At its core, the idea behind enterprise collaboration is a simple one. You’re talking about the technology put in place at an organizational level that helps improve information gathering and knowledge sharing among employees. It doesn’t matter if someone is working full-time in the office or if they’re one of the estimated 32.6 million people who will work remotely by 2025. The ability to effortlessly communicate and organically collaborate becomes a right, not a privilege.

The current IT infrastructure that you’ve already invested so heavily in was likely built with these goals in mind – at least at some point. But as your organization continues to grow and evolve, keeping everything optimized and even properly managed can quickly grow equal parts time-consuming and expensive. These are challenges that Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions were designed to address, at least in part.

Many assume that investing in such a solution means essentially throwing out everything you’ve already created in terms of your UCC infrastructure over the years and starting from scratch. Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution fit in perfectly with your current infrastructure, but the process of getting to that point is also a lot easier than you likely think.

The Unique Nature of Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions

The two main factors that separate Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions from other collaboration tools have to do with not only their hosted nature, but their inherent flexibility as well.

Rather than setting up and maintaining the entirety of your collaboration infrastructure in-house, everything is provided to you by way of the cloud. This means that every phone is someone’s “work phone” thanks to unified communications and corporate telephony – not just the one at their desk. Resources are delivered on-demand and over the Internet, offering increased agility and the ability to scale more effectively as well.

In a larger sense, Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions are flexible enough to transition the entirety of your existing infrastructure into the cloud, or simply fill in certain gaps that may presently exist. The Cisco Unified Communications Manager, for example, offers IP-based voice, video, and messaging delivered as a service. Cisco Unity Connection delivers voicemail and unified messaging. Cisco Jabber lets people embrace mobility, Cisco Webex offers robust meeting capabilities, and more.

The point is that whatever functionality you need that your current infrastructure doesn’t give you access to, Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions can. If nothing else, consider this a way to free up your IT resources so that you can better focus on your strategic priorities as opposed to provisioning your current assets.

Yorktel’s expert IT Consulting team draws from nearly 4 decades of experience helping our customers achieve their strategic business objectives. From hardware to software, from the customer premise to the cloud, Yorktel has earned a reputation as a top IT Consulting firm with intimate knowledge of how to roadmap innovative IT solutions and the expertise to bring those solutions to life.

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Compatibility of Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions

In terms of Cisco compatibility, everything works as an extension of your existing IT systems and architectures, not as a replacement to them.

As the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution Compatibility Matrix shows, the minimum compatible hardware and software components for active releases of HCS are quite flexible. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about upgrading or replacing your existing hardware with an eye toward support for this new technology. You don’t have to invest in procuring compatible devices for employees. Think of this type of IT infrastructure integration as an addition to what you already have – you’re using your current enterprise as a foundation upon which something better will be built.

The Process of Integrating Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions

Don’t think about integrating Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions in the same way that you would expand your IT infrastructure on your own. Cisco solution support is designed in a way that addresses or even outright eliminates a lot of the concerns you likely have – including those pertaining to how time-consuming and expensive the process will be.

With partner-hosted solutions, for example, you can leverage a Cisco Powered partner to help deploy any custom configuration of collaboration tools you need, regardless of the size of your organization. There are also a number of distinct subscription plans for you to choose from.

The Cisco Enterprise Agreement, for example, provides Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions for your entire business. If you prefer, you can choose the Active User plan. Meetings are purchased based on usage and you only pay for those who use the service.

Finally, there is the Named User plan, which offers collaborative solutions like meetings for individuals, teams, or even entire departments. You pay only for what you need and still have the flexibility to grow at whatever pace makes the most sense for you.

Costs are always controlled because rather than dealing with unpredictable and often unwieldy expenses, everything is exchanged for a fixed monthly fee. You can also choose a plan based on your organization’s size and needs as they exist today. Your Cisco Powered partner takes care of providing the tools – you just focus on putting them to good use.

The Impact of Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions on IT Operations

Once everything has been properly configured, integrating Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions can help transform your IT operations, streamline workflows, and improve the overall efficiency of your teams – all at the exact same time.

Once you transition your existing video conferencing solution to Cisco Webex Meetings, for example, every employee can meet anywhere, at any time. They can use any mobile device or video system they’re already comfortable with complete with integrated audio, video, and content sharing. Everyone is using the same platform so management is effortless. The solution is delivered on-demand so you don’t have to worry about provisioning resources or addressing various end-user security concerns.

Employees have a tool that is easier to use and more efficient than the many disparate “solutions” they were probably forced to contend with previously. Creating a meeting and actually deriving benefit from it is faster and easier thanks to streamlined workflows. Likewise, IT operations aren’t taxed with hardware and software support in addition to all their other daily duties.

Now, apply the same logic to how Cisco Jabber improves both mobility and collaboration through features like instant messaging and chat. Think about how Cisco Unity Connection makes it easy to execute a call from anywhere – be it an IP phone, a mobile phone, or even a desktop client. Even Cisco HCS for Contact Center helps deliver exceptional multichannel customer service, no matter what.

Taken individually, all these offerings can have a major impact on some portion of your business. When taken together, it’s easy to see how Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions can bring about a digital transformation for your enterprise in the best possible way.

Future-Proofing Your UCC Infrastructure

One of the great things about technology in a business setting is that when properly designed and optimized, your infrastructure should grow and evolve as your organization does the same. IT isn’t just about allowing you to tackle the challenges of today – it helps to better prepare you for the ones you might face tomorrow, too.

That’s another area where Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions can help. They’re scalable and adaptable by design. If you need to add resources, you don’t have to make employees spend countless hours researching and procuring said equipment. They don’t have to worry about properly integrating and deploying anything. Ongoing management, support, and troubleshooting don’t become “costs of doing business.”

Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions future-proof your enterprise’s UCC infrastructure by offering an almost unparalleled level of scalability and adaptability. It doesn’t matter how your business needs change, or what unexpected evolution life throws at you.

Your technology is positioned in a way to take this type of uncertainty and turn it from a potential liability into a legitimate opportunity, exactly the way it always should have been.

Elevating Your Existing UCC Infrastructure With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions

Overall, it’s important not to make the mistake of assuming that an investment in Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions means replacing the entirety of your existing infrastructure. It’s not a move designed to “throw out” everything you’ve already worked so hard to build, not to mention that you’ve come to depend on.

Instead, it’s about supporting and empowering that infrastructure. It’s about taking what you already have and making it as good as it can possibly be.

This type of digital transformation can finally help break down the data silos that your teams have been fighting, sometimes even without realizing it. Critical information is able to move freely across your enterprise, from one department to the next or even across multiple locations. But most crucially, everyone who needs access to essential information to do their best work automatically has it – which is precisely how it should be.

The good news is existing IT infrastructure integration is also a far more straightforward process than many assume it to be.

At Yorktel, we’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned over the years as a preferred Cisco partner for implementing solutions into an organization’s current infrastructure. In addition to being a Cisco Premier Partner, we are also a Cisco Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization Partner. This means that in addition to understanding how to unlock the potential of Cisco’s innovative solutions, we also know how to apply that to create unique solutions for businesses – exactly the way it should be.

If you’d like to find out more information about how Cisco hosted collaboration solutions can fit into your existing UCC infrastructure, or if you’re eager to learn more about how Yorktel Cisco consultants can help accomplish your goals, contact us today.