How Unified Communications is Shaping the Business World

Unified CommunicationsCo-nexus Marketing
How Unified Communications is Shaping the Business World

Long gone are the days where you have to pick up the phone to communicate with a coworker. Now there are a variety of mediums to collaborate and connect within a business environment. If your customer has a question, you can easily use features like presence and instant messaging to get the answers they need. Unified Communications (UC) describes the integration of multiple platforms for an enterprise organization. Here are some of the ways UC helps businesses function more effectively:

  • Presence allows you to view the status of each of your coworkers. You can see if they are on the phone or in the office by managing multiple statuses. You can also view if they are away from their desk or out of the office.
  • Instant messaging allows you to quickly communicate from any device. You can also add people to form a group message in the event that you need to communicate to multiple users simultaneously. It helps reduce the number of emails you send and receive when you need something quickly.
  • Integrated voicemail gives you the ability to check your voicemail on your email instead of having to listen to multiple messages to get to the one you want. If you need to forward the message to another user, it’s as simple as sending an email.
  • Video conferencing is made easier by being able to call through your computer, tablet or cell. You can also share screens for better collaboration without having to set up a conference bridge.

With UC you do not have to sit next to someone to get work done. Overhead is reduced by allowing employees to work from home. If your business expands rapidly, you can easily add user licenses without having to build out more office space. More and more employees are looking to use their personal devices and UC can easily be installed on any computer, tablet, or mobile phone while integrating with your phone system for voice calls. Want to learn more? Check out this short video about Unified Communications from Co-nexus.


6 Steps in Choosing Your Next Phone System

Business Phone SystemsCo-nexus Marketing
6 Steps in Choosing Your Next Phone System

Buying a new phone system can be such an overwhelming task. There are many vendors, types of systems, and decisions to make. Your communication system is the lifeline of your business so you want to make sure it works, it fits your budget and meets your needs. Here are six steps to determining the right phone system for your business:

  • Complete a Needs Assessment 

    Start by deciding why you need a new phone system. Does the current one in place have problems? Do your employees need more functionality? What about your remote or mobile users? Understanding why you need something new makes a big difference in which vendors and functionality you will later choose. A good way to begin is to talk to your end users. They can give you honest feedback about what doesn’t work with your current system and what they would want in a new system. Finally, you will also want to determine the size of your new system and how you would like to purchase the system. It’s common these days to look at both leasing or buying. Determining a budget upfront allows your business to better negotiate as you talk to vendors.

  • Consider Voice Infrastructure 

    The next step is to determine what type of voice services you would want to deploy your system on. Traditional land lines use analog and digital devices to transmit phone calls. There are plenty of advantages to use, like still being able to use traditional phone line services like being able to connect during a power outage and if you have this solution in place – you may not want to make a major change. VoIP on the other hand uses a data connection to transmit voice packets. It’s extremely flexible and allow you to manage through an online portal for all locations. VoIP systems also provide the ability to install without a lot of fuss. They can be preconfigured and then hooked up with a quick plug and play option. Finally, there is an option for both types of systems called Hybrid. Hybrid systems allow your users to connect to traditional lines and to VoIP for long distance.
  • Choose a Deployment Model 

    There are three types of phone systems including Premise-Based, Cloud and Hybrid. You can read more about three advantages of premise-based systems in this previous post but they give you the most control over your system. Cloud systems are not all created equal. If you choose to go cloud you’ll want to read more about private versus public. They require little capital expenditure and use a monthly services fee. You will lose control that on-premise solution allows, but they require little hardware. Finally, a hybrid phone system will allow you to utilize an on-premise system over a cloud network.
  • Examine Features and Functionality 

    Telephone systems can do a lot more these days than just make a simple call. You’ll want to look at whether or not your company is interested in collaboration applications like presence or instant messaging. Are you interested in automated services like an automated attendant, automated directory services or automatic call distribution? What about video or audio conferencing? Features and functionality help you choose what the best method of delivery is for your organization. Don’t forget to talk to you end-users since they will help you assess your needs around what functions they might utilize the most.
  • Select a Vendor and Device 

    Now that you know what type of voice infrastructure, deployment model and what features you are interested in it’s time to decide on a vendor. Consider first who will be installing the system. Do you want to outsource or will your internal staff do most of the work? Since phone systems are a hefty investment, you’ll also want to look at the total cost of ownership from installation to monthly fees and maintenance. Finally, consider aesthetics and ergonomics. You’ll want your system to visually match your environment. There are full color screen phones or more basic phones. Think about how easy the system is to use for your end-users for a better adoption rate.
  • Time for Implementation

    Rolling out a new system can be smooth or a headache. Anytime a change is made in your environment you’ll want to give your employees advanced notice a change is coming. No one likes their cheese to be moved without warning. You’ll then want to take an inventory to ensure you have proper cabling and drops in place. It’s also important to set up a test environment to make sure you work out any loose ends before involving your end-users. Next, you’ll want to train your users so they can ask questions and get familiarized. By completing the above actions, your system installation will have a better chance of being streamlined and working properly.

Now that we’ve shared the basics, you can formulate a strategy for your environment and team. You can opt for a free technology assessment here. If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to provide additional information. You can reach out to us directly or if you’d like to download a more in-depth guide click here.

