The Components of a Unified Communications Solution
1. A Strong Network
It starts with the network. Basically you can’t have a really good communication solution unless they have a really good network. If the network isn’t reliable, or it doesn’t have a high enough bandwidth or high enough performance, all the rest of your communications work is going to suffer.
2. Voice/Conferencing Solution
The second component is the voice solution itself. You need some sort of solution that allows you to make and receive calls inside your organization and outside your organization. You need a powerful voice solution that’s going to start building on top of the powerful network that you employed and let you make calls.
3. Collaboration Tools
If you want to get beyond just having calls with one person to another person (me calling some other person in my organization, or my calling somebody outside or somebody calling me), you'll want to get to into a broader conferencing and collaboration solution. This is where we leverage a lot of the work that’s being done in our InterCall division. InterCall is a worldwide leader in conferencing, be that audio conferencing, web conferencing or video conferencing. So conferencing and collaboration really comes into play when we bring our InterCall folks in.
4. Messaging and Presence
If you move beyond voice conversations and move beyond conferencing and collaboration, you may just want to have an ability to message someone back and forth and know if they’re available or not. That's where messaging and presence comes into play. There's really two leading providers of that: Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco Jabber. And we use both of those two applications as part of our overall unified communications product portfolio. Lync tends to be used more with our VoiceMaxx customers, and Jabber is used more with our VoiceMaxx CE customers (VoiceMaxx CE is the Cisco edition of VoiceMaxx).
West Unified Communications Services offers our own contact center applications. We have other applications that we can provide, like direct fax. We’re adding to this and adding another type of communication into the mix. But we also find a lot of times that customers have applications where they want to take this communications capability and wire it into those applications.
The one I talk to customers all the time about is their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application (i.e. Salesforce.com or a Microsoft Dynamics). You want to use those applications but be able to do things like when a call comes in, have that call pop up on your screen, or if you see a number on a browser, click that number and have that called placed out to your communications system.
Applications are really the fifth piece of the puzzle. So to get a full blown unified communications solution, you need to have a good network, have a good voice solution, look at conferencing and collaboration, look at messaging and presence, and finally, the applications that you want to use as part of that overall solution.