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Guest View: Accelerating the speed of business

Paul Chen | June 26, 2013
Key criteria when evaluating mobile collaboration solutions.

Mobile technology and cloud computing coupled with the rapid proliferation of popular consumer devices like smartphones, iPads and other tablets, are helping to fuel demand for technologies that are more responsive and offer anytime, anywhere and any device access to businesses in a reliable, scalable and secure manner.

Mobile video offers incredible opportunities to speed up business communications, new sales and service models, and improve remote and mobile worker engagement. And its deployment can be accelerated by the fact that employees and other stakeholders most likely already have video-capable mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, laptops).

The business and personal impacts of mobile collaboration carry far-reaching implications. But what is the best way to choose a solution for your business? Of course, you would want a solution that supports the latest capabilities, including the ability to integrate your office communication systems with smartphones and other devices. It is important not to get swept away by the latest technical advances and end up ignoring critical factors such as reliability, scalability and TCO. Key criteria you'll want to consider when evaluating mobile collaboration solutions are:

1. Capacity/Scalability: An important first step is to "right-size" the solution to fit your needs. That means the solution shouldn't force you to overbuy now, but instead allow you to easily expand as circumstances require. Instead of being forced into a forklift upgrade-swapping out hardware, adding software and re-negotiating your maintenance agreements- look for a solution that protects your original investments.

2. Total Cost of Ownership: When investing in a new communications solution, the tendency is to focus on the initial acquisition cost. However, it's more important to look at TCO, which takes into consideration the costs of acquisition, installation, aftermarket products, upgrades, operation, and maintenance - usually over a five-year period. When evaluating TCO, be sure to consider energy consumption. The most energy-efficient solution will allow you to not only reduce operating costs, but minimise your environmental impact, thereby ensuring regulatory compliance.

3. Simplified Management and Administration: IT managers are devoting more attention than ever to new ways of simplifying systems management and administration. While most communications and collaboration solutions come with their own management applications, not all offer advanced capabilities, such as predefined templates to simplify desktop management and speed deployment. To further ease administration, consider browser-based tools for managing parameters such as user profiles, dial plans, network routing policies and security. Streamlining administration could result in time savings of up to 75 percent over more cumbersome approaches.

4. User Experience, Features and Applications: Having the right applications is critical to communications and collaboration. Mid-sized enterprises need a single, integrated solution with a complete set of voice, data and video capabilities. Greater integration of these features will result in greater impact on the bottom line. Selecting a solution that has integrated conferencing capabilities, for example, will save money on costly third-party conferencing services (which can range into the thousands of dollars monthly).


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