Five Things to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Phone System

Network Solutions, Business Phone SystemsCo-nexus Marketing

Buying a phone system is a major investment for any business. It involves changing the business communicates. Communication is key to retaining customers, maintaining vendor relationships and employees collaborating. Your calls are the lifeline of your business. As you evaluate a purchase of this size and scale, it’s important to consider how you plan to make the purchase, what functionality will work best for you and which vendor will you help provide the hardware, software and installation. Here are five questions to ask yourself before making a purchase:

  1. Does my business operate on a CapEx or OpEx budget? If your company is looking to make a capital expenditure, then bring it up at the beginning of evaluating vendors so they can recommend the right pricing. This can also help during negotiation and upfront costs. On the other hand, if you are looking to pay monthly and over a period of time, it may make sense to evaluate hosted or leasing options. Knowing how you would like to pay will help your vendors help you better.
  2. What do I need my phone system to accomplish? For some, being mobile and having the ability to switch effortlessly between a desk, cell phone and tablet will enable them to never miss an interaction. For others, having collaboration tools for their internal team is necessary to increase efficiency and produce more work in less time. Start with the end in mind by making a wish list of things you would like to see within your business.
  3. Who will support and troubleshoot when a problem occurs? Does your business have internal staff to support when a change needs to be implemented or do you have limited technical resources? Who will be responsible for acting as a liaison with your vendor? This is a critical factor in choosing the right vendor with the right support. If an administrative staff member is the person who handles anytime a voicemail or extension number needs changing, then your business may need a vendor with high availability when it comes to answering questions.
  4. How will we be able to implement with the least impact to daily operations? Implementations are time consuming and impactful. Will you need to hire an additional resource? How will you check
  5. How do I give my employees a competitive advantage? The world is changing and people expect immediate response. Do my people have the tools to be competitive in a quick paced world. Never miss a call and you’ll never miss a client.

Are you looking to make a purchase due to a move or renovation? We have a checklist that will help aid you in being prepared for carriers, communications and setting up the infrastructure. You can read more about it by clicking the button below.

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Three Reasons to Consider Buying an On-Premise Phone System

Business Phone Systems, Unified CommunicationsCo-nexus Marketing

With all of the talk about cloud and hosted phone systems these days, there are fewer conversations about on premise solutions. However, there are still some cases where moving to a hosted environment is not in a business’ best interest. We’ve compile a brief list of a few benefits on premise communication systems offer. Remember, every business operates a little differently and it’s best to sit down and evaluate your needs to ensure you are making the right decision.

  1. Local Survivability – If the internet fails, you can still operate locally with an on premise phone system because it is not reliant upon the data network for your voice communications. This allows mission critical calls to still be placed.
  2. Security Concerns via Banking or HIPAA Regulations – Many organizations who have regulatory compliance concerns look to on premise solutions with a dedicated connection to prevent hackers from accessing their voice and network.
  3. Phased Migration and Tying in an Old System – If you are looking to change from an old system to a new system with a phased approach, then you would likely need to stay on premise. That way you can utilize your existing analog circuits or other equipment that needs to connect to a physical box.

Want to learn more about phone systems and benefits for your business? Check out a few of our other blog posts here and here for information on cloud phone systems. You can also reach out to us using the button below for more information.

What is Digital Transformation?

Unified CommunicationsCo-nexus Marketing

Digital Transformation is a buzz word right now. As technology continues to advance, it’s being used more and more every day. Think about it, ten years ago fax machines were in almost any operating business. Fast forward to today many companies have shifted to e-fax or eliminated faxing all together by replacing faxes with scanned documents attached to email. As technology shifts, so does strategy. So what exactly is digital transformation? In simple terms, it’s the displacement of hard copy materials and physical labor to automated electronic processes and documents. Here are four ways digital transformation affections our lives:

  • Decision Making – Technology has allowed business to gather more data to help a company make better business decisions.
  • Automation – Manual labor is being replaced with automated processes. Take for instance how virtual assistants route calls instead of using a physical person.
  • Connectivity – Communication shifted to text, chat, web inquiries, email and voice messages instead of traditional phone calls.
  • Innovation – Products and services are being rendered to make humans access information quickly and more efficiently.

Want to learn more about digital transformation and how it affects communications or contact centers? Reach out to us and we'll put you in touch with an expert! Or download our whitepaper on The Journey to Digital Transformation.

How Co-nexus Helps Municipalities

Business Phone Systems, Call Recording, Contact Center Solutions, Network Solutions, Unified CommunicationsCo-nexus Marketing

Local governments and municipalities share unique purchasing requirements. Oftentimes, there are many decision makers and departments involved in making choices for the communication system. They also have limited budget and funding available. It's important to be able to work with a company with great experience and the ability to manage the project over an extended timeline. Co-nexus helps our government customers in a couple ways:

  • Experience - In the Dallas area, we have installed and maintain the following:  City of Rowlett, City of University Park, Town of Flower Mound, City of Terrell Police Department.  We have over 20 years of experience working with municipalities so we canshare how other cities are providing communications within their city.
  • Mitel is registered with the State of Texas with DIR and NJPA numbers - this provides a significant discount and also allows municipalities and school districts the ability to not have to bid projects because they have relationships already established with the State of Texas and NJPA.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps IT

Business Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Network SolutionsCo-nexus Marketing

The IT Director wears so many different hats these days. From being inventory control to managing multiple platforms and vendors. Multiple site locations with multiple phone systems can increase the amount of headaches an IT department handles. The more problems, the less time is spent on strategic moves within your business that can increase profitability. Co-nexus helps improve the bottom line in three ways:

  1. Single software based platform – One platform with easy to use features on any device.
  2. Get out of the hardware business – Because Mitel is a software based platform, the IT department doesn’t have to handle break fixes like traditional legacy phone systems. Updates are pushed remotely to the devices.
  3. Design and Support – Co-nexus has been in the phone business for over 25 years. We design all systems before shipping to ensure they work properly. Let us do the work so you don’t have the headache!

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!