Unify Blog

May 17th saw around 100 of our UKI Partners gathered together at Edgbaston Cricket Ground for our annual Partner Discovery Day, hosted by Barry Tuffs.

Joined by both long term partners and some of our rising stars, Barry and his team delivered an event with rich messaging, launches, the UKI annual partner awards, a technology partner village and an appearance by Matthew Hoggard MBE.

Unify’s CMO Paul Cunningham commenced proceedings, before the UKI Sales Leadership Team took to the stage to demonstrate how things are changing – underpinning the strength of the  Unify ‘Channel First’ strategy.

Our own Zara Pasalar, owner of the Triple Play tool that has recently been in the UK trade press, shared exciting launches of tools available to Partners and was joined on stage by Jonathan Green, and the ‘launches’ continued into the afternoon with Owain Dobson featuring what is coming to Partners to drive difference and to drive different conversations.

Gregg Lindsay and Rob Keenan shared progress, updates and roadmaps around service and product, whilst Barry Tuffs shared how doing things differently is delivering results!

Matthew Hoggard MBE ‘owned’ the stage, bringing the event to a fantastic close, and staying to meet with our Partners

The day was littered with our Annual Partner Awards being presented by Unify Platinum Sponsors throughout the day. See the award winners here:Awards 2017

Lastly, a huge thanks to the event Sponsor/Technology Partners who provided much food for thought to our guests on how they might increase opportunities through new partnerships.

 

Event Sponsors: ASC, Oak Innovation, Jabra, Nimans, Plantronics,  ScanSource, SJS Solutions, Gamma,

Konftel, NVT Phybridge, Tiger Communications,

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Posted in Channel Updates, Events

The ransomware cyber-attack “Wannacry”  (named  also “Wannadecrytor” or “WCRY” ) continues its propagation and has impacted several thousands of systems across the world.  Your Unify and Atos teams have been fully mobilized for the last 72 hours and will continue until the end of this crisis.

If you have a Managed Service contract, you will be contacted by your service team regarding any specific actions we are taking to safeguard your environment; however we also strongly recommend that all customers apply great diligence in assessing and patching their Windows landscape.

Read more ›

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Posted in Channel Updates, Executive Blogs, Products, Unified Communications

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I was reading an article recently around remote working, and discovered that there is a ‘National Work from Home Day’ here in the UK – on Friday 19th May 2017. Now there are, to be fair, a few ‘national days’ of questionable origin which require an interest in pretty obscure activities,  but this one I can get onboard with.

According to the article I mentioned, an analysis of official figures by the TUC to mark National Work From Home Day talks about the sharp rise in people working from home – particularly in the decade from 2005 – 2015. So I did some digging!

The Office National Statistics website is full of facts… interesting facts – about work in the UK.  For example –  between September and November 2016 1,915,000 people were ‘officially’ classed as home workers in the UK (source).  This classification of homeworker differs a little from industry definitions of home working.

92.9% of UK citizens are still travelling to work regularly.  Consider for a moment just how much congestion that is causing on the roads and how overloaded our Public Transport system is. That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Emissions, air quality, cost of running a vehicle, wear and tear on the roads, all taking their toll (pun intended !)…

Looking at my new favourite website (geek!) The Office of National Statistics publishes research around how we travel to work.  In 2015 a huge 69% of the total workforce commutes were by car, van, works van or minibus.. then another 1% for scooters.  That is a LOT of fuel, tax, servicing and environmental impact.

And the human element – well – let’s take a look at that!

How many people would work more effectively with an extra’s hour of sleep each day – just imagine just an extra half hour of not  commuting each day – and how you could shuffle activities around to reach the utopia of that, all too elusive, 8 hours sleep a night! Stress levels could fall, although sales of treatments to combat bags under eyes may suffer…

The TUC website (another new found source of fascinating information!) says that in 2014, people that normally work from home hit the 4,000,000 mark. This article goes on to talk about the benefits of home working to disabled, with this number being 650,000 at that time. Interestingly though, it anticipates the tailing off of home working as it has barely kept up with the rise in employment.

My plan for 19th May this year is to support ‘National Work from Home Day’ in true remote worker style.. In my home office, seamlessly delivering productivity to all internal and external customers exactly as I would if I had been in the office – but wearing slippers and having had that extra hour’s sleep.

