Why Unified Communications Is Essential to Remote Work and Business Continuity

As business leaders implement new policies for returning to work, they are also reevaluating plans for enterprise resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns caused businesses to react quickly, testing their agility and ability to recover. During this stabilization period, there will be a pivot towards flexibility and improved business continuity plans for the “next normal.”

Business Continuity While Working Remotely

No one could predict that organizations would have to quickly embrace remote work due to the potential spread of employee illness. As a case in point, a Gartner Business Continuity survey revealed that only 12% of organizations felt that their business continuity plans were prepared for the impact of COVID-19. Without these plans in place, revenue has been affected, some businesses have shuttered, and others are unable to reopen.

With the continuation of the pandemic and the uncertainty of a vaccine, 74% of CFO’s are planning to permanently shift to remote work in order to manage costs. The onus is now on IT and security leaders to consider what employees need to successfully work from a remote location so that business can continue as usual. Leaders are looking to cloud-enabled services and unified communications to minimize future business disruption and support remote collaboration.

Built on NEC’s award-winning infrastructure, UNIVERGE BLUE® offers affordable services to ensure business continuity and employee productivity and collaboration while working remotely.

Why Unified Communications is Essential for Business Continuity

Remote work and telecommuting options have steadily been increasing, with 159% growth in the past 12 years, driving an increase in UC implementation. As some organizations were considering unified communications before, there is now an added benefit of increased business continuity and disaster recovery, post-COVID-19.

Moving to a UC solution takes services such as telephony, file storage sharing, video conferencing, contact center and data backup to the cloud so they are accessible from anywhere at any time. Cloud-enabled services create an additional layer of security to real-time work processes, guaranteeing availability beyond weather events or pandemics. Systems and collaboration tools remain available to remote work locations, often at higher speeds, to enable workflow and increased productivity outside of the normal office environment.

Since the unexpected impacts of the pandemic, work and team collaboration have been changed for good. It is imperative that a disaster recovery plan account for remote work options. Organizations must include UC in their contingency plan to be agile and continue business as usual.

Remote Collaboration and Effective Communications

As more employees are expected to work from home, remote teams must find new ways to work together. Unfortunately, remote communications can be easily distorted or misinterpreted with delays and a lack of physical and social interaction. Another frustration is when remote teams choose ad-hoc services, creating more complexity, security holes and maintenance challenges for IT and security teams.

Streamlining communication complexity is the key to improving remote collaboration, enhancing security and productivity, as well as saving time, finances and resources.

It’s important that employees don’t lose the power of face-to-face meetings while remote. The good news is they don’t have to! With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE® MEET Video Conferencing solution, you and all of your colleagues have access to powerful virtual collaboration tools to help keep your business moving forward—even when employees aren’t in the office.

What’s more, NEC is giving MEET Video Conferencing and Collaboration to existing customers and new UNIVERGE BLUE® customers for FREE for the rest of the year!

*Some Restrictions Apply*

Responsive Remote Contact Center

One of the challenges with remote work is continuing to provide a high-quality customer experience. Implementing unified communications optimizes contact centers, offering increased control and simplified maintenance through a single platform. Instead of working through multiple tabs or applications, contact center agents are more agile, with one interface to handle customer needs efficiently, from anywhere at any time.

Contact center performance can be measured through monitoring, recording and analytic reporting. The use of unified communications for contact centers also allows for easier scalability and deployment for remote workers. With a streamlined remote contact center, organizations can hire agents in any location and ensure top-notch customer responsiveness.

Secure Disaster Recovery

No business continuity plan is complete without secure backup and recovery to manage and protect critical proprietary information and data. Working remotely can increase security and compliance challenges, as sensitive data may be stored unencrypted on remote workstations, especially if there is no singular platform for accessing company resources.

When moving to cloud-enabled services for responsive communications or collaborative work practices, IT and security teams require simplified and more secure data storage. The cost-savings of implementing a secure, cloud-enabled data backup and recovery platform also include ongoing access to the latest hardware and software without the need to maintain the infrastructure or personnel.

Why Choose NEC UNIVERGE BLUE® for Remote Work and Business Continuity?

The new remote work challenge for IT and security teams is managing multiple types of software, infrastructure and other platforms across many locations. UNIVERGE BLUE offers secure, cloud-enabled unified communications and collaboration solutions that are fully integrated, scalable, cost-effective and easier to maintain than on-premises hardware. The streamlined communications platform improves employee and customer experience with secure access from anywhere for team collaboration and a centralized hub for information.

