How Unified Communications Helps To Increase Productivity

Unified Communications Blog

Unified Communications is an important business component meant to optimize processes and increase user productivity.  It is something that relies on successful technology in order to be utilized to the fullest. As technology has evolved, so has the efficiency of Unified Communications, which is why Five Nines has made it a part of who we are and what we do.

You may be wondering, what exactly is Unified Communications? What is UCaaS vs. Unified Communications? How does it increase productivity? Is it something we already have or is it something we need? Keep reading, and we will answer these initial questions for you. 


Unified Communications is best defined by Gartner as the products (equipment, software and services) that facilitate the interactive use of multiple enterprise communication methods. In simpler terms, Unified Communications is used when technology is helping automate and unify user and device communications to streamline processes and improve the end-user experience. It's meant to make life easier.

The term Unified Communications goes beyond the definition above, as these solutions can be delivered in two different methods which we will break down for you below.

Not sure what this looks like for your organization? Click below to schedule a FREE technical walk through to better understand your IT environment, no strings attached! 

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Simply stating the term Unified Communications (UC) represents on-site solutions requiring hardware and onboarding. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), however, represents cloud delivered solutions. UCaaS has been growing in popularity in recent years, and while both are consistently used, there is a difference between both solutions.

For organizations who already have an established IT environment, it is sometimes preferable to integrate a UC solution into that environment, as they already have the pieces in place needed for a successful transition. UCaaS makes things simple which other businesses also prefer, as it is a solution where users simply have to download and log in. Brands such as Office 365 and Skype utilize UCaaS platforms. According to Grand View Research, the global UC market will exceed $75 billion by 2020. Some organizations will leverage both options, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Unified Communications.


According to a Gartner report, businesses realize just 43% of technology's potential benefits. One benefit they may be missing is the increase in productivity UC and UCaaS provides. Here are some ways Unified Communications in all forms helps to increase productivity in the workplace:

  • Effective Communication: UC helps with the ability to communicate frequently, being aware of when colleagues are free or busy, and helps alleviate the stress of playing phone tag.
  • Flexibility: UC allows for flexibility. Have remote employees? Giving them the ability to answer incoming communication from a variety of devices will help to increase productivity.
  • High Levels of Collaboration: Interaction over multiple platforms is easy to do with UC, and helps promote collaboration across multiple teams in multiple locations through features such as visual collaboration and instant messaging.

Unified Communications and/or UCaaS are both technological assets that should be used within your IT environment. The more consistent, collaborative communication is supported, the more your organization will be able to get done in less time. Increase the level of communication and productivity for your business at the same time by utilizing a Unified Communications solution.

Building an efficient IT solution can make the difference between your workplace technology becoming an asset or a liability. In this webinar, we will discuss how you can make your IT an asset by going over the right tools, processes, and people that will keep your technology running smoothly.

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Topics: Equipment, Business Continuity, Working Remotely, Productivity, Unified Communications, UCaaS

It's Officially 2019: Set Your IT Goals

IT Goals Blog

2019 is the year to make your technology a business asset if it isn't already. Sometimes, that can be easier said than done. Just like you set your new year's resolutions, however, you can set your IT goals now to implement throughout the year.

If you'd like to skip straight to a Five Nines Power Hour about utilizing your IT as an asset, click below:

IT As An Asset

Now that it is officially the new year, it's time to set your IT goals. Here's how you can set attainable goals, budget for your technology, and make your IT an asset in 2019.



To set attainable and measurable goals where you will gain the most benefit, you must first set your IT priorities. You may want to put a strong focus on your IT security, or improve your internal/external processes with specific pieces of technology. Maybe, you want to give your company a competitive edge by utilizing IT to decrease downtime. You could also put a focus on the current IT trends that drive business efficiencies such as Wi-Fi networking technology, IT automation, or updating your IT infrastructure and software.

According to the 2019 State of IT study, larger organizations (5,000+ employees) are more likely to adopt newer technology trends because of their needs and budget size. Smaller organizations, however, are trying to improve their current infrastructure and processes. Be sure to set goals that are a good fit for your organization, and focus on how you would like to see your business technology compliment organizational success. Ensuring that all goals are able to be measured and tracked is also a key component to this process.

Related: IT Strategic Planning for 2019 and Beyond



Goal implementation is best complimented by budgeting and planning. It may be helpful to sit down with your IT team to develop a preliminary 1/3/5 year budget plan, so you have a direction of where your business technology is headed. According to Spiceworks, the need to upgrade outdated IT infrastructures is the biggest driver of IT budget increases in 2019. With a budget plan, you will have the ability to anticipate these expenses before they happen.

