Plan For Bad Weather With Microsoft Office 365

Planning for bad weather

The entire country seems to be grinding to a halt with all the bad weather we’ve been having recently. This has a massive impact on businesses as employees struggle to get to work, resulting in lost revenue and potentially dangerous commutes.

This needn’t be the case. Cloud solutions allow you to do more than ever remotely, whether that’s from your sofa or a hotel room. As long as you have internet access, you can retain not only your communications systems, as we discussed last time, but also access all the files you need and collaborate in real-time on documents with your team.

So say you’re snowed in, the roads are a mess and you can’t get to the office, but still need to have a document you have been collaborating on finished for the following day. In the past this would have spelt trouble. You and your colleagues would have had to duplicate files and then spend the day bouncing various versions of the document back and forth, trying to track changes as you went. Microsoft Office 365 changes this by giving you remote access to files on a whole range of devices and updating documents in real-time. This means that you can truly collaborate on documents in real time, without worrying about managing multiple versions!

Microsoft Office 365 includes all the office applications you’re used to, along with 25gb of cloud storage per user, a 50gb hosted mailbox and 24/7 support. You’ll receive updates to the all applications as they are released, so Office 365 truly is a future proof solution.

Want the chance to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset? All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance. So send us an email to: [email protected]

For more information about Office 365 or Unified Communications call our team:
0844 477 1622

Unified Communications For Disaster Recovery

Microsoft Lync & Disaster Recovery

If your business was flooded or the office burned down, do you have the systems in place to get your business back to ‘business as usual’ quickly?

Without a disaster recovery plan it could be weeks or months before your business is back up and running. In fact research shows that 40% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster. With this in mind, it makes sense to have a plan in place.

Unified communications should be at the heart of any disaster recovery plan. Here at Communications Solutions UK we’ve put this into practise. All our staff have laptops, headsets and use Microsoft Lync. So were we to find one day that we have no office to work from, we’ll still be able to provide you with the same high level of service that you would expect. Lync allows us to communicate and see who’s available as easily as if we’re sat in the same room. If you were to adopt Lync and the Microsoft Office 365suite, which we’ll cover next week, you’ll have a disaster proof system that will keep your business running through most crises.

Of course we all hope that our disaster recovery plans will never be put to the test, but with UC offering so many benefits, this should be yet another excellent reason to make the move to a unified communications solution.

Want the chance to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset? All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance. So send us an email to: [email protected]

For more information about Lync or Unified Communications call our team:
0844 477 1622 or email: [email protected]

Unified Communications – What can it do for you?

This week our resident Unified Communications expert, Chris Watling, explains the business benefits of Unified Communications.

 

Business benefits for the SME

In the past Unified Communications solutions were very expensive so were only viable for the large enterprise. As more Unified Communications offerings have come on the market they have become more affordable. In the last few years cloud computing has really taken off as a way of delivering complex services. This means that you can now get some of the best Unified Communications systems available as hosted solutions. This makes your life easier. You don’t have to invest in hardware, or have the hassle of supporting your chosen system.
SME’s in particular can get some fantastic business benefits from investing in a Unified Communications platform.

  1. Better staff collaboration resulting in increased productivity.
  2. The capability to expand the business quickly with minimal requirements for additional hardware and office space.
  3. The ability  to offer more flexible working options to staff, including home working. This leads to improved staff satisfaction and better staff retention.
  4. Improved collaboration with suppliers and customers though presence information, this leads to faster response times and more efficient workflow.
  5. Better response times. As staff can pick up messages on multiple devices, they will be perceived as being more responsive to external contacts; this will increase customer satisfaction and increase sales.

Have we raised more questions, than we have answered? If you would like to explore how UC can benefit your organisation, please do make contact. For more information and impartial advice call us on 0844 477 1622 or email [email protected]

Want the chance to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset? All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance.
So send us an email to: [email protected]

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications

What’s it all about?

This week our resident Unified Communications expert, Chris Watling, provides you with answers to the most basic questions around UC.

What Is UC?

One of the questions that I am forever being asked is what is Unified Communications? The phrase has been around so long and there are so many products that have been described as Unified Communications, that no one seems to remember what UC actually is.

Unified Communications as a Concept

Like all good things, UC is simple, but complex to explain. UC is designed to bring together all means of communication and enable you to choose the most appropriate one to your situation.

The idea is that all channels of real time communication (phone calls, presence information, conferencing and instant messages) are integrated with non-real-time communications (voicemail, email and Fax). Unified communications is not one product but a set of ‘products’ that provide a standard user experience across a range of devices and mediums.

True Unified Communications allows an individual to send messages in one medium and for them to be received in another. The most common example is receiving a voicemail and then being able to choose to access it via email or from your phone. Presence information allows the receiver to choose the most appropriate method of response. If the sender is online then real time channels (instant message, voice call) are best, or if the sender is offline a non-real-time message may be preferred which can be accessed from a number of different media.

Why Unified Communications?

Multiple communication methods and better information about contact availability are inherent to a Unified Communications solution. You will always know when a contact is available, so gone are the days of telephone tag. This saves time and allows users to be more productive.

