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Saving Money on Telecoms: Tips for Business Owners

Budgets are tight right now – that’s clear in the consumer market and within industry. Inflation is pushing everything from energy to crème eggs up in value, possibly into double-figures, in 2022 alone!

While we’re no ‘financial experts’ like Martin Lewis, and we can’t exactly advise the best things to do for your energy bills, with decades and decades of telecoms experience we certainly can give you some tips on how to reduce your telecoms spend!

So, keep on reading for the in-depth explanation on these 5 top tips:

  • Fully Embrace Fibre
  • Optimise Your Lines
  • Unify Your Communications
  • Minimise Mobile Data Costs
  • Seriously Consider Security
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Fully Embrace Fibre

Our first, and probably most forceful points is this – embrace our full fibre future!

For the last two decades, many small and medium-sized businesses have been able to make-do with low-cost broadband services, using copper connections. While these are incredibly cost-effective, they’re not as future-proof as they once were.

As cloud services have been gaining popularity, hybrid working has become more commonplace, and businesses pivot to OpEx services, the need for a robust, scalable connection has never been greater.

Benefits of Full Fibre

  • High speed connection (typically up to 1Gbps)
  • Future proof past the 2025 Switch Off
  • More reliable and faster fix-times
  • Low latency for VR and real-time data needs
  • Run HD video and voice lines over internet connection
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Fully Embrace Fibre

Our first, and probably most forceful points is this – embrace our full fibre future!

For the last two decades, many small and medium-sized businesses have been able to make-do with low-cost broadband services, using copper connections. While these are incredibly cost-effective, they’re not as future-proof as they once were.

As cloud services have been gaining popularity, hybrid working has become more commonplace, and businesses pivot to OpEx services, the need for a robust, scalable connection has never been greater.

Benefits of Full Fibre

  • High speed connection (typically up to 1Gbps)
  • Future proof past the 2025 Switch Off
  • More reliable and faster fix-times
  • Low latency for VR and real-time data needs
  • Run HD video and voice lines over internet connection

A full fibre connection will ensure that no matter how many cloud services you decide to use, or staff you hire, that everyone can enjoy a high-speed connection that keeps them productive. As your needs grow and your existing connection (say 500Mbps) reaches its capacity, increasing your bandwidth to say 1Gbps is only a couple of clicks – no messy installations or downtime needed!

Plus, the old copper networks (ASDL and PSTN) will soon be deactivated permanently. So, embracing fibre sooner rather than later means you can get a head start on your competitors, and you’re not going to get caught out as the deadline approaches, when all the ‘last-minuters’ flood the market and push lead times into months, rather than weeks!

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Optimise Your Lines

Depending on how up-to-date your calling technology is, you could save a considerable amount by simply consolidating the number of lines you rent from your provider.

Hot desking, for example, has been a great way to reduce costs (albeit before the pandemic), but some businesses forget to stop the line rental, so even when deskphones have left the desks, the numbers are still getting charged.

So, ask yourself, with so many businesses using their laptops or phones for meetings, do you really need a separate line for the boardroom? Or deskphones in offices?

Get a FREE TELECOMS REVIEW to see how much you could save…As Unified Communications experts, we’ll give you an honest opinion.
Call 020 7147 7000 today!

Unify Your Communications

Are you paying for separate systems to run your CRM, contact centre, web chat and instant messaging solutions?

If so, you could save a considerable chunk of cash each month by bring your disparate services into one Unified Communication system. Especially if staff are spending some of their time working from home, a UC solution will make sure staff stay productive, and you can maintain visibility over their efforts.

Benefits of Unified Communications

  • All comms in one system – saving time and money
  • Staff can take calls anywhere
  • In-depth reporting and analytics
  • Never miss a call
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores
  • Less upfront costs + easy to scale up or down
  • Increased security

Obviously, something as integral as your communications platform is a considerable upheaval, but the right solution (And ongoing support) will ensure your team can enjoy a system that helps them get more work done and improve the experience of your customers, leading to happier staff and customers that are more likely to promote your products!

Minimise Mobile Data Costs

If you’re still supplying your team’s mobile phones, you could save another considerable chunk of money by either deploying a BYOD policy, or looking at shared mobile data pools.