After surveyed, 89% of companies expect their IT budgets to grow or remain steady in 2019. This year, smaller businesses are making significant increases to their hardware budgets, while large enterprises are increasing their cloud budgets. While both are valuable, it all depends on your type of organization. Just as you set goals that are right for your business, you must also allocate an appropriate budget plan as well.



To make your IT a true organizational asset, put a strong focus on planning, tracking, training, and documentation when trying to meet and plan for your tech goals.

Internal IT Audit: Audit your current IT environment by determining what resources you already have, as well as what you may need in the future.

Disaster Recovery Plan: If something were to go awry, is your data backed up and secure? Take the time to develop a detailed disaster recovery plan that you can follow in the event of an emergency.

User Awareness Training: Train your users on best practices when navigating the web, or how to spot potentially malicious emails.

Download The Social Engineering Red Flags Flier

Consistent Strategic Planning: Take time each quarter to strategically analyze your business technology, and track the progress of your goals.

Documentation: Be sure to document everything, whether it is consistent tech issues that arise, metrics that coincide with your goals, or your month-to-month budget.

While it may seem like a lot of preparation, the more you put in to your business technology the more you will gain from it. Make 2019 your year to set and achieve the tech goals that will benefit your organization. Don't want to do it all alone? Click here.  


What does it look like when IT becomes an asset? Click below for the free Five Nines Power Hour "IT As An Asset", as we dive into IT responsibilities, service requests and security, as well as technology standards, budgeting, and IT training and knowledge.

Click Here For The Free Webinar


Topics: IT, Equipment, Strategic Planning, 2019

When You Should Reboot Your Devices And Why


"When was the last time you restarted your computer?" Does that question sound familiar? Whenever a user is facing a tech issue, typically one of the first troubleshooting steps is to try rebooting their device.

Why is restarting your device sometimes the quick fix you need to get back on track? Why is it the first step engineers will turn to when you tell them your tech issue?



Before attempting to reboot, restart, or reset your device, it's important to know the difference between them as one is more permanent than the others. Rebooting and restarting your device are inherently the same thing, you are turning the device off and back on again in order to start with a clean slate so your programs can run normally. Sometimes, rebooting/restarting may be referred to as a "soft reset", which means the exact same thing. Your programs and settings will remain the same when you reboot or restart.

Don't let the term "soft reset" get confused with completely resetting your device, or conducting a "hard reset". Resetting is equivalent to erasing, as you are returning a device, program, or software back to its' factory default state. Resetting your device will erase all of your settings and programs, so you will want to be 100% sure before you press the reset button.



Today we will be focusing on rebooting/restarting as it is more common when troubleshooting. Restarting a device gives the user a clean slate the work with, as any background processes or troublesome code gets wiped clean. These background issues are fairly common in devices, and can arise in several ways. Restarting your device could resolve background processes causing a decrease in speed that are still running, shut down browsers that are using up too much memory, as well as reconnect to Wi-Fi networks that are being interfered with. Occasionally, your hardware or drivers may malfunction, or your computer's RAM is utilized to its' limitations. Rebooting your device could help resolve many of those issues.

You may be wondering, how you will know if one of the issues above applies to your device? You may not be able to diagnose exactly what is wrong with your technology, but it should be fairly obvious to you if something is wrong, as you will begin to experience performance issues.



It is best to restart your devices at least once per week. Set a calendar invite to restart your computer consistently. For example, you could dedicate your first 5 minutes every Friday morning to rebooting. Aside from weekly reboots, if you are experiencing performance issues the best first step to begin finding a resolution is to restart your device. These performance issues could range from your device freezing, crashing, or overheating. Restarting could solve the issue right off the bat and save you time, however, if the issue keeps happening you will want to reach out to your IT team.

While it may be a hassle to close out all programs that you are working on, restarting your technology is a key troubleshooting step for simple tech issues users experience daily. The next time your device isn't cooperating, we hope rebooting is a helpful step in the troubleshooting process.


Having an understanding of the basic functions of your network will be helpful when reporting a future tech issue. Click below to download the Five Nines Power Hour: Building An Optimal Network, a free webinar that will teach you all about network basics, network design (the good and the bad), as well as troubleshooting and monitoring.

Click Here For The Free Download

Topics: Equipment, Rebooting, Troubleshooting

Tech Gadgets Worth Buying On Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday is a day with no lines and no stress. Where users can jump online, find deals, and purchase the holiday must-haves. 