Multiple communication methods mean that you can choose the channel that best suits your message. For example: you need an answer quickly but it is going to be a short and simple conversation, so you communicate by instant message. In the past this would have been a phone call, would have taken longer to complete and would have interrupted what the other person was doing (if they were there at all).

With Unified Communications online and offline communications are available on multiple devices (PC/tablet/smartphones) this means that users can work from anywhere. In some organisations the implementation of Unified Communications has allowed the business to change working practices and reduce the amount of office space required as more people hot-desk and work from home. This has also proven very popular with staff that appreciate cutting down on journey times and having more flexibility around how they spend their working day.

Unified Communications improves productivity. For example, lags in workflow due to inefficient communications are reduced. One organisation that implemented Lync found that first time fix rates were improved. Agents in their contact centre could see which specialists were available through presence, so routed calls successfully to the right person first time.

Unified Communications Solutions?

There are lots of products out there claiming to offer “Unified Communications”. How will I know what is right for our organisation?

At the time of writing there is no single ‘product’ that delivers the full Unified Communications experience off of the shelf. Most of the products out there offer a good solution. For instance Microsoft Lync or Cisco Jabber. However some very specialised applications, such as contact centres, may require third party software to complete the UC solution.

Have we raised more questions, than we have answered? If you would like to explore how UC can benefit your organisation, please do make contact. For more information and impartial advice call us on 0844 477 1622 or email [email protected]

Next week we will run through the benefits to SME, to find out just what UC can add to your business.Want the chance to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset. All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance. So send us an email to: [email protected]

Flexible Working: How does it work?

Flexible working

How does it work?

From April 2014 the flexible working law will change. As it stands carers have the right to request flexible working from their employer but in April everybody will have the right to apply for flexible working for any reason. This will mean big changes in the way people work and the way businesses are run.

Flexible working can work in several different ways:

Job Sharing: 2 people do 1 job, splitting the hours.
Home Working
Part Time
Compressed Hours: Full time hours across fewer days.
Flexitime: Employees choose when to start and finish work, within agreed limits.
Annualised Hours: Employees work a set number of hours over the year, but with flexibility over when they work them.
Staggered hours: Employees have different start and finish times to other workers.
Phased Retirement: Employees choose when to retire and can work part time hours.

To apply for flexible working an employee must make a written application to their employer. Following this a meeting must be held between the employer and employee to discuss the application. Within 14 days of this the employer must notify the employee of their decision. If the application is rejected, the employee may make an appeal is the believe that the decision was made with incomplete of inaccurate information.

Here at Communications Solutions UK we believe that with the right technologies in place employers and employees alike will benefit from flexible working. One of the technologies that will play the biggest role in flexible working is Unified Communications (UC). Next week our resident UC expert will be providing the answer to the most obvious and most illusive questions: What is UC and what will it do for me?

Worried about how flexible working will effect your business? Talk to us. 0844 477 1622 or email us at [email protected]

Want the chance to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset. All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance. So send us an email to: [email protected]

Your Guide To Flexible Working

Flexible working laws are changing

Is your business ready?

From April 2014 the laws on flexible working will change. Currently employees have the legal right to apply for flexible working if they are a carer, however from next spring everyone will have this right.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be providing you with all the information you need to make sure that your business is not only ready for an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce but can thrive because of it.

From job sharing to ‘flexitime’ the workplace is changing, so we want to give you the tools to keep your business ahead of the curve and prepared for the modern working environment. We’ll tell you how Unified Communications, cloud services and the latest hardware can help your business, through increased efficiency, reduced costs and greater integration of your communications systems.

We’ll also be giving you the opportunity to win a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset. All you have to do is tell us your story of how flexible working and Unified Communications are changing the way you work, or dream big and tell us how you’d like flexible working to change your work-life balance. So send us an email to: [email protected]

Christmas Opening Dates

From 20th December to 2nd January we’ll all be taking a break. So please make sure you get your orders in before 12pm on 20th, as any placed over Christmas won’t be dispatched until we return in January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Communications Solutions UK. We hope you enjoy your Christmas break!

Deploying new headsets with a twist

Sennheiser and Communications Solutions UK helped set up 60+ DW office headsets for Sovereign Housing yesterday. Steve Bailey, one of Sennheiser’s product specialists was around all day to present the DW Office wireless DECT headset. Together with Julie Watling from Communications Solutions UK, everyone was taught about the various buttons on the headsets; from volume adjustment, to the mute button, to the multi-function button. After having endless fun with the mute button and Steve’s amusing angry customer impressions, the staff learnt how to use the training and supervisor features.

IMG_6335

With numerous headsets to try on everyone agreed on the wearing comfort. Staff was advised not to accidently leave the building wearing it. It has been known to happen!

The DW Office had plenty of time showing off throughout the day; particularly the multi-function button, which showcased the headsets intelligence. Knowing when to change the action of the button according to the situation is quite impressive!

One of the many headphones that were given away!

One of the many headphones that were given away!We had great Sennheiser give aways to make the transition a fun event!

The day included great Sennheiser giveaways and lots of delicious chocolates. Staff was entered into a raffle to win the stylish Sennheiser HD700 headphones or tickets to the David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Several sport earphones were also up for grabs.

To learn more about the DW Office headset just copy and paste this link into a new window: http://tinyurl.com/pszec52