Where will you be working?

 

*work from home classification:
(In your main job) do you work mainly…
1 in your own home,
2 in the same grounds or buildings as your home,
3 in different places using home as a base,
4 or somewhere quite separate from home?
 

 

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Posted in Mobile Working

Wetrophies are very excited to announce our first Unify GLOBAL Partner Awards, with our winners being announced in July at the Partner Conference in Monte Carlo.

Being a part of the wider Unify Partner Team, we would love for YOU to have your say as to who will be the worthy winners!

There will be 5 awards, 3 of which are open for nominations. Those that are open for nominations are:

– Distributor of the Year – as nominated by our Partners and by the Unify Channel Account Teams.

– Above & Beyond – up for nomination by you also!  Get those unsung heroes within our Partner Community (not internally at Unify) recognized for their dedication, passion, expertise.  Who is that star within your organization that always gives their all?

– Innovation award – as nominated by YOU and Unify teams, for being creative, selling a unique proposition or product set. Thinking outside of the box to deliver to the customer.

The other categories are:

– Rising Star – recognized by the Unify Teams.

– And finally, Partner of the Year that will be selected by Unify Management team and primarily based on year on year revenue growth and overall contribution.

Each award has criteria, that when submitting, the nomination is expected to meet and provide some fact base rationale.

How do I nominate someone?

To register your nominations all you have to do is click here and complete the short form!

Winners will be announced in Mid July, the close date for nominations being 23 June – when the nominations portal will close. No further nominations will be considered after this date. All nominations will be considered before a judging panel.  Judges decision is final.

Thanks so much for your participation, and Good Luck to all those being nominated!

 

Want to know more about the Unify Partner Program? Discover more here

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Posted in Channel Updates
Aaron is a marketing professional who works for  Unify mid-market partners  and communications specialists and DuoCall. He has previously worked with a number of businesses in order to increase their online prescience and outreach. “
Aaron Watts - Digital Marketing & PR Executive

 

There’s a common belief that call centre software is solely for call centres; that belief is wrong. There are many businesses who wouldn’t class themselves as call centres that would benefit hugely from implementing this kind of software.

Call Centre Software, or Customer Relationship Management Software, provides a variety of features that can help a business grow. Features such as queue management, tool integration and real time/historical reporting are just some of the tools that can give a business the platform to improve and progress.

Take a look at our three main benefits of implementing Call Centre Software:

Employee Efficiency and Productivity

Even if you’re not a call centre, managing your inbound calls as if you were can help to increase efficiency. Most businesses need to be able to provide support to their customers, which is where call centre software can really help. Staff are easily able to track and escalate any queries or faults meaning time isn’t spent unnecessarily liaising with other departments.

Better Customer Service

When your customers call you they more often than not need some help or have a question. With Call Centre Software you can ensure that your customer is quickly and efficiently directed to the correct department or person.

As well as routing calls, the software offers a platform for real-time information exchange between staff. This cuts out any potential waiting time for the customer if calls need to be transferred.

This paired with a business-quality phone system allows for seamless interaction between you and your customers. If you’re unsure about what phone system features would best suit your business, then check out DuoCall’s Unify Triple Play Platform.

Reporting – finding opportunities for improvement

Call Centre Software allows you to gather in-depth call reports and data. By doing this you’re able to not only monitor staff performance but also identify areas in which your customer service team can improve.

For example, if staff are taking excess time to answer calls, you know that this is something that needs to be improved. Similarly, if it’s taking too much time for inbound calls to be dealt with by support staff you may need to either upskill them or put new procedures in place when it comes to dealing with inbound calls.

It’s important to remember that Call Centre Software isn’t solely for businesses that operate a traditional ‘call centre’. The number of different features available can play a huge role in the development of staff, improvement in customer experience and overall growth of a business.

 

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Posted in Channel Updates

By Paul Bender, Global Public Sector Marketing

Enhancing interagency collaboration

Within both an agency or base, the ability to share lines from a dispatch console with support or supervisory personnel can literally mean the difference between life and death. The latest dispatch consoles using standards-based SIP technology can share lines with ordinary desk phones and easily bridge personnel on mobile devices.

