Will SMBs Soon Say Goodbye to Desktop Phones? Not so fast.

a young woman in a casual modern office chats to a client on the phone whilst using her digital tablet . More colleagues are chatting at a desk in the background
  • March 16, 2017
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Companies of all shapes and sizes in a variety of industries are following millions of American households by cutting the cord on traditional phones in favor of mobile devices.

Cloud communications provider Dialpad recently surveyed 1000 business professionals about their attitudes and expectations toward communications hardware in the workplace. Nearly six in 10 of those canvassed said they believe the conventional desktop phone is outdated. And it’s what the researchers termed the “anywhere worker” that’s driving traditional business phones toward extinction. Based on survey results, more than half of those workers eager to sweep base phones from their desks appear to work for small to mid-size businesses: 51% of SMB respondents reported having a workforce that is between 50% to 100% operating remotely.

But should SMBs leaders be so eager to trash their desktop devices? We say first pause, think and consider implementing a Unified Communications (UC) system. UC integrates mobile phones and desk-based phones into a system that also can include fax, text, chat, email and video files, enabling a broader range of capabilities such as:

  • Presence Management – Your UC phone system knows a user is in the office, at a desk or on the road. So, by dialing one number callers will be routed to the appropriate device.
  • Computer Telephony – Through a typical voicemail-style menu, callers can be routed to multiple resources not resident on the phone network, such as a Q&A database. Other modes of communication – e.g., text, email or video – can be engaged to send links to recordings or textual content in response to calls.
  • Disaster Recovery – During a business disruption of any kind, a UC system can switch phones into disaster recovery mode, which enables staff to log in from any location with internet service – regardless of whether cellular networks are jammed.

If installing UC isn’t enough to quell your worries about supporting the swelling ranks of mobile workers, take heart. In one of our past posts, we offer these “5 Steps for Successfully Managing a Mobile Workforce”:

  1. Tally the Demand with Tech – First, you need to know how many remote users your serve, how many devices they use for business purposes and what types of devices they use. Instead of canvassing remote workers, consider querying the devices. Mobile management software packages enable tracking of devices, apps and usage when users sign onto your network.
  2. But Train with a Personal Touch – Continually educate remotes users about the vulnerabilities of working outside of your firewall. Use conferences calls, webinars and email to teach employees how to maintain secure passwords, avoid threats such as phishing and deflect other malicious attacks. Through the process, your support team should stay in touch on an individual level.
  3. Set Some Standards – Whether devices and apps are company-supplied or your workers operate under a BYOD policy, have at least some level of standard systems and use mobile management software to block changes to this standard configuration.
  4. Apply an Ounce of Prevention –Help protect mobile workers from this threat by patching their systems proactively. To stay ahead of the curve, use mobile management software to perform vulnerability assessments that will reveal holes before they are exploited by cyber crooks.
  5. Get Help – The basic rule of providing technology support of any kind is that users always will outnumber help desk staff. So, don’t go it alone. See our post “How to Recognize a Good Mobility Managed Service Provider (MSP)” for tips about choosing the right IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) for your business.

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ITinflections is a blog that covers a wide range of technology-based articles IT in the workplace, focusing on small- to medium-sized businesses.

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