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How Unified Communications Address Business Continuity

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ShoreTel Unified Communications Business Continuity

Any failure of vital services, such as communications or software solutions, quickly results in lost revenue and often a hurt reputation. The inability to operate due to communications failure  leads to delays in servicing clients and responding to customer needs, ultimately leading to decreased customer satisfaction.

Prioritizing business continuity and communications is an increasingly important role for many CIO’s. . Yet Computer Weekly reported that a recent survey of 1,000 IT managers that an alarming 96% of organizations are not confident in their ability to communicate when faced with a disaster. Furthermore, 30% indicated that they had no continuity plans for communications.

Yet with a cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) system, an organization can greatly improve business continuity by relying on off-site solutions that have been rigorously tested to provide 99.999% availability.

Business continuity defined

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) defines business continuity as, “as the capability of the organization to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.”

In practice, the term describes creating plans to provide critical business functions despite disasters, emergency incidents and other external factors that would otherwise disrupt the ability of the business to function.

Common hurdles when pursuing business continuity

Providing continued communications services when they would otherwise be disrupted requires a comprehensive and thorough plan that involves examining every facet of the organization and identifying ways to provide critical functionality. It’s an ongoing process of analysis, design, implementation and validation.

Organizations often encounter multiple hurdles as they pursue perfect business continuity: 

  • Misunderstanding their organization. Failing to correctly understand the disaster continuity needs of an organization may result in constructing a business continuity program that falls flat. Solve this problem by working directly with all levels of management when creating the program and addressing their unique needs.
  • Failing to incorporate business continuity into company culture. The culture of a company dictates where employees place their value and attention. Creating tools for business continuity that integrate into an organization’s company culture stand the best chance of being truly effective. Encouraging all employees to communicate using a cloud based personal UC solution cultivates the habit of using a tool that was designed with business continuity in mind.
  • Following a template instead of a guide. There are dozens of effective business continuity methodologies and programs. Many businesses invest in these programs in an effort to save time. Some programs are well worth the investment, while others result in building a plan that fails when it’s most needed. The solution? Seek out a guide to help you craft a plan. Find a consultant or a program that prioritizes analysis instead of checkboxes.

UC as an emergency response tool

Cloud-based telephony solutions, the prevalence of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and advances in cloud-computing hardware have all coalesced in personal UC becoming a perfect emergency response system.

Personal UC provides a consistent experience to all users on all platforms and operating systems. This provides enhanced communications and collaboration during normal operations. When emergency situations occur and many legacy on-premise solutions fail, personal UC remains. Services are hosted off-site, meaning they won’t be impacted by the same disaster.

When in recovery mode, employees can use any device to communicate with each other and management. Even if cellular towers are wiped out in the entire area, any devices with an Internet connection will be capable of communicating with the entire organization. Cloud based telephony solutions have helped business owners remain in operation when faced with snow storms, fires and technical malfunctions.