With all this technology available to posts, camps and stations, the question is how to take dispatch and command and control forward – without exploding budgets or impacting operational continuity and effectiveness.

Addressing federal priorities

Delivering on DoD emergency response modernization initiatives is a multi-dimensional task and requires solutions and initiatives able to address the following priorities:

  • Simplify the dispatch interface – enabling operators to work efficiently
  • Empower operators with additional capabilities – increase the effectiveness of dispatch personnel
  • Bridge multiple communications types – without a complete post infrastructure replacement
  • Enable preconfigured alerts and notifications – to enable the fastest response to defined scenarios
  • Enhance off-post partner collaboration – create an environment of seamless information sharing, joint planning and response
  • Extend call monitoring and reporting – assuring reporting and compliance
  • Assure security and resilience – information assurance, security to supporting both 24x7x356 service availability and regulatory compliance

Where to start

The first step in delivering this broad set of requirements is an audit of existing communications infrastructure to access both current capabilities and potential points of leverage. While fiscal responsibility certainly requires existing IT assets to be maximized, in any military environment solution functionality must be prioritized. One option to consider, that is a confirmed DoD priority area, is virtualization.

Already a mature strategy in the private sector, the ability to place infrastructure and applications in a datacenter dramatically reduces operational support costs and eliminates significant levels of capital spend. Virtualizing a command and control emergency dispatch environment offers both financial and operational opportunities for the DoD.

The key point is whether the virtualized communications environment is held on servers on-premise or in a hosted environment. And the direction of travel depends on multiple considerations – not least the technical capabilities of onsite IT support staff.

What is not up for discussion, however, is the significant cost savings and instant scalability advantages of deploying an IP-enabled, software-based dispatch solution – moving away from the traditional TDM-based hardware environment to create a flexible, lower cost and more easily deployed environment.

Next generation command and control

Having explored deployment options, the next step is to think about dispatch capability on post, camp or station. The realities of effectively responding to an incident adds a level of communications complexity rarely seen in the preceding decades. Likewise, a rapidly increasing number of communication channels puts pressure on, and offers greater opportunities for, command and control center dispatchers.

Let’s look at the kind of capability questions of most importance to an on-post dispatch environment:

  • Can first responders on their way to the incident be conferenced in to an on-going call with their cellular phone or radio?
  • If there’s no cellular coverage could an IP to radio communications link be established between different parties?
  • Should remote decision-makers and experts need to be consulted, how do dispatchers avoid the roadblock of voicemail?
  • During a major incident how quickly can multiline conferences be established, the right people brought in, and key information disseminated to local populations and affected customers?

Answering these questions is central to effective emergency dispatching – which doesn’t end with activating first responders. The dispatcher is (or should be) the vital conduit of communication and information between all parties involved in a major incident. And to make it happen, they need the right tools.

Even small scale events may require more than a handful of people to ‘be in the loop.’ Everyone needs to be informed at the appropriate level, at the appropriate time, and with the appropriate information. Prioritizing who needs to speak to whom; which calls (and people) have priority; and how best to avoid being locked into voicemail cycles is critical.

Voice to video

As previously discussed, extending functionality beyond voice to video and social channels offers additional information gathering and decision-making opportunities outside of conferencing. Real-time video from the field can be particularly valuable. Today’s social networks allow users to live-stream from their cell phones and tablets. There is no reason the same cannot be done in an EOC environment.

 Breaking in

Dispatchers also need multiple lines open at any one time. They must be able to break into ongoing conversations if new information is passed from the field. And they need to be able to do it securely. This is not simply a regulatory compliance exercise – lives are at stake and information security is crucial.

And, voice quality matters. A cracking line from the field is of little use when information clarity is needed to make the big calls. This is often overlooked in the deployment of dispatching solutions.

Likewise, the dispatcher’s own experience can often be overlooked – which is dangerous when so much of the coordination and resolution rests on their shoulders. These skilled people need to be operating at peak performance. They can’t do it if their tools are complicated, time consuming or prone to dropped lines or missed calls.

 So what does a ‘good’ solution look like? Already working with the largest armed forces around the world, our recommended approach encompasses connectivity, collaboration, call quality and, of course, an intuitive experience to get the best out of your dispatchers. My next blog is a bit a shameless plug for our vision of what next generation emergency response should look like.

Posted in Public Sector