NEC also offers a phased approach and flexible delivery model for organizations moving to unified communications. Consider UNIVERGE BLUE solutions to:

  • Improve remote employee productivity and collaboration through greater mobility and communications
  • Reduce IT costs through integration with other cloud-based applications and simplified management
  • Reduce risk with secure, compliant data backup and recovery

Contact your NEC Account Manager or visit the UNIVERGE BLUE website to learn more.

What’s New with UNIVERGE BLUE? Now Announcing General Availability for U.S. Partners

Last month, NEC announced the launch of the new generation of our UNIVERGE BLUE™ cloud communications portfolio.

Today, I am extremely excited to share that UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE are now generally available for NEC’s U.S. Business Channel Partner Community. This is phase 1 of a global rollout during 2020 that will ultimately include partners around the globe by 2021.

What is NEC UNIVERGE BLUE™ CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE™ ENGAGE?

Businesses need the ability to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time, both internally and externally. They need tools that are easy to deploy and use, and provide users with an integrated experience. The need for a flexible and adaptable solution to support a remote workforce will extend beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic and we built this solution with this in mind.

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE are born-in-the-cloud solutions designed specifically for businesses of all sizes and the channel partners who serve them. Built on innovative and proprietary technology, the solutions are elegant, reliable and easy to deploy, while remaining highly scalable and extremely cost-effective.

Our cloud-based unified communications platform, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT, combines a full-featured cloud-based phone system, team chat, video conferencing and online meeting plus file backup, sync and share, all available to users through desktop, web and mobile applications. CONNECT helps improve the communications and collaboration of businesses, while being easy for channel partners to sell, install and support.

Our fully featured Cloud Contact Center as a Service solution (CCaaS), UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, combines robust functionality with carrier-grade reliability and world-class deployment and support services. It’s designed to fit business needs from the small, single channel to the large and sophisticated omni-channel environment, and can help any business differentiate from the competition where it matters most – the customer experience.

Brought to Market Exclusively through NEC’s Business Partner Community

NEC prides itself on its commitment to building strong relationships with our channel partner community and delivering true innovation, and our new generation of UNIVERGE BLUE strengthens this commitment.

Last month, we spoke with industry analyst Elka Popova, Vice President at Frost & Sullivan, about the news. “NEC has the opportunity to accelerate the conversion of its vast and entrenched customer base to cloud services such as UCaaS, CCaaS, meetings, and file sync and share,” said Popova. “The partnership will also greatly improve NEC’s and its dealers’ competitive positions as they will be able to capitalize on the ongoing customer migrations to cloud services. This will result in new revenue opportunities, more predictable revenue streams and stickier customer relationships for NEC and its channel partners.”

Available today through NEC’s Business Partner community, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE complement NEC’s existing offerings, while creating new opportunities for partners to earn increased revenue through new programs designed to facilitate deeper customer relationships.

NEC Channel Partners can choose between three different go-to-market models:

  • Customer Ownership
  • Revenue Share
  • Agency Model

The Customer Ownership and Revenue Share models are now available for Channel Partners located in the United States, with the Agency Model being available in June. For NEC’s loyal Canadian Channel Partners, a launch date will be announced very soon.

Here’s What Our Partners are Saying

NEC gave a handful of exclusive partners early access to UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE. The partners were able to test the product first-hand and get it in front of select customers. In just the past month, NEC has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Forerunner Technologies is extremely excited about NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and the NEC/Intermedia relationship. Our clients have a pent-up demand for this dynamic delivery model and the migration to the cloud with advanced collaboration applications. This model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows Solution Integrators better ability to control the end user experience while keeping costs in line. Congratulations to NEC on this move!” – Paul Diesu, CEO of Forerunner Technologies

  • “We’re excited to take part in the full launch of the new NEC UNIVERGE BLUE! This will be a turning point in the future of NEC UCaaS solutions and sales, and looking forward to presenting the fresh new look to our current customers and new prospects.” – Scott Ellman, Director of Sales, Advanced Communication Solutions

  • “NEC Blue delivers a complete public, private and hybrid cloud offering to NEC SI Partners. The NEC Blue allows the SI to deliver this offering in an Ownership, Revenue Share or Agency Model. NEC Blue Team provides Inside Sale Support, Marketing and technical support to the SI, allowing the SI to engage in any opportunity. DTC has engaged NEC Blue Team in multiple call center opportunities. NEC Blue can provide a simple to very advance call center solution. A truly SI centric model.” – Gordon Maccani, President, Digital Telecommunication Corp

I couldn’t be more excited for NEC and our partners as we deepen our roots in the UCaaS and CCaaS markets and help our customers transition to the cloud. So come join us, it’s going to be a fun ride! For more information on UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE, visit http://univergeblue.com. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about our Channel Partner Program, reach out to us via the form below.

