When evaluating an enterprise collaboration solution, it is important to build a flexible platform that considers the collaboration needs of all business constituents, including mobile workers, executives, call center agents, and business partners. It should also be designed to specifically serve the post-pc workplace, fit in easily with the existing IT landscape, and accommodate the most stringent enterprise demands as they arise.
Five things to consider when comparing vendors’ collaboration offerings:
- Commitment to BYOD platforms. Any enterprise collaboration solution should support all the major device platforms equally well, with a native device experience and full vendor-backed support. And the obvious implication is that the solution vendor must have strong mutually supportive relationships with all the OS and device vendors.
- Business-critical voice and video. Unified communications has enabled millions of businesses to carry converged traffic for data, voice, and video over their corporate IP networks. However, there is an important distinction between simply delivering that traffic in a local, low-intensity environment (such as an office) and providing an enterprise-wide backbone capable of serving tens of thousands of users at carrier-grade levels of reliability and performance—in other words, capable of serving the company’s most critical business needs.
- Business-critical support services. When considering an investment on which the business’ operation depends, and which may be used by thousands of employees daily, a vendor’s ability to provide world-class planning, execution, and support becomes as much of a consideration as the solution itself.
- Comprehensive Solution for Video. It is important to assess whether your collaboration solution can provide video for the whole enterprise. The benefits of video extend far beyond the desktop. Immersive video rooms are taking the place of business travel, customer care is being transformed with virtual “in-person” experiences, in-store surveillance cameras can detect long-wait lines, and the factory shop floor can access video capture and streaming capabilities to monitor line status or security problems.
- True cost to deploy. As with any strategic investment, it is important to assess the true cost of deploying a collaboration solution at the beginning, and to compare alternative solutions on an equitable “apples-vs.-apples” basis. This true cost may not be immediately apparent with some solutions that embed collaboration functions into complex licensing and bundling arrangements, or where the dependency on extra components that are required to deploy a complete working system is not obvious. In this sense, apparently “free” client licenses are simply the part of the total cost that is visible.
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