Where do a lot of Cyber Monday sales lie? The technology products. According to a report by Adobe following Cyber Monday in 2017, online sales last year reached $6.59 billion, making it the largest online shopping day in history. 4 of the 5 top sellers were selling different pieces of technology.

There will be endless tech deals as Cyber Monday progresses. If you are online shopping, here are the tech gadgets that are most worth your attention and investment.


There are plenty of laptop deals out there today on Cyber Monday from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Apple, and more. Laptops are one of the best tech gadgets to invest in as their functionality expands beyond simple day-to-day uses. The average lifespan of a laptop is between 3-5 years, and while it may operate past that time frame, the amount of files, updates, and software can really take a toll on a laptop's hardware. If you notice your laptop is overheating consistently, running more slowly, and giving you problems on a weekly basis, it might be time to invest in a new laptop. What better time to do so than on Cyber Monday?


It seems as though we blink and there is a new, better phone out there, each one more advanced than the last. Cyber Monday is full of deals on Apple, Samsung, and Google cell phones from many different stores and vendors. Your cell phone is one of the most utilized pieces of technology in your daily life, as it is always with you and is consistently used to stay in touch with the people in your life. If you are ready for an upgrade, Cyber Monday might be the best time to enhance your every day device.

Your mobile device is very personal to you, holding all of your information within the click of a few buttons. While it's always on you, that doesn't mean it cannot be hacked. Here are 3 signs that will tell you whether your phone has been hacked.

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Around 164 million units of tablets were shipped worldwide in 2017. Why have these devices become so popular? The functionality and pricing has put it at the top of many wish lists over the last couple of years. Tablets, whether created by Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft, Lenovo, etc., all have one thing in common: a simplified approach. They are easy to travel with, and are very useful for entertainment and communication purposes. Combine that with the price points, especially on Cyber Monday, and it's no surprise they continue to grow in popularity.


2018 has been a big year for smart speakers such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as the accessories that support those particular smart speakers. The increase in popularity could be attributed to the quick access to information as well as the hands-free tasks that these smart speakers provide. Asking, "Alexa, what is the weather today?" as you are getting ready for work, or telling the Google Assistant to create a grocery list for you has drawn in a crowd of on-the-go individuals who love to utilize different pieces of technology. According to research by NPR, over 43 million Americans own a smart speaker, that is 18% of the adult population in just 2+ years of existence. Not to mention, 61% of these individuals are promoting others to purchase a smart speaker device as well.

Cyber Monday is a great way to save money on great tech gadgets on the market. As always, be sure to only make purchases through secure websites. You can check the safety of a questionable website here:

Curious about the cost of NOT replacing old equipment? Click below for a free presentation slide download filled with helpful stats and additional information.

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Topics: Equipment, Cyber Monday

Is Video Conferencing Technology Worth The Investment?

Video Conferencing Graphic-1

Video conferencing has taken the business world by storm as technology has progressed throughout the years. Because it is such a growing phenomenon for business communication, it can be overwhelming for small-to-medium-sized businesses to determine how this technology should play a role within their organization.

We'd like to help you with your research. Below you will find information about the need for video conferencing equipment in the business world, the potential advantages for business communication, what hardware you would need, as well as how to determine if this technology is worth the investment for your particular organization.



According to a study conducted by IDC, video conferencing is becoming more and more prevalent as last year 64% of companies had video conferencing setups in small "huddle" rooms that sat five or fewer individuals. These setups help connect meetings for all aspects of your business, whether it's internally or externally. Studies have shown that 87% of professionals say they feel more connected and engaged with their colleagues as video conferencing technology has increased in connectivity. The same goes for clients who cannot travel to you as well. In today's world, meetings can be anywhere at any time with the right technology in place. Like any business tool, the rise in video conference calls are due to a rise in productivity and effective business communication efforts. These advantages have led to video conferencing technology becoming more of a priority for organizations.



Whether it's a company wanting to connect with remote employees, link multiple offices together for a meeting, reduce unnecessary travel expenses, or simply streamline a voice call so that everyone can see who is speaking, there are plenty of advantages to having video conferencing technology at your disposal. Companies are able to meet more frequently with a higher attendance rate, and they can be there for their clients in a way that feels more personal if their clients are not within driving distance. 65% of individuals also believe that video conferencing is the best method of screen sharing and collaborating on content. Five Nines utilizes Skype for Business (soon to be rebranded to Microsoft Teams) for video conferencing needs, and our team has the ability to host an HD meeting with up to 250 participants, share our presentations, collaborate on an Office document together in real time, poll our audience for feedback, and remotely share control of workstations from anywhere so we can best assist our partners. Reducing costs and increasing efficiency is the best equation when analyzing the investment on a piece of technology.