BYOD

Many of us now have unlimited data on our personal mobile phone plans, so we’re never without the data we need to sat-nav us to where we need to be, or occupy a long train journey. Consider too that most VoIP and UC solutions enable staff to take their office with them using an app. So, why do they need a separate device, paid for by you, for their work-life?

BYOD policies may strike fear from a security/compliance point of view, but with modern remote access and management systems, you can actually ensure staff keep their phones up to date (and as secure as possible), with the added benefit of being able to wipe business-critical data, even off their own phones, should the need arise!

You don’t have to pay their bill (or you could give a small amount as a small gesture) and as it’s their device, no need to pay for repairs, insurance or the cost of a new handset every couple of years!

Mobile Data Pools

How often do you get charged extra when staff go over their data allowances? OR, if your plans include unlimited data, do you think you’re getting value for money?

Mobile data pools create exactly that – a pool of data that all your business phones can pull from. Meaning if you have a few heavy users and some that hardly use data on their phones at all, you could save significant amounts of GBs per month, and thus bring your monthly spend down accordingly, without unpredictable overage charges or expensive unlimited data plans!

Seriously Consider Security

What is the cost to put right a ‘hack’, cyberattack or data breach? According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, it’s approximately £8,000!

“Among the 39% of businesses and 26% of charities that identify breaches or attacks, one in five (21% and 18% respectively) end up losing money, data or other assets… where businesses have faced breaches with material outcomes, the average (mean) cost of all the cyber security breaches these businesses have experienced in the past 12 months is estimated to be £8,460.”
NCSC

Those numbers above put the need for robust security into cold hard numbers, and even for small businesses in supply chains, the need for some form of cyber security is essential. But that doesn’t mean you need specialist services or 24/7 network monitoring.

“99% of Microsoft account hacks are blocked using multi-factor authentication,
yet 97% of M365 users don’t enable it!.”

Microsoft

So many small businesses can protect themselves better without even spending an extra penny – all you need is a Telecoms supplier that can guide you through any best-practices and training you need to make the most of the safety systems you already have!


All told, saving money on your telecoms spend isn’t hard, it’s just being savvy with an accurate overview of your needs, goals and challenges. As a leading provider of Unified Communications Solutions, Unicomm is here for businesses of all sizes. We’re not tied to a particular vendor, so you’ll get our honest opinion as we help you navigate the vast range of technologies to find the right solution for you.

From having the right telephony solution for your operation, installing the right internet connection and connecting your hosted cloud services, we will help you put all the pieces together on-time and in-budget, with as little disruption as possible.

Plus, every single customer of ours enjoys a comprehensive and bespoke support and maintenance contract that guarantees that your IT infrastructure works seamlessly for years to come.

So, if you want a telecoms partner that will not only help you improve efficiencies and elevate your business, but save money too, don’t hesitate to get in touch or call us in 0202 7147 7000!

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5 Things to Add to Your Business Telecoms Strategy Post-Covid

Your business’s communication solution sits at the foundation of your entire communications strategy – after all, it’s the great enabler for staff to connect and engage with your customers.

But, now that we’re ‘back to normal’, what can businesses do to enhance their communications strategies and ensure productivity is maximised and, that when the next ‘major challenge’ rears its head, staff are ready and services can continue as expected?

So, we wrote this blog to explain the 5 aspects of your communications that we think should be essential in any business looking to future-proof what is an essential aspect of their entire operation:

Unified Communications

If you’ve been looking to embrace hybrid working over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘VoIP’ and ‘Unified Communications’.

VoIP

Standing for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’, VoIP is an essential protocol to make voice calls over your internet connection.

Unified Communications

A broader system that doesn’t just enable voice calls, but puts all your different forms of communication – voice, video calling and conferencing, instant messaging etc. in one system.

While many businesses adopted some form of VoIP system to keep running through the pandemic, it’s not the best long-term solution.

Customer behaviour is changing, and consumers want quick answers to their questions, no matter how they ask them. While a VoIP solution has a lot of potential to enrich the experience of callers, it’s not going to help customers who reach out in other ways.

A UC solution, especially one with APIs to integrate with your other systems, for example your CRM system, can unleash massive potential within your business.

For example, imagine a contact centre where agents who deal with complaints could access recordings of previous calls, directly from their CRM. Not only would it reduce ‘Time to Resolution’ with a much quicker workflow, but it also means managers aren’t required to listen through calls, saving precious time for more nuanced issues or internal tasks… Which brings us onto our next top tip.

