Why universities need more unified communications


A high quality unified communication and collaboration as a service (UCCaaS) solution can provide a business with innumerable benefits, which is in part why enterprise adoption rates of these systems is on the rise across Canada and around the world. However, universities have been lagging behind their private sector counterparts in this regard. Despite lingering, misguided fears higher education institutions may have, UCCaaS can dramatically boost internal information sharing and processes at just about all colleges.


Universities have enormous amounts of information to disseminate to students, their parents and many others, including campus alerts, policy changes and other noteworthy tidbits. In the past, many higher education institutions used paper-based mediums such as memos and letters, but these formats no longer cut it today. The modern student is increasingly tech savvy, with the Pew Research Center finding in a June study that 65 percent of those between 18 and 24 own a smartphone and 23 percent have a tablet. As such, these young people want campus administrators to further use tools like UCCaaS that cater to their digital demands.


Dramatic changes have occurred in telecoms – in particular mobile services taking over a lot of what was previously fixed line calling and users increasingly choosing to bring their own devices,” ComputerWeekly contributor Rob Bamforth wrote in a recent blog post. “This, coupled with the spread of IP in the telecoms networks leading to a more relaxed way of billing (cheaper calls by the minute) by connectivity, not time – has shifted the notion for UC acceptance a little further towards the needs of the user where it should really belong, and not the network manager.”


Overcoming lingering UCCaaS cost concerns
While colleges may have recognized the efficiency benefits of UCCaaS for a while, such systems were long seen as too expensive for universities, especially cash-strapped public institutions. However, thanks to IT trends such as server virtualization, installing and maintaining these kinds of systems are now more cost-effective than ever before, EdTech Magazine reported.


“One of the more exciting – and relatively recent – advancements that makes UC truly more affordable is IT’s ability to host UC suites on virtualized servers,” EdTech contributor Andy Lausch wrote. “Because each UC application no longer requires its own physical server, IT gets more bang for its data center buck. Server consolidation and lower power and cooling costs are some immediate benefits that come to mind when considering virtual UC. The centrally managed technology can scale easily and serve as the cornerstone of an institution’s disaster recovery plan, eliminating the need for redundant hosts.”


Higher education institutions looking to optimize their IT infrastructure design and install a high quality UCCaaS solution should partner with FlexITy, one of Canada’s largest IT consulting services firms. In comparison with lackluster managed IT services providers, FlexITy makes sure its clients get great systems by combining best-in-breed technology – FlexITy is the only Canadian company that offers the full suite of Cisco UCC solutions – with a thorough analysis of current business processes. This multi-tiered implementation strategy can help ensure that a university is able to maximize its investment in UCCaaS.