Become a Partner

We welcome your interest in our products, solutions and services. If you have any questions about the Channel Partner Program, please submit your query below.

Introducing the New Generation of UNIVERGE BLUE

This week, I’m extremely excited to share that NEC has entered a global partnership with Intermedia, a leading provider of cloud-based communications solutions.

Together, we are introducing an NEC-branded suite of fully integrated, born-in-the-cloud solutions to help businesses communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time. It’s the new generation of our UNIVERGE BLUE™ cloud communications portfolio, built on Intermedia’s innovative and proprietary technology and backed by its world-class support.

The way businesses work has changed.

The COVID-19 pandemic will forever change the way businesses think about work. It’s not enough for businesses to accommodate a few remote workers. Businesses now must be flexible and ready to adapt to teleworking at a moment’s notice.

Today, more than ever, businesses need the ability to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time, both internally and externally. While recent headlines may highlight a seemingly smooth transition to a remote workforce at global scale, there are still tens of millions of workers who do not have the ability to work remote. This is largely because many businesses are still using on-premises solutions and haven’t found a partner that could help them seamlessly transition to the cloud.

As the current global market share leader in on-premises business phone systems, NEC understands the obstacles that many of these businesses face. We chose Intermedia because their platform offers our customers a seamless integration between premises-based and cloud solutions.

NEC’s commitment to cloud-based communications

Business communications is in our blood. For 120 years, NEC has transformed the way the world works through Information and Communications Technologies. As mentioned before, we are the global market share leader in on-premises business communications systems. In 2015, we launched our Smart Enterprise initiative which is committed to helping businesses meet the demands of today’s digital workforce, and helping customers migrate to the cloud is cornerstone to that initiative.

Businesses have been migrating to the cloud for years now, and the pace at which they are migrating only gets faster. While we had developed and deployed our own Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution in the United States, we came to understand that supporting and expanding this home-grown offering globally at the current rate of market expansion was unrealistic. We needed to align with a born-in-the-cloud provider, like Intermedia, and focus on expansion through our long-established global channel partner network, currently more than 2,000 strong.

We selected Intermedia for many reasons. For starters, our market research, channel partner feedback and customer feedback all conclusively pointed to Intermedia as the trusted market leader in cloud communication services. Additionally, Intermedia’s cloud platform is highly scalable with frictionless deployment options and simple user administrative tools, meaning a frictionless experience for our customers’ employees and better customer experience overall. Intermedia’s platform also provides seamless migration from on-prem to cloud – perfect for NEC’s customer base.

NEC and its global network of channel partners are already going the extra mile for our customers working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. This partnership with Intermedia will allow us to do even more to advance business continuity and allow more workers to work safely from home while increasing their productivity.

Introducing NEC UNIVERGE BLUE™ CONNECT, UNIVERGE BLUE™ ENGAGE

Businesses need tools that are easy to deploy and use, and provide users with an integrated experience. We built the new generation of UNIVERGE BLUE with this in mind. 

Built on Intermedia’s innovative and proprietary technology, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE are born-in-the-cloud solutions designed specifically for businesses of all sizes and the channel partners who serve them. The solutions are elegant, reliable and easy to deploy, while remaining highly scalable and extremely cost-effective.

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT is a cloud-based communications platform for business that combines a full-featured cloud-based phone system, team chat, video conferencing and online meeting and file sync and share, all available to users through desktop, web and mobile applications. It helps improve the communications and collaboration of businesses, while being easy for channel partners to sell, install and support.

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is a cloud-based contact center designed to fit business needs from the small, single channel to the large and sophisticated omni-channel environment. A fully featured Cloud Contact Center as a Service solution (CCaaS), it combines robust functionality, with carrier-grade reliability, and world-class deployment and support services. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE helps businesses differentiate from the competition where it matters most – the customer experience.

