In almost all aspects of our world, we are all about faster, easier, seamless and hassle free. Fast food. Instant sports updates. Instant Pots. We expect no different in our business communications. That’s where communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) comes in. CEBP is the integration of communications capabilities into software-enabled business procedures, applications and technologies. In layman’s terms, we are talking about embedding automated communication and collaboration activities into your business workflows to minimize the delays, miscommunications and omissions that often occur in routine business processes and, more importantly, when responding to crisis situations.
But, what do you need to look for in a CEBP solution? Why should you have a purpose-built CEBP platform in your communications portfolio? Why is it important to deploy on premise? Here are things you should consider as you think about connecting your operational support systems with your people and processes.
Certainty of Essential Communications for Mission Critical Workflows
You want to rest easy, knowing that your communications and collaboration strategies are deployed on a purpose-built platform to assure the highest levels of reliability, availability and resiliency. You cannot waste time rebooting servers! You need to know you can connect with internal resources even if your Internet connection is down. Think about key platform characteristics such as:
- Ultra-high MTBF
- Ultra-low power consumption
- No moving parts
- Highest levels of interface compatibility
- Optimized and modular complement of components
- Virus immune
- Optimized real-time operating system
- Process watchdogs
And, when a crisis strikes, people tend to panic. Familiarity gained through daily operations assures effective use of your systems during high stress events. So, if your CEBP solution is part of routine business operations with simple user interface mechanisms, you improve the odds of dramatically mitigating the impacts of crisis events.
Assurance of On-Campus Communications
An on-premise solution mitigates the PSTN “choke point” when communicating with large numbers of internal endpoints. Alert notifications coming in from external sources and conferences bridged via external services consume service provider channels which, especially during critical incidents, are under higher demand by constituents trying to call in for situation status information or to participate in response collaboration. This can result in delays or failures to connect with on-site personnel under critical circumstances.
In some enterprises, many or all of the internal stations on the PBX are not directly dialable from the PSTN. Calls are gated in via auto attendant systems, with IVR menus, or via live switchboard attendants to ultimately connect the caller to the appropriate extension. Automated calling from the cloud into these sorts of front-ended voice networks can be extremely tenuous if not impossible. An on-premise solution eliminates these roadblocks and hassles.
Access More Communications Channels
Modern enterprise communication and collaboration networks encompass devices and communication modalities beyond traditional desk phones. Often, even those endpoints that are voice-centric, are not dialable from the PSTN. A Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) platform with interfaces to the enterprise PBX and to the control and messaging infrastructure for those endpoints provides broader, multi-modal reach to key personnel and affected individuals. Examples of these endpoints and systems include:
- WLAN / DECT devices from vendors such as Cisco, Ascom, Mitel, Spectralink and Unify
- Overhead and outdoor PA systems
- SIP-connected speakers and call boxes
- Beacons and other visual endpoints
Additionally, you may be able to better leverage your traditional PBX phones with special features like emergency ring tones, automatic speakerphone activation, ignore station forwarding settings, etc.
Solutions to More Problems are within Reach with In-House Interfaces and Interconnections
A hosted or cloud-based solution can severely limit your ability to tightly integrate to your organization’s existing infrastructure and systems. A CPE solution makes interfacing to these sorts of in-house systems and monitoring points easier, more direct and more secure:
- Monitored devices and systems – security sensors, environmental sensors, access control systems, facility management systems, process control systems...etc.
- Front-end systems – dispatch consoles, security stations, attendant consoles
- Controlled devices and systems – door locks, strobes, downstream operational support systems
Security is high on everyone’s list. CEBP solutions often deal with sensitive data like employee names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, job functions and more. Don’t you want to keep these data repositories and personal information within the walls of your enterprise? And, if you are connecting to other systems and monitoring points, inter-systems interfaces that operate within the private LAN / WAN are less susceptible to security breaches and hacks than connections to external systems.
Lower Administrative and SME Demands
The right CEBP product offers a centralized approach to management, reducing the level of systems administration and SME effort required to design, implement and maintain the solution. Your CEBP platform can be the “hub” for notification distribution management, lowering the complexity and cost of managing multiple systems. And, loosely coupled integration with almost any cloud-based mass notification system is easily accomplished without special SME requirements. The right CEBP solution doesn’t ask you to throw all your other systems out the door. But, it should mitigate the headache of managing fragmented functionality across an array of disintegrated solutions.
If you want to talk more about CEBP, your operational workflow requirements and how Impact can assist you with your critical incident response and business processes, contact us today. Or, send your questions to Ask the Experts.