We’re experts in Unified Communications…
After all, it’s the foundation of our entire brand.
Call 020 7147 7000 to learn everything you need to know!

Call recording

Call recording has the potential to do more than simply resolve issues for customers. Given that homeworking could reduce the level of visibility managers have over staff performance and the specific interactions agents have, it also enables an added level of staff accountability while working from home.

Using either under- or over-performing examples of calls, managers can also train staff about what to do, or not to do, depending on the particular scenario.

For some industries, it’s essential and data protection guidelines mean that those audio files need to be protected just as much as any other customer information, and cybersecurity in general, is another aspect of your comms strategy that should certainly be enhanced, even if it’s simply the adoption of encryption…

Encryption

Obviously, as businesses rely more on their internet connection for access to cloud services and hybrid working, the transmission of your data from A to B become another becomes a key attack vector for hackers.

In a nutshell, encryption simply means translating your data into an unreadable code, which can then be deciphered when the information reaches its destination, using a ‘decryption key’ that matches the ‘encryption key’ that was used originally.

This is great for business-critical and confidential information travelling across the public internet, preventing hackers from intercepting your data and reading it, but it’s also a useful tool for data saved on physical devices like laptops.

Say for example an employee leaves a device on a bus or train, as long as the files are encrypted with a robust AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) then whoever tries to access the data will find their efforts wasted!

And thankfully, many cloud services – say for example Microsoft Teams, already use encryption to keep calls confidential – so, for some businesses they may not even have to invest in specific encryption software or services, because many of the programs they use will already be using the technology!

Which brings us to our next point…

Use what you’ve already got

Businesses can save time, money and frustrations by consolidating the number of suppliers they use, simplifying financing, as well as boosting productivity and user experiences by taking multiple software solutions, services and products together.

For example, multi-site operations may be paying for several telephony systems from different providers because of regional or technological limitations, or after an acquisition.

And CRM systems are another great example. With a growing number of API integrations so that the software can ‘talk with’ other systems, or abilities that aren’t well-promoted that could possibly remove the need for a second solution, as we explained with encryption above.

But for your team to use their software to its full potential and ensure staff find theirs too, investing in in-depth training for your team is a must – because how else are they going to know about all the time saving features and workarounds?

Back-up

Finally, this should be standard for any business, but as a reminder and to emphasise it’s necessity, backing-up your data should be habit.

Possible GDPR fines and all the frustrations that can be caused due to data loss, loss of credibility, data recovery costs, increased customer churn, disgruntled and stressed staff, etc, it’s just not worth keeping a regular back-up of your data!

Again, many cloud services have you covered – say for example if an employee’s device is damaged, they can log into a new one and re-download all their emails and documents from Outlook and Office 365. But what if an employee mistakenly wipes the whole SharePoint folder?

It’s just not worth the hassle and the stress of wondering how you’re going to make your data reappear, so having one off-site back-up of all your data should be essential for any business in the 2020s!


In fact, all 5 of these points should be par-fir-the-course for any business looking to capitalise on this period of digital transformation and reinvention, and get a head-start on their competitors! Thankfully, the right UC solution can provide the ability to embrace all of them in one system.

All you need is an experienced telecoms partner that knows the technology and every aspect of your business, and therefore is able to advise the right way to bring your disparate solutions together, use encryption to better secure your data, keep regular back-ups and provide a communication solution that saves your team’s time and help deliver a better experience for customers!

If that sounds like a step in the right direction for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch and discover why we’re the Unified Communication experts.

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Achieving Business Growth with Technology: A guide

Technology is the great enabler of our time. From broadband to portable computers, cloud services to mobiles, without the technology that connects businesses to their customers, growth is almost impossible!

But what are the current technologies and ‘on-trend strategies’ that will help you grow your business? Take a look at our top 5 suggestions for how technologies can help you take your business to the next level!

Hybrid working

While hybrid working has been one of the key focuses for the last couple of years, the pandemic has only accelerated a shift that was already happening!

Many larger corporations already had remote working strategies in place, at least for some staff, which meant a lot of the legwork had already been done when the need to work from home became critical.

While there are many technologies that can help optimise productivity from home – some of which are mentioned below – there isn’t one specific piece of tech that means your hybrid working strategy will work seamlessly.