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE will be brought to market through NEC’s robust Channel Partner community. For more information on UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE, visithttp://univergeblue.com or reach out to us via the form below.

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NEC Extends Special Offers to Customers During COVID-19 Outbreak

As we all attempt to come to terms with the effects that the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is having on our nation, protecting the safety of our communities, medical professionals and those that are working to provide essential services must be an unwavering priority. For those organizations that have found themselves struggling, NEC is here to help as best as we can with communication needs. As a global leader in advanced communications and collaboration technology, we are working with customers who provide essential public services to keep the lines of communications and cooperation open. We stand by our corporate pledge to deliver solutions and services of social value to provide safety, security and operational efficiency—and this commitment has never been more relevant.

In support of nationwide efforts to keep those working safe and connected, we can assist in solving communication issues as they arise, as well as provide economic and cost-effective remote communication tools to keep businesses operating and employees contributing when working from home.

As part of NEC’s commitment to our customers, partners and society, we are extending a variety of offers to our existing customers to provide relief to those affected by COVID-19. These offers aim to assist those who are on the front-line and those working remote by providing organizations and employees with the resources needed to stay connected, efficient and safe during these unprecedented times; and we are pleased to announce that we have already been able to assist hundreds of customers through these programs. While today’s circumstances have created many societal and professional challenges in the world, NEC is committed to helping organizations minimize the effect of communication restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus.

Supporting Remote Workforces

While many organizations have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies to adhere to local social-distancing guidelines, effective and flexible remote voice communications is a requirement now more than ever. To help support the massive number of organizations whose employees suddenly transitioned towards a work-from-home environment, NEC is extending special offers to help keep remote employees safer, more connected and efficient while working at home.

IP Station and Softphone Licenses:

An IP station and soft phone capabilities can turn an employee’s PC into a virtual business telephone. A softphone and IP station are ideal for those working remotely and now have the need for alternative and additional means of communication.

NEC is offering customers the option to utilize IP Station and Softphone Licenses on their NEC voice communications platform systems now through June 30, 2020 with the option to return these licenses with no restocking fees. This offer includes all of our softphone offerings including the UNIVERGE SP350 softphone, UNIVERGE ST500 smartphone client, Multiline Client Mobile (MLC) and UNIVERGE 3C soft media phone (SMP).  If you are an existing NEC IP communications platform user, your system already has the technology to immediately begin deploying remote softphone clients.

NEC will waive the add-on Software Assurance (SWA) requirement for these licenses at the time of purchase. Licenses may be returned to NEC for credit at any time prior to June 30, 2020 and NEC will waive all restocking fees.

Reduced Collaboration Pricing:

NEC Meeting Center (NMC) provides a ‘suite of applications’ which includes, audio conferencing, web collaboration, predefined dial-out conferencing and mass notification for all of NEC’s communications platforms. This comprehensive suite equips your employees with the tools they need to help them remain connected, efficient, and informed. Your employees can remain responsive and productive through real-time sharing of information and most importantly, remaining safe while servicing customers from their own home.

We have reduced the price of NEC Meeting Center (NMC) conference and collaboration solution in order to support those who had to make the sudden transition to a remote work environment. NEC Meeting Center (NMC) special discount offer is available through July 1, 2020 in response to COVID-19.

Protecting in-office workers

In industries such as healthcare, hospitality, retail, food service, manufacturing, non-profit organizations government agencies and critical infrastructure, there are employees who do not have the luxury to transfer their work to their home. For roles in these industries such as nurses, doctors, warehouse personnel, store managers, government personnel and restaurant staff – the need for on-campus mobile devices still exists.

Reduced IP DECT Handset Pricing:

NEC’s IP DECT i766 and G577 handsets have an IP65 rating (IP65 Enclosure Rating – IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against water projected from a nozzle), meaning they are water spray protected. As such, they may be cleaned easily without concern of damaging the units. This rating is not common for on-campus mobility solution devices.

NEC is currently offering an introductory bundle at a significantly reduced price to help protect those who are on-campus providing essential services. We are extending the IP DECT intro offer through June 30, 2020 in support of the men and women that are going into work every day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please let us know if we can assist you in anyway during this unprecedented time and if you would like more information about NEC’s communication and collaboration solutions. If you would like to learn more about the special offers, please reach out to your NEC account manager. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with any relevant information as it becomes available. The safety and health of everyone concerned is NEC’s main priority. On behalf of every NEC employee, stay healthy and thank you!

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