collaboration - Vita Enterprise Solutions Enterprise Solutions... Collaboration can give a business

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Text of collaboration - Vita Enterprise Solutions Enterprise Solutions... Collaboration can give a business

  • collaboration Keeping people in touch efficiently

  • What is collaboration? At its best, unified communications (UC) is just what it says — it enables

    better interaction between people by integrating what were separate

    types of communication into a single, combined user experience.

    It means email, text, and voice messaging work seamlessly with live voice,

    audio- and video-conferencing, and Web collaboration, in one interface,

    with ‘presence’ notification to indicate your availability to participate.

    People are familiar with the concept of VOIP (Voice Over Internet

    Protocol) telephony because of applications such as Skype, which facilitate

    low-cost or free voice calls through the Internet. Collaboration has

    expanded this idea to incorporate other types of communication as well.

    Collaboration differs from standard telecoms systems because it uses

    server-based technologies, and digital IP networks (the same type

    of network that routes Internet traffic). And unlike the old analogue

    telephone systems, it sends voice information over the network as digital

    packets, much the same way as an e-mail.

    By integrating telephony and data on the same network, it can give

    enterprises the ability to combine and use voice, data and video

    information in their common business applications, saving and

    forwarding whole instant message streams, e-mails, voice phone calls or

    videoconferencing sessions as chunks of data.

    And being data, Enterprise grade Collaboration software can encrypt the

    information being sent across the network, greatly enhancing security.

    Collaboration also means an employee can use a single phone number

    or handset and a unified inbox for all their communications, making life

    simpler.

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    What are the benefits? Collaboration is designed to help workers do their jobs better by

    allowing them to work anywhere and cutting down on the time that can

    be wasted trying to contact or be contacted by other people. In short,

    one of the biggest paybacks for a business adopting a Collaboration

    solution is increased efficiency and productivity.

    Combined with a move to Cloud computing and a Mobility strategy

    to manage company communications, Collaboration turbo-charges a

    worker’s ability to perform regardless of where they are.

    To start with, it offers advanced telephony functions. These include short-

    number dialing, which eliminates the use of area codes, and is particularly

    helpful with businesses that are located across geographical areas.

    Collaboration also offers advanced call-forwarding to different types

    of devices, and incoming calls can search for an idle extension in a

    department.

    It can also ring multiple devices at once — desk phone, desktop, and

    mobile — regardless of their location. The aim of this is to help the caller

    get through to the right person at the right time.

    Phone users can also benefit from having a single number for all of their

    phone devices; and companies can keep the same geographic number

    across properties and mobile phones.

    For someone using Collaboration, they can start a phone call from their

    desk phone, and continue the call seamlessly on the mobile as they walk

    away from the desk and out of the office.

    A single voicemail with a unified voicemail box is another feature of

    Collaboration, and this works for multiple communication devices, such

    as a desk phone, home phone, mobile phone, or VoIP (Voice over IP)

    phone, connected to a computer.

    Pulling together voice or video conference calls becomes a simple matter

    too, with the benefits of ‘presence’ technology. Presence technology

    allows colleagues to quickly see the availability of, and best way to

    contact, an individual.

    Presence can indicate whether the recipient is available on their mobile,

    home phone, desk phone, and so on; and whether they are in a meeting,

    working from home, or driving between meetings.

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    Are there any cost savings? The short answer is yes.

    Being based on a digital network, Collaboration can offer cheaper calls

    than traditional telephone systems. With voice and video being carried as

    data over the public network, there is scope for businesses to lower their

    phone bills.

    Another attraction for businesses is that Collaboration systems can

    simplify billing and administration, and potentially lower the overall costs

    of conferencing by combining disparate services through one vendor.

    Collaboration can give a business predictable bills, so you know roughly

    what its monthly spend will be. Companies with many locations often

    have trouble getting a handle on expenses when each office manages its

    own phone system, Web meeting software, fax service, and even contact

    centres. With Collaboration, you get one bill.

    Lyncing up There are several major players providing Collaboration systems, but

    Microsoft has gained ascendency because of the widespread use of

    Windows and Office apps in business, its integration with Lync software

    and its association with Skype.

    Lync, which comes bundled with Office 365 business subscriptions, is

    Microsoft’s server platform for unified communications. In a former life

    it was called Office Communications Server. Lync ties real-time presence

    information with instant messaging, video conferencing, and voice

    communication, and it integrates with Exchange email and Microsoft

    Office applications.

    The features that Microsoft Lync brings to organisations of all sizes can

    translate quickly into business benefits. Lync drives savings in hardware,

    software and support costs, and provides a familiar and consistent

    interface across a wide variety of devices.

    With the release of Lync 2013, Microsoft also introduced the Web

    version of Lync which allows users to use the program from their

    browser. Users can join a Lync meeting from Windows or Mac OS X

    using a Web browser, and still have access to all of the features of Lync,

    including HD video, VoIP, instant messaging, and desktop sharing.

    Microsoft has developed Lync Mobile apps for Windows Phone, iOS

    and Android, so Lync communications are available almost universally.

    The Lync Mobile apps allow users to instant message, call, or join a Lync

    meeting from virtually anywhere.

    The cross-platform approach is a trend with Microsoft, and it’s an

    important one. Microsoft would obviously prefer that everyone choose

    Windows Phone, but the reality is that Windows Phone has relatively

    little market share, while the vast majority of smartphones and tablets

    use iOS or Android.

    You will run into plenty of customers who don’t use Lync. Skype, on the

    other hand, is a popular and free communications tool — and Microsoft

    owns that as well. Lync has always provided the option to integrate and

    communicate with Windows Live Messenger, but Microsoft is phasing

    that platform out and driving users over to Skype instead.

    For some businesses, Skype alone may be enough to serve their

    needs, but organisations that want more robust, comprehensive

    communication tools should take a look at what Lync 2013 has to offer.

    Lync 2013 extends communications to Skype with presence, instant

    messaging, and voice capabilities.

  • Lync in Office 365 Businesses small and large can take advantage of Lync 2013 as a

    function of Microsoft’s Cloud computing package, Office 365.

    The Office 365 element is arguably the most compelling aspect of

    Lync 2013. There are other video-conferencing solutions but they can

    be costly and only provide the video-conferencing piece.

    Office 365 makes sense for most business customers, and the addition

    of Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint make it even greater value.

    An industry example Bridgestone Australia is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the

    largest tyre manufacturer in the world.

    The company is a major supplier to the Australian automotive industry,

    providing an extensive range of quality tyres, carefully developed to

    suit local conditions. The company has more than 1,500 employees

    across Australia and New Zealand.

    Bridgestone has a very widespread workforce with 40 company-

    owned sites in Australia and about 90 locations in New Zealand. Teams

    also generally have members from more than one location. With a

    distributed workforce, employees were not always sure about the

    location of staff members.

    Most Bridgestone staff members require reliable mobile connectivity,

    particularly executives who travel overseas and sales staff who

    travel across the country. Sometimes salespeople make trips up to

    seven hours to support franchisees in remote locations. Bridgestone

    operates a few call centres in Australia and New Zealand that have

    special communications needs. Most employees at Bridgestone used

    the phone and email to communicate, and occasionally they used

    conferencing.

    “Our core communicatio