Instead, the reason for this being number one on our list is because hybrid working will become the norm for many businesses that want to be ready for the next national challenge, flood, site move etc. that prompts staff to work from home.

Two thirds of businesses expect a permanent shift in working practices towards hybrid working!

TalkTalk

This means that any technology you look to embrace in your business must be WFH-friendly! Not only will it remove a lot of the potential headaches you’ll face should the need to work from home arises, but it also helps you develop a more agile business that can quickly react to immediate needs.

UC

Unified Communications is one of the internet-based telephony solutions that thousands of businesses used to keep staff connected through the pandemic. There are other forms of internet telephony, like VoIP, but we think UC is a far more efficient solution…

Difference between VoIP and UC

The first thing to understand here is that technically, VoIP is used within all UC solutions, but it offers far more benefits. VoIP is the underlying technology that ensures audio calls can run over the internet – and there are many VoIP services available from telephony providers, including us.

But VoIP is only one of multiple technologies that a UC platform uses to unify all your different forms of communications – get it? Unified Communications!

Calling, instant messaging, video calling and conferencing, webchats and more are all put in one place with UC, making it super simple for staff to use customers’ preferred methods of contact. Not only does this ensure the highest possible productivity from staff, but by enhancing the customer experience, you may also find that customer satisfaction numbers start to jump up too!

Cloud

Most UC solutions are cloud-based, and this brings us on to our next point. Another way businesses have been able to stay agile recently is by embracing the cloud.

Some services, like Office 365, Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud are all SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions that put your data in their own clouds to ensure your team always have secure access to files and information, no matter where they are.

But cloud services can do far more than simply save your data ‘everywhere’…

One of the most advanced business strategies that involves the cloud is called ‘Big Data’. It basically involves taking all the information your business creates – from sales to satisfaction scores, staff levels and many more values, to develop bespoke insights that you can then use to evolve the business.

Over one quarter of businesses are looking to invest in cloud computing and storage.

TalkTalk

These kinds of solutions were once reserved only for the largest of multinationals, but with the introduction of cloud services like AWS and Azure, and a massive reduction in cost, any business can now utilise the full potential of the cloud.

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Social Media

Social media is one of those aspects of your business, just like marketing, that is very easy to forget about when you’re successful – if new sales are coming in, why spend precious resource on posting?

But research shows that more and more people are using social media to research potential purchases, and recommendations from friends on their social feed go a long way to getting a foot in the door…

42% of people that have social media use it to research products.

Data Reportal

So, think of social media as less of a method of shouting into the ether about your products, and more of a strategic way to help customers talk about your products to their networks. Maybe it’s a referral offer they have to share, or getting them to leave positive product reviews on Google? But no matter what just get them talking!

Reporting

Finally, if you do implement a more blended working philosophy, enabling employees to work from home some of the time, you’ll need to make sure they’re staying productive.

The right UC solution should be at the heart of your organisation, using APIs to integrate with other aspects of the business – CRM, sales, marketing, finance, etc. – enabling you to check that call lengths are not getting to drawn out and customer interactions are going along as smoothly as possible.

Then you can leverage call recording to train low-performing staff, verify customer complaints and ensure staff are being treated as they should!


All told, adopting the right technology can unleash untold potential in your business, helping you enhance customer service and staff productivity, enable seamless colleague collaboration and development and help you create a more agile business.

And we can help you adopt these amazing technologies, or at least get you in touch with those who know it best in complex data science scenarios, to ensure your business has the best chances of growing in this even more interconnected, post-pandemic economy!

The only thing you need to do is call 020 7147 7000.

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Your Comprehensive Guide to Unified Communications

A Unified Communications (UC) solution is a superpowered, future-proof version of your run-of-the-mill business phone system. It takes business telephony, and makes it much, much better.

Put simply, it does that by combining a wealth of powerful communication tools in one simple, cost-effective package, making them work as one through your internet connection.

Most importantly, UC offers feature-rich IP telephony, often including nifty complementary services like voicemail to email, call routing and more. That’s all pretty standard with good UC.

And then it adds in all the other contact and collaboration tools modern businesses increasingly need. Video calling, conferencing, Instant Messaging (IM), group chart, email, presence and screen share are all common features of a powerful UC solution.

