By Natalie van der Merwe, Senior Product Manager at Vox
Thanks in part to the increasing popularity of cloud-based solutions, the global market for unified communications (UC) is expected to reach $167.1 billion by 2025. In recent weeks, companies have experienced its importance first-hand given the number of employees working remotely. And it is in this environment where the humble telephone management system (TMS) is transformed into a significant business enabler.
UC has shown that people can work remotely without needing customer-premise equipment. All they require is a mobile phone and reliable internet access with the cloud taking care of the rest. The focus is now on providing employees with the right tools for them to remain productive despite the current crisis.
At its core, UC centres on integrating multiple communication methods and devices and letting employees collaborate on projects irrespective of their physical location. As the lockdown has progressed, more people have gotten used to using their mobile devices and apps to collaborate online. And with the right tools in place, productivity can still be managed in a secure way.
For its part, a TMS is a software application or Web service that integrates with a PBX and enables detailed expense management and reporting. In turn, businesses can keep track of their company’s telephone usage and expenditure. This includes setting budgets and allowances for employees.
For example, John is a salesperson and is required to make 100 cold calls a week during the lockdown. Without a TMS in place, there is no way for his manager to see if he is indeed making those calls. Using a TMS, it is easy to pull a report and track how many calls John has made. But it is also about cost management. In this instance, a manager might only give John a R1,000 call allowance for the month. Both the manager and John will be notified when certain thresholds are reached. The manager can then increase or even decrease John’s call budget as required, giving the manager total control of their telephony usage which takes away the fear of bill-shock at the end of the month.
This functionality results in the optimisation of resources at the organisation. Calls can now be managed better across departments and individual employees. And by integrating a TMS with a softphone application such as Vobi, even if employees are using their personal devices for work, the system can still track business calls on the application and provide relevant insights to managers.
A softphone application also addresses concerns about using personal devices (and SIM cards) for business calls. For instance, calls made over Vobi are done at special corporate rates and not the standard operator rates.
More companies have woken up to the benefits of using TMS solutions to identify and manage expenses. But there are other advantages as well such as a call recording feature. This is ideal for various stakeholders to quality check or flag potential customer service issues.
Securing the voice environment
Innovative technology means concerns around fraud and security have largely been addressed. For example, a fraud reporting framework comprising a combination of reports and data is updated several times a day in addition to a live calls view. This helps to ensure that any break in protocols trigger alerts with a security team in place to do frequent scans on the network to ensure the company is not exposed to any threats.
With a locally-hosted cloud-based TMS solution, companies have the peace of mind that compliance requirements are taken care of. And if an international undersea cable should go down, this local system is not impacted.
From a Vox perspective, the growth in interest in UC solutions has been significant. The company has seen roughly a 94% increase in mobile application downloads in the last three months (February through April) when compared to the corresponding period last year. Even though it is difficult to predict what a post-lockdown business environment will look like, there is certainty many employees who will continue to work remotely and rely on UC and TMS solutions to remain productive.
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