A sudden shift in March 2020 forced IT teams to quickly equip workers for remote settings. Now, even as companies are shifting to bringing teams back in person, employees are requesting a hybrid work situation.
Even while employees struggled with social isolation and technological challenges, there were surprising gains in areas like productivity and the development of new time management skills. IT teams moved past the initial scramble to begin to create environments that prioritized connectivity alongside security for faster decision-making.
While that reality is still being formed in most organizations, it’s clear that the foundation for successful hybrid work lies with technology solutions like unified communications as a service (UCaaS). This cloud-based offering comes with a few key benefits that equip companies to support remote workers and streamline productivity:
- UCaaS can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
- It is feature-rich, with collaborative tools like videoconferencing and shared workspaces.
- UCaaS is flexible and scalable, making it a cost-saving solution.
- For overstressed IT teams, UCaaS shifts management, troubleshooting, and updates to a managed services provider.
A UCaaS solution equips teams for quicker decision-making and better collaboration, but it also means an increased reliance on connectivity. Networks must be primed for the bandwidth-hungry, cloud-based UCaaS because features like videoconferencing and voice calls deteriorate in quality when dropped packets, congestion, or latency come into play.
Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is an ideal technology partner for UCaaS. It adds a virtual layer to the network, allowing companies to equip remote workers with improved connectivity through better resource provisioning and traffic prioritization.
Network teams using SD-WAN are able to set business policy that prioritizes traffic requiring real-time connectivity, such as videoconferencing, above an email transmission, for instance. It also provides cost savings because it is carrier agnostic, giving network teams the ability to augment costly, but reliable, multi-layer protocol switching (MPLS) pathways with broadband internet and other cost-effective options.
Business organizations have to decide whether investments in solutions like UCaaS and SD-WAN for hybrid work make sense, but there are indications that the returns are easily measured. Windstream Enterprise commissioned a survey that examined UCaaS along with associated challenges and benefits and how they impacted remote work in the past year. Respondents included IT and business decision-makers from U.S.-based companies.
The results demonstrated that companies that have invested in UCaaS have better productivity and they have shorter decision-making cycles when compared to companies that have not switched to UCaaS. Among respondents, 40% said they expected UCaaS to equip their organizations for faster digital transformation.
The results also found that businesses are relying more heavily on the network to handle critical business processes due to the organization’s reliance on cloud-based communications. Security and uptime are both priorities for organizations to succeed with a hybrid work model.You need better collaborative tools and a network infrastructure that supports them. Contact us at ITBroker.com to learn more about building a technology stack that supports hybrid work through a combination of UCaaS and SD-WAN for enhanced connectivity.