivity, our report found.

This shift in employee priorities means the future is flexible. 83% of global workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. But to make it work, communication and collaboration is key. Businesses need to have in place reliable, unified systems to support effective knowledge and idea sharing to empower employees to work in the way they want.

Better For Customers

Customer expectations are higher than ever. It’s never been easier to get the products and services they want, at their convenience, and with greater choice. A bad experience and one in three customers will go elsewhere, even if you’re a brand they love. Without exceptional customer experience that keeps up with agile competitors, organisations can expect to be left behind.

It’s estimated that 86% of customers will pay more for an excellent experience and, in some cases, that adds up to almost 20% more. Excellent experiences require consistency and simplicity. Each communication – whether it’s a call, a click, a text or email – needs to be engaged with quickly, smartly and consistently, so a customer doesn’t have to reiterate information about themselves or wait while you compile their profile. Disparate processes and communication systems can stop this from happening.

By adopting a unified communication system, businesses have one, accurate view of the customer, creating a joined-up experience that’s efficient to manage and meaningful to customers.

Better For Business

More productivity from staff and greater spend from customers all lead to a more successful business. For employees, it means more time for innovation, cutting downtime in navigating numerous communication apps. Plus, with improved collaboration and experience, expertise is more easily shared, more quickly. It makes for a better environment to produce new and exciting ideas, while allowing them to work in the flexible style that they prefer.

For customers, you become easier to interact with. They’ll be more likely to offer repeat business, and they’ll tell their friends about you.

Whether it’s to attract new talent, retain existing staff, gain increased spend from customers, or a combination of all these, a seamless UC&C system delivers the experience consumers and staff expect. And the seamless nature of a unified tool lowers operating costs too, eliminating multiple licenses and reducing IT maintenance costs.

Discover A More Connected Future

At 4Sight, we understand that you’re focused on driving change and we know it’s your responsibility to improve both employee engagement and customer experience. With increased expectations and demand for a seamless workflow across platforms and devices, wherever users are located, you need the power to choose a technology solution that delivers confident collaboration, while integrating with your existing systems.

Creating a workplace that delivers the right experience for customers and employees, as well as achieving fast ROI, requires choice. At 4Sight, we can offer you choice by being more flexible than anyone else. We work within your existing network to let you choose how you move to the cloud, and how and where you’d like us to support your culture of flexible working, so you and your employees can work in the way you prefer.

We make communications simple for our customers. Using our agile approach, you can rely on us to meet your unique business requirements, eliminating technical complexity along the way. We can help you drive your business forward, delivering easy communication between teams for better idea sharing and productivity, and improving the customer experience across every touchpoint.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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