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Three steps you need to take to ready your network for mobile collaboration

Follow these steps to help avoid downtime, reduce costs, and minimize your workload when you upgrade your mobile communications.

Today’s employees expect to work when and where they want to.

They do business in the office, at home and on the road. In fact, 42.5% of the global workforce will be mobile by 2022.

The rise of the remote worker has made mobile collaboration tools a vital part of business. They keep employees connected to customers and each other – whether they are working down the hall or around the world.

It’s not surprising that more companies are adding mobile communication systems to their IT arsenal.

However, it can be challenging to get your new and legacy systems to “play nice” with each other.

If your new service doesn’t easily integrate with your existing environment, you run the risk of delays and downtime. Just a short interruption will harm your productivity and prevent customers from reaching you – which will have a direct impact on your bottom line.

Here are three steps you must take to prepare your business network for mobile communications and make your transition to a new system as smooth as possible:

1. Understand your needs.

The first key to mobile communications success is knowing your needs.

After all, you can’t plan your route unless you know your starting point.

Here are some questions that will give you clarity about your users, so you can select the systems and tools that will best meet their needs:

  • Who will use your mobile communications services?
  • How do your users communicate on a daily basis? For example, do they mostly use email and a productivity app suite? Or do they also use shared drives and other cloud collaboration tools?
  • What types of devices do your employees currently use or need?
  • How much data do these devices use? Be sure to consider all of your connected devices, including any Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
  • What information do your users share? What are your security risks if this data falls into the wrong hands?

Be sure to consider your users’ needs in context with your business’s needs. For example, you might have existing phone numbers that you would like to maintain even though you’re eliminating fixed phone lines. You should also make a list of the essential phone features that you need – such as auto-attendant or voicemail-to-email.

2. Right-size your data.

If your data plan doesn’t align with your usage, you’ll run into problems.

Gartner states, “Enterprises should be careful with mobile plans that throttle bandwidth after reaching a certain data threshold. This may prevent enterprise collaboration services from working well or working entirely.”

Low data thresholds will also result in large bills when your road warriors and power users blow past their limits.

Look for wireless plans and roaming options that automatically “right-size” your data for each employee’s usage and plans that allow teams to share data.

For example, your roaming plan should automatically apply preferred rates when an employee leaves the country. That way, you won’t need to worry about unexpected costs or manually adding one-time travel packs.

You can also choose a wireless plan that lets you create groups of employees that share wireless data, or a plan that offers unlimited voice minutes and text messages. Then, you won’t need to estimate individual monthly usage or closely manage many individual plans.

Your wireless plan should serve the needs of your entire company. When everyone is covered with a flexible solution, they can feel free to work wherever work takes them.

3. Simplify your transition.

Before you implement a new system, consider how it will work with your existing telecom services and mix of devices. This work will ultimately make your transition easier. Here are some questions to consider before you introduce a new solution:

  • Does the system require any integrations beyond signing up for the service?
  • Will it work seamlessly with our cellular network to give us the right level of connectivity? And will it seamlessly move between our Wi-Fi and cellular networks, so we don’t have hand-off issues?
  • Do we need to install new hardware or software?
  • Do we need to add an app as part of our mobile solution?
  • Can we keep our current phone number? Or will we need to get a new number (and potentially miss customer calls)?
  • Does the solution involve adding another vendor to our mix of service providers?

Next Steps

Is your company making mobility a priority?

It might be time to review your business and user needs to find out how you can improve your mobile communications, so employees can boost their productivity and better connect with customers.

About the Author

Rachel Foster is a copywriter for GET LIFT Agency who helps B2B marketers generate leads and convert them into customers. She has taught copywriting for MarketingProfs and was one of the Online Marketing Institute's top digital marketers of 2014.