Because it’s hosted in the cloud, all these UC services are accessible from anywhere, and on a range of devices. Employees can use their desktop computers, laptops, smartphones or tablets to make calls, start a group chat or be part of a video conference.

For that reason, UC is ideal for the new world of remote and semi-remote (hybrid) work. It also future-proofs businesses for the upcoming PSTN and ISDN switch off, while equipping them with the communication and collaboration tools they need to for more efficient operation and better customer service.

Through this article, we’ll guide you through the benefits of UC for your business, including answers to the following questions:

Now, let’s get started with how, exactly, it works.

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What is Unified Communications?

At its most basic, UC is a form of all-IP communications, which means it routes your calls through your internet connection.

That’s a good thing, because with the PSTN and ISDN being turned off for good in 2025, everyone will have to move to this internet-based telephony sooner or later.

In essence, it works by turning voice messages into digital data, just like internet traffic. And just like internet traffic, that means calls can be made from any internet-enabled device, whether that’s a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Softphone apps simply turn your telephony into a software service.

This IP-telephony has a number of big advantages over traditional phone calls. For a start, you can make or take calls anywhere. You can also scale your service in seconds, adding or removing users in a couple of mouse clicks.

There are lots of other benefits, and we’ll come to them later in this article. But one potential issue with UC, especially when you’re making video calls and conferencing as well as traditional phone calls, is internet bandwidth.

When you move to IP-telephony and especially UC, you add considerably to your internet traffic. With that in mind, you need to make sure you have the bandwidth to match your ambitions.

That shouldn’t be a problem though, and any good UC provider will advise you on the connectivity you need to run both your UC solution and all other connected services without stoppages or slowdowns.

The Benefits of Unified Communications

You might describe UC as IP telephony with all the trimmings. It combines voice, video, conferencing, chat and more in one very handy package.

Why is that beneficial? Well, for a start, it stops you having to invest in and maintain a number of separate services. Putting everything in one service is both more cost effective and makes your supplier management much simpler.

UC brings significant benefits to your internal communications. With remote and hybrid work becoming standard practice, the ease with which dispersed teams can communicate and collaborate becomes a business-critical issue.

It has similarly impressive benefits for your external communications. And at the heart of any UC solution is business-grade VoIP telephony. That means your employees can make and take professional business calls wherever they happen to be – in the office, at home or on the road. The same telephone number goes with them, so clients and colleagues always know who’s calling, and which number to call and you’ll never miss an important business call again.

A good UC solution can even include contact centre services, like wallboards, IVRs and in-depth reporting capabilities. In other words, UC merges a host of communication features into one service, promoting cost-savings, employee efficiency and enhanced customer service.

Unified Communication offers a range of major benefits for business, whether employees are working remotely or not:

  • Productivity – Cloud collaboration helps teams work faster, and more efficiently. And with everything stored in the cloud, team members can get hold of the materials they need at any time, wherever they are.
  • Simplicity – Cloud collaboration creates one version of the truth. Instead of long email trails with a new attachment for every amendment, cloud collaboration simply presents your team with the latest version of a document, fully synced and up to date.
  • Participation – Because all employees have the same access to projects, everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute. Those less vocal members of the team can easily add suggestions or show what a change might look like without having to explain it.
  • Communication and collaboration – Cloud collaboration lets your dispersed team share files and documents, and edit them almost instantly, and then talk them through, using audio and video conferencing, group chat and IM.
  • Security – Because your documents and projects are stored in the cloud, rather than on someone’s computer, it’s more secure. In most cases, it will be saved more than once, in different locations, which supports your business’ continuity planning.
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Microsoft Teams: What’s Missing?

Don’t get us wrong, Microsoft Teams is a powerful tool for internal communications and collaboration.

For many SMEs during the pandemic, Teams gave businesses the video calling and messaging services they needed to stay connected. As we move into the post-lockdown world, Teams has quickly become a ubiquitous business tool.

But is Teams enough on its own? Many businesses think not. In this section, we’ll explain why combining Teams with Mitel MiCloud Connect, a simple cloud communications, collaboration and contact centre phone system, is ideal for SMEs adapting to the current climate.

Video calling, instant messaging and presence are available in every version, even the one you can download for free.

