As the UK continues to adapt to national lockdowns and regional tiers, many businesses are looking for more strategic solutions to remote working challenges. The right technology infrastructure is a key piece of the puzzle.
The global pandemic has tested the agility of UK businesses like never before, and they have not been found wanting. When the first national lockdown was declared in March, businesses the length of the country reacted quickly in response to new remote working guidelines. In June, they were tested again, when the lifting of lockdown led to strict government legislation around social distancing in the workplace. Now, as we dip back into a second national lockdown, many businesses are switching on to the need for a less reactive, more strategic approach.
Agility is more than rapidly responding to change. It is also the ability to adapt to maintain stability. Many of the ‘make-do and mend’ responses implemented by businesses over the course of the year have served them well in the short term, but they are not sustainable. Why? According to global private equity provider Leonne International, 33% of UK businesses simply lack the technology infrastructure to manage long-term remote working.
What does this technology infrastructure look like and how will it enable businesses to adopt remote working policies long-term?
3 steps to prepare your communications estate for the future
1. Enable remote communications with cloud telephony solutions
Cloud-based solutions are the go-to for businesses seeking to deploy alternatives to traditional on-premises systems, and telephony technologies are no exception. Hosted or cloud telephony offers a fully managed service, with maintenance and software updates taking place automatically in remote secure data centres. Immediately, this facilitates efficiencies while eliminating the need for manual, on-site maintenance. The system can be managed remotely and reduces the risk of missed calls by enabling communications to be answered anywhere, at any time. These capabilities make it possible for management to define call handling processes and set clear expectations in terms of productivity, ensuring quality is preserved and standards maintained even when the workforce is operating from home or other remote locations.
Our cloud-based telephony services
Opus offers a choice of cloud telephony solutions from industry-leading manufacturers such as Mitel, Gamma and 8×8. Our solutions are provided via fully managed data centres to deliver future-proofed services with carrier-grade resilience and security. We are able to offer the choice of public or private cloud or Internet as a Service (IaaS) options, so whether a business wants an off-the-shelf public internet-based cloud telephony service or a custom-designed, privately managed and networked cloud solution, we can help. Crucially, employees have access to the same easy-to-use features and functionality wherever they are, meaning they are never more than a phone call away from their colleagues or customers.
2. Deploy collaboration solutions that bring teams together
Collaboration is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses new to remote working. How can colleagues successfully interact with one another when they are physically apart? This challenge can be solved in part by many businesses using existing telephony systems, work phones and free video conferencing software, but these are not long-term solutions. Nor are they dependable. The quality of communications can be poor, the risk of shadow IT high, especially across large teams with differing requirements. They are rarely provided with any service level agreement (SLA), meaning that should the service fail for any reason, there is often nobody to call for support. Businesses seeking to formalise remote working and better ride the fluctuations of the global pandemic are best served by a suite of dedicated and managed collaboration tools approved and rolled out for use by all.
Our collaboration solutions
Supporting organisations nationwide since 1992, Opus has gained a reputation for delivering robust and reliable telephone systems to suit the needs of any organisation. As a Platinum Partner with Mitel, Gamma and 8×8, and a Microsoft Silver Cloud Solutions Provider we offer the best solutions and services tailored to every business. Businesses can choose from a variety of industry-leading, collaboration solutions, including the following:
- Maintain an in-office communications experience, regardless of location or device, with the suite of tools from Mitel MiCollab Collaboration Solutions.
- Horizon Collaborate integrates seamlessly with the Horizon service, giving the user control of their account and making call handling more efficient, wherever they are.
- Opus works with a number of leading video conferencing specialists to deliver solutions that provide HD-quality video conferencing over everyday IP networks using standard equipment.
From the first consultation to ongoing technical support, we are always on hand to provide independent advice to help our customers make the right choices for their communications.
3. Build flexibility through contact centre solutions
One impact of the global pandemic has been a significant increase in customer service queries. Across industries, buyers are getting in touch with companies to enquire about revised service hours, to chase delayed orders or stock, and with general queries that they are no longer willing or able to make in person at physical locations. Managing these fluctuations without the proper systems in place is unsustainable and can very quickly lead to poor customer service, dissatisfied customers and reputational damage. As we enter a second national lockdown and with no sign of the pandemic easing, businesses looking to future-proof their external communications at scale should consider how customer service automation and contact centre AI can help them to achieve this.
Our contact-centre solutions
From small contact centres staffed by solo customer service agents to large, multi-site centres in need of multimedia/omnichannel capabilities, we can provide every customer with a fit-for-purpose contact centre solution tailored to their needs and environment. As an independent technology provider, we offer our customers a choice of platforms and applications to suit their requirements, seamlessly integrated into a single solution. As well as being Platinum Partners with Mitel, Gamma and 8×8, we are a Silver Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider and have established relationships with Redbox, Calabrio, Talkative, Noetica, Semafone and PCI Pal to deliver proven call recording, workforce management, chatbots, co-browsing and credit card payment compliance. We can also integrate with collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Teams.
Contact centre solutions have never been more sophisticated. Businesses looking to scale up their customer service capabilities in response to the pandemic and improve their availability around flexible working conditions can lean on contact centre software’s machine learning and AI advancements to be there for their customers when they are needed.
Take back control with a technology roadmap
Businesses seeking to future-proof their operations against the crisis and beyond need to ensure the technology infrastructure is in place. Today, that technology is at their fingertips. The trick is in choosing the right solutions and successfully implementing them across the business. Businesses that recognise the value in this approach are encouraged to reach out to us for a free virtual consultation with one of our experienced solution design specialists.
Over the course of the year, we have equipped a wide range of customers with the insights, expertise and tools they need to upgrade their communication estates and restore stability to their operations. It is impossible to say what the future will hold, but whichever route it takes, a technology roadmap that enables remote working in the long-term will at least ensure businesses can continue to operate safely, efficiently and to the same standards of service that they would if they were based from the office.