Netpremacy at Housing 2019
On the 25th June our sales team headed to Manchester for 3 busy days at the Housing 2019 expo show. We teamed up with our longstanding partners Ringcentral to co-host a stand at the exhibition.
Housing 2019 is one of the leading events for the housing industry. It is Europe’s largest and most inclusive housing festival.
Our aim of the event was to meet leaders within the social housing industry and listen to the problems that they feel are most prevalent within the industry for them today.
Our objective was to share how the latest in Cloud Technology can revolutionise how Housing associations interact with their customers and how to drive customer service and success through modern technology.
We enjoyed discussing ways to overcome existing challenges within the sector, and of course the stand would not have been complete without the standard Netpremacy table football!
“The event was a great success for both Netpremacy and RingCentral, we met a number of leading figures within the industry and got a real feel for where the pain points are and how to tackle them head on using the latest in Cloud technology.”
Thomas Reed, Cloud Communications specialist, Netpremacy.
We teamed up with Ringcentral to host a guest speaker in the silent theatre at the exhibition, Sunny Dhami, Senior Director of Product Marketing spoke on behalf of RingCentral exploring how new technologies, such as Cloud Telephony, can bring huge advantages to the sector. He discussed in detail about how the housing industry is changing with a digital first strategy. Housing associations are entering a new era where customers are expecting more in terms of availability, customer service and response times. This is due to the service they have grown used to receiving in their day to day lives and expect the same. Cloud technology is rising to meet these expectations, as a result, housing associations need to keep up. This was demonstrated and showed how more housing associations are seeing the benefits of digital transformation.
We had a fantastic time at the event, meeting so many interesting people with unique challenges to discuss. if you have any further questions about digital transformation, change management and Cloud technology in the housing association sector please do not hesitate to contact our cloud telephony specialist on email@example.com
If you would like to find out more about cloud telephony, download our free whitepaper.
We host and attend a number of events and exhibitions throughout the year, with changing focuses, locations and target audiences. To stay up to date on where we will be next, visit our events page, and follow us on Twitter and Linkedin.
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How Cloud Telephony makes consolidation easier.
Organisations are now adopting the latest technology to streamline a range of business administration and processes, one of the latest being Cloud Telephony. Cloud-based Telephony comes with many benefits over the more traditional on-premise solutions which you can find listed out neatly across nearly every telecoms website. However one of the benefits rarely touched upon is the ability to ease day to day administration and consolidate a geographically and technologically diverse estate. A system is only as strong as its weakest link and business phone systems have a whole lot of links—from users to administrators and other systems.
Allow me to describe a fictional but common scenario that IT managers face:
Imagine that you’ve just been part of a dream merger in which you have acquired a firm that is going to add both value to how you operate and your company as a whole. The plan is to absorb the new business under the existing brand whilst allowing it to continue to trade. As well as merging the companies, you need to merge all that comes with it including the phone systems and communications.
You go about getting it all set up but discover that their in-house PBX is a different brand to yours. Do you leave them as separate entities and operations? You start to look into integrating the two together but find that to do this you need to spend a lot on new hardware. This then begins to get time-consuming.
So what are your options? Managing communications for a business is challenging enough at one location, but more challenging with multiple locations. This is especially true as with the above example of acquisitive organisations that have inherited multiple phone systems over a number of years, and are now charged with their maintenance and integration across the estate. For some companies, the acquisitions happened years ago and the enterprise has been living with the pain and expense of a tangle of diverse systems for a long time.
Companies that are looking after multiple locations with on-premises PBX’s have to contend with the fact that different locations could be running disconnected systems of different ages with different capabilities. Systems may not even be from the same vendor. Capabilities may be lost to interoperability problems. Productivity may be lost to inefficient communications. Getting every location onto a single standard may look close to an impossible task, but this is where cloud-based telephony really begins to shine.
Cloud telephony allows the consolidation of equipment and allows IT managers to benefit from standardised capabilities and total interoperability across locations. When upgrades happen, they happen everywhere simultaneously, maintenance is outsourced to the hosted PBX provider and fewer resources are required to understand and use systems across the business. Processes can also be standardised for greater efficiency and in most cases and you are able to reuse Cloud ready hardware to reduce costs. Simply put, for businesses who want phone systems working together across multiple locations, cloud hosted PBX systems present a much simpler and cheaper option to implement and maintain.