Paying for Teams gives you access to Office 365 web apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more), and cloud storage with OneDrive. And as far as security goes, even the free version of Teams will encrypt your data, turning it into code which is near impossible to hack.

While the free version of Teams offers nothing in terms of visibility and reporting, paid versions include some basic ways to measure and monitor the productivity of staff.

When you put it all together, Teams is a great product, but it’s not great at everything. Most significantly, many SMEs find it a poor and cost-prohibitive option for external calling. Teams was originally designed for internal collaboration, and it shows.

It’s possible to call traditional phone numbers with Teams, but not with the free version.

Even with the paid for versions, you have to add a call plan to make external calls, at considerable extra expense. Many SMEs enquire about adding external calls to Teams and are put off by soaring costs and lengthy contracts.

With lots of different Teams’ options, calculating what you’re paying for and how much your monthly bill will be, can be complex.

At the same time, security is basic rather than premium, and reporting and integrations are limited. This is a particular issue when you want to maintain productivity levels among remote staff, and ensure customers are always receiving the prompt and efficient service they demand.

None of this is to damn Microsoft Teams. It’s simply to say that Teams cannot on its own meet most small businesses’ communications challenges.

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MiCloud Connect: Filling the gaps in Teams

To compensate for Teams’ limitations, many SMEs use a traditional phone system for external calls. But ISDN-based telephony tends to offer only basic functionality. It also isolates external communications from the rest of your systems, which means you miss out on a range of efficiency and productivity benefits.

Instead, the perfect partner to Teams is MiCloud Connect from Mitel, one of the world’s leading telephony providers.

MiCloud Connect is a powerful and – at the same time – easy to use cloud telephony system which allows you to make and take professional business calls anywhere, on a handset or via smartphone, laptop or tablet. It comes with a range of call management features as standard, including:

  • Voicemail – accessed with a single click, with the option to have messages transcribed and sent to email
  • Call recording – record calls on demand for compliance purposes or staff training
  • Phone routing – route calls to your preferred device, whether desk phone, softphone, mobile or personal number

MiCloud Connect is also a sophisticated collaboration tool, offering:

  • Conferencing – audio and video conferencing with screen sharing, agenda tracker and single-click joining
  • Presence – route calls by presence, so colleagues always know when you’re available, when you’re away, and when you’re busy with other tasks
  • File sharing – speedy up and downloads helps version control and file management

And unlike Teams (and other cloud telephony solutions) MiCloud Connect can be your complete contact centre solution, too, with wallboards, IVRs and in-depth reporting capabilities as standard, along with:

  • Real-time changes – add or remove users, edit groups, manage your team and assess performance, all in real time
  • Easy to use – a seamless and simple experience across devices and features means that only minimal training is required
  • SIP Trunking – expansive trunking capabilities including Caller ID, DIDs, tandem trunking and trunk groups

MiCloud Connect is built on Google Cloud, providing industry-leading security and reliability. In addition, Mitel’s management portal allows you to restrict permissions and add multiple layers of authentication with a couple of clicks. It’s some way ahead of Microsoft Teams in terms of security and reliability.

It’s also better at connecting your services together. MiCloud Connect’s range of rich
contact centre, CTM and CRM integration options lets your systems speak to each other, making an excellent solution even better.

Perhaps most importantly for cash-strapped SMEs, MiCloud Connect provides the kind of financial predictability small business budgeting requires. It offers one standard price for everything you need.

Finally, there’s a high chance that the price you pay will be cheaper than the equivalent services sourced through Teams. So all told, there’s certainly more reasons to choose MiCloud Connect than there are Teams, because every Teams benefit is also a MiCloud Connect benefit too!


Why choose Unicomm?

As we’ve discussed, the perfect answer to the questions of future-proofing your communications is to combine Teams and MiCloud Connect. One complete telephony, communications and collaboration solution that enhances Teams functionality with MiCloud Connect’s excellent calling and contact centre features.

But getting to the point of deploying and using MiCloud Connect is another challenge that businesses recovering from the pandemic just don’t have time to overcome. But don’t worry, that’s where we come in!

Unicomm is your perfect telephony partner. We’ll expertly manage your MiCloud Connect service, handling the provisioning, maintaining and upgrading of all software and hardware so you don’t have to. At the same time, our pay-as-you-grow pricing model means you only ever pay for the capacity you actually use.