Now imagine the same scenario, only you have decided to implement a Cloud Telephony platform instead. You had heard that Cloud Telephony would make consolidation and onboarding of new sites easy and to your delight, it’s true. Cloud Telephony systems allow you to add extra phones to the system easily and bring the newly merged sites into one managed solution. Calls flow as you want and collaboration within the firm means the merger starts bearing fruits instantly.
It’s not always a necessity to replace the hardware. If its ‘Cloud ready’ you can simply introduce a form of Cloud to keep costs down. This means gaining all the benefits of Cloud and making those new locations an integrated part of your footprint.
Consolidation and acquisitions are not something that companies have to worry about every day, but when it is a worry, it can amount to a lot of stress.
The benefits of Cloud Telephony when it comes to consolidation include:
- No limits to adding new users
- Low cost adding new users
- Ease of integrating with an existing infrastructure
- Remote management across all sites
- Vastly reduced admin resources
- Complete transparency
If your estate is large or complex, making it hard to warrant an immediate switchover, you can take a staged approach. You are able to start with a cloud-based system at one location as part of a larger hybrid Cloud communications system and move other locations over as their on-premises PBX systems reach end-of-life. This is a clever phased approach to phone system migration that’s gaining more steam among businesses that don’t want to rip-and-replace all at once.
Still, some IT managers feel safer maintaining hardware that’s nearby, with the belief that the system may be pretty robust. It’s easy to run down the hall to a server closet if something goes wrong, right? But on-premises PBX systems are also dependent on forces outside a company’s control, an electrical grid outage, an Internet outage, a fire, burglary or severe flooding. Things like dual-powered cooling equipment, multiple independent distribution paths or fault-tolerant site infrastructure all will greatly reduce your exposure and increase resiliency, in short your phone system should stand up to a myriad of potential threats.
For the companies that don’t currently have this on site, Cloud telephony delivers a level of reliability and redundancy that’s difficult and expensive to achieve at facility level with an on-premise PBX. With a Cloud phone system, that reliability is built in. However you decide to approach the issue of consolidation, one thing is clear, hosted communication is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses regardless of size, vertical or site complexity and shows no sign of slowing down.
If you have any questions about your current telephony system please contact our Cloud Telephony Specialists for more information on how we can help take your telephony system into the Cloud.
To BYOD or not to BYOD—that is the question that dominates internal communication departments around the world and sparks fires of discussion all over the Internet. It has been called many things: a trend, an IT manager’s nightmare, and a revolution. However, recent data suggests that “inevitable” is the better way to describe it.
So, what is BYOD?
BYOD encourages company employees to work on the device they choose – accessing corporate email and text documents on their mobile device. The ultimate goal? Increased productivity and reduced costs.
As many IT departments struggle to keep up with yearly technology changes, employees increasingly want to use their own devices to access corporate data. This includes mobile phones, laptops, and tablets which encompasses similar Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) initiatives. All of them have evolved to empower workforces through the so-called ‘consumerization of IT’.
Why BYOD matters
Mobile communication has been a best practice in our private lives for some time now, and the trend is flooding the corporate environment, it should be no surprise that the driving force behind BYOD is a new IT self-sufficiency among employees who already own and use personal devices.
These mobile devices are often newer and more advanced than the equipment deployed by many departments. More and more companies are establishing mobile-first internal communication channels and are asking themselves which devices serve them best.
More than 50% of UK companies have already aligned themselves with a BYOD policy, and an additional 15% plan to do so within the next 12 months.
BYOD benefits and advantages
It is easy to imagine scenarios in which both workers and their companies can benefit from BYOD – from the sales representative who has access to custom CRM solutions from his or her iPad to the marketer who has a “eureka” moment in the middle of the night and can immediately pull data from the company’s latest survey for the next advertising campaign.