And if you want to integrate MiCloud Connect and Microsoft Teams, we’ll make sure the solution you end up with perfectly meets your needs and budget.

We’re the right partner because we live and breathe unified communications. Our management team has over 70 years of collective experience in the telecoms industry. Every solution we deploy is fully supported by a comprehensive and bespoke support and maintenance contract that guarantees long and productive service for your IT infrastructure.

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What Can Unified Communications Merge?

For many years small businesses relied on two key communications technologies: phone calls and email.

These were generally stand alone services provided by two different suppliers and serving two separate purposes. When new communications technologies like IM, group chat, conferencing and video started to emerge, many smaller businesses didn’t see the need.

To some extent, the pandemic changed all that. Video calling software was a growing market before Covid, but the pandemic gave it wings. Dispersed employees started to use IM and group chat to communicate more efficiently and informally with colleagues. Conferencing replaced face-to-face meetings. New tools were bolted on to traditional telephony solutions to facilitate these new ways of working.

With remote and hybrid work here to stay, and at least some client contacts likely to remain virtual for the foreseeable future, many businesses are replacing this ad hoc collection of tools and apps with dedicated unified communications (UC) solutions.

UC gathers a range of communications and collaboration tools in one package, and gets them to work together. In the rest of this article we’ll find out why that’s a huge step forward for business communications, and potentially as beneficial for small organisations as it is for large enterprises.

The benefits to internal communications

With remote and hybrid work becoming standard practice, the ease with which dispersed teams can communicate and collaborate becomes a business critical issue.

So most importantly, UC gathers your communication tools together in one place, putting audio and video calls, conferencing, chat, IM and email within easy reach of every employee.

That means colleagues can communicate with each other in the way that suits them best, and the way that’s most appropriate in any situation.

For example, more formal meetings can take place via video, whereas a quick question can be asked with a simple instant message. Group chat can happen alongside voice and video conferencing, so that each participant can share relevant documents, add more detail or ask questions without constant interruptions.

It all helps smooth the flow of internal communications, especially when your teams work remotely or semi-remotely. When colleagues can communicate easily, they’ll feel less isolated and more integrated into company culture, even when they’re working from their back bedrooms.

And another major benefit of UC is that good solutions also include tools that aid collaboration. For example, colleagues on a video call can share screens so they’re all seeing the same thing. A Presence feature shows which colleagues are available and which are busy. File sharing lets dispersed teams work on the same document at the same time, creating one version of the truth.

The benefits to external communications

As we’ve seen, UC is a benefit to internal communications, especially at a time when some colleagues might be working remotely. It brings a range of powerful features together in one handy package.

And at the heart of any UC solution is business-grade VoIP telephony. That means your employees can make and take professional business calls wherever they happen to be – in the office, at home or on the road. The same telephone number goes with them, so clients and colleagues always know who’s calling, and which number to call.

With some UC packages, powerful call management features are merged with the solution. For example, some come with single click voicemail, voicemail to email, on demand call recording and seamless call routing.

This latter benefit means that calls can easily be transferred to a preferred device. So if you’re away from your desk, you can divert calls from your computer or handset to your mobile phone. That’s the other great thing about hosted UC. It can be accessed from a dedicated handset, or from a softphone on computer, laptop, smartphone and tablet. You never need to miss an important business call again.

In addition, good UC solutions can even add contact centre functionality to your communications infrastructure, saving you considerable sums of money on standalone contact centre software.

That functionality can include integrated call centre services like wallboards, IVRs and in-depth reporting capabilities. You can create hunt groups, add and remove users and assess performance in real time. Expansive trunking capabilities including Caller ID, DIDs, tandem trunking and trunk groups.

The benefits to your bottom line

As we’ve seen, UC makes your internal and external communications smoother and more seamless, with obvious benefits in terms of productivity, efficiency and customer service.

It also has a direct influence on your bottom line. UC solutions often come as per-user-per-month subscriber services, which means you never pay for more capacity than you actually use. In addition, they scale up and down easily to meet the changing demands of your business.

And by merging a wide range of communications and collaboration services in one, UC reduces costs associated with sourcing, managing and maintaining each of those services separately. Putting everything in one package works for your finances and your IT and admin staff, who only have to deal with one invoice and one helpline, saving time and simplifying day-to-day operations.

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