However for companies with high numbers of non-desk workers, the discussion around BYOD is especially important. Allowing a remote workforce to use their own devices enables companies to bridge the communication gap between desk-bound employees and their non-desk counterparts.
There are some key advantages to operating a BYOD strategy, including increased employee satisfaction (they can work more flexibly), cost savings (reduced hardware spend, software licensing and device maintenance) plus productivity gains (employees are happier, more comfortable and often work faster with their own technology).
- Greater productivity: No need to train your employees on how to use their own technology. Studies show that BYOD can lead to increased productivity as they’re more familiar with the layout and technology. 73% of executives stated that BYOD increases efficiency in the workforce.
- Enhanced flexibility: Depending on the job role, it means that you can tap into all the benefits of remote working and ensure that your workforce has access to the solutions they need no matter their location.
- Better employee retention: Not only does BYOD help companies to attract millennial talent to the workforce, but it also ensures that they’re more likely to stick around too, thanks to the promise of better wellbeing. A Samsung study found that 78% of workers feel using a single device helps them to maintain better work/life balance.
- Minimal investment: Instead of investing in endless new agile technology, you simply upgrade your software on the cloud.
BYOD can be easily integrated into the lives of your employees. This enables greater work-life balance and leads directly to higher productivity. This, of course, means that employees face a certain trade-off with BYOD: they get better and more information to help them do their jobs, and it’s available via the most familiar channel, but their private lives will sometimes be invaded by work. This is a compromise which many workers will gladly accept, especially if clear guidelines have been established that aim to minimize any discontent.
Planning a successful BYOD policy
The advent of BYOD is forcing IT departments and IT managers to develop and implement policies that govern the management of unsupported devices. Network security is paramount and once you have decided that employees are allowed to bring their own devices to work there are questions that need answering.
Acceptable use: How is personal use handled? Should any websites be blocked? Should the camera and video function be disabled? Are there areas in which the WiFi has to be deactivated? Do you need to determine a list of forbidden apps? Should there be a specific policy for texting? These are the questions that need to be addressed.
Security: Measures must be taken in order to avoid unnecessary security risks. Ask your IT department and set guidelines for password protection, user session times, and rules for downloading content. Also, consider limiting access to company data and consider the content you make available.
Risks and liabilities: Make it clear from the start that employees are expected to use their devices ethically, and that disciplinary actions can be taken for noncompliance with company policies.
Devices and support: BYOD covers a large array of devices, it might be helpful to determine which ones are allowed. There must be at least one contact person and the exact level of support should be clearly defined.
Once the various policies have been agreed upon, maintaining these depends on an organisation’s ability to educate its employees on best practices, implement effective device management and support, and ability to enforce them. Creating a sound BYOD program must be a collaborative effort between an organisation’s employees, IT and security teams, and management
Why Consider BYOD at all?
The rise of BYOD is inevitable. We’re beginning to face an era where people are ready to adopt this form of working. Ubiquitous operating systems, devices, and server-side processing architecture make adoption of BYOD much easier. Cloud storage and SaaS models mean that it’s also much cheaper to ensure internal governance. From a business point of view, BYOD is quicker and more cost-effective. Many industries have started to realise that the generation of tomorrow requires the latest technology, and delivering that on a Capex basis could be very expensive.
Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by the end of 2025, and Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. The trend of catering to Gen Y’s preferences is set to increase, and BYOD could be the most cost-effective way to embrace changes in an OPEX fashion. While the cost of BYOD has always been cheaper than launching enterprise-owned device networks, 2018 has launched a new era for cost-efficiency. Providers are more frequently offering BYOD services and support through the cloud, delivering scalable solutions customers need instantaneously. The cloud also ensures that better data storage is available for both in-office and remote workers, allowing everyone to have access to the same software and space regardless of what their individual devices might allow.
Ultimately, BYOD isn’t going anywhere and in fact, is being adopted at an incredible rate. Today’s businesses simply need to devise how to implement it in a way that suits their needs. With the right support, a strong set of software solutions, and a secure BYOD policy, businesses are able to access the benefits of a modern BYOD plan, without any of the potential negatives.
Find out more about what Netpremacy can provide here.