Your hardware needs are as unique as the room you are putting a conferencing system in. A small-to-medium-sized conference room with a flat screen TV on the wall would do well with an all-in-one camera/speaker/microphone mounted underneath the TV, but you may need to move the TV up higher on the wall to make sure the camera can view everyone at the table. A larger conference room with a long table and an over-head projector will need a front or side wall mounted camera, multiple microphones, and multiple speakers to accommodate everyone and ensure a consistent experience. Acoustics can also play a large role in conference quality. If you have a room with a noticeable echo, you should look to adding sound dampening wall panels or acoustic ceiling tiles to reduce the reverberations.

Interested in the possibility of video conferencing equipment, but not sure where to start? Click below to request a free IT Assessment of your environment, no strings attached.

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From the outside looking in, you might not think video conferencing equipment is something your business needs. Perhaps you are thinking that all of your employees are in the same office, or all of your clients are driving distance from you. Video conferencing might not be necessary for every organization, but it can streamline meetings for almost every business. Investing in video conferencing equipment would make the most sense for organizations who have several locations that need to work together, have the need to host all-staff meetings, but do not have enough space to host all users at once, or who need to have the ability to connect with clients more quickly than driving to them.

Video conferencing helps to build the feeling of connectedness with your remote workers or clients you cannot meet with face-to-face. Having the ability to see the individual you are meeting with helps participants to be actively engaged, pick up on body language or visual cues, and keeps your meetings efficient and timely. Investing in video conferencing equipment is worth the consideration, as it can change your whole meeting dynamic and productivity.


Interested in learning more about Skype for Business as well as why Office 365 is more than just email? Click below to download our free Five Nines webinar about Office 365 tools that enhance collaboration and how Five Nines helps clients leverage Office 365 tools and packages.

Power Hour: Office 365 - More Than Just Email


Topics: Office 365, Equipment, Working Remotely, Video Conferencing

It's A New Year: Predicted Healthcare IT Trends

IT Trends in Healthcare.png

2018 is finally here, bringing new innovation and trends for healthcare technology. The International Data Corporation FutureScape conducted research and developed predicted IT trends for the industry in 2018. We'd like to share our insights on 3 of these key predictions that will strongly impact healthcare IT this year.


Mobile technology is growing rapidly, and will only continue to expand in 2018. According to Health Data Management, digital mobile engagement by patients and providers will increase by 50% by 2019, which means we will be seeing consistent advances in mobile technology this year. Individuals on both sides of the healthcare industry will begin to access medical information on their phones or tablets, which will facilitate new forms of communication. Maintaining patient privacy on mobile devices, as well as application navigation will need to be a priority.


Patients are gradually starting to become reporters of their own medical data through online patient portals to save time filling out paperwork at the office. The patients themselves are beginning to have the ability to play a role in their medical care by generating their personal data within healthcare systems. This will help them feel more in control of their medical history as they have the information they need at the click of a button. The data that is stored and collected over time will help providers determine a more personalized treatment plan for each patient. The technical aspects behind the scenes will need to be efficient and accurate to utilize these mass amounts of data.


By this time next year, it is likely healthcare companies will have begun to utilize their data and studies to share across their industry. This will help to provide real stories and evidence that may help solve similar medical cases or advance current treatments. This availability of information will push the industry to innovate and grow. IT will play a role in maintaining the quality, security, and ease of access to this information as it is collected. 

All of these adjustments will result in IT teams needing to continue to streamline healthcare technology environments so that privacy, security, and productivity are maintained during the technical advances throughout 2018 and beyond.


Want to learn more about remaining privacy compliant with Healthcare IT? Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the free Five Nines presentation on Privacy - Technology in Healthcare.

 Click Here to Download & Watch

Topics: Outsourced IT, Equipment, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Healthcare

The Cost of NOT Replacing Old IT Equipment


The Cost of Not Replacing IT Equipment

If you drove a truck that you had to constantly fix, pay for, and wasn't meeting your driving standards, you would replace it, right? It's time to have the same mindset about your IT infrastructure. This session will help to equip you with information from research studies that provide insight to the hard and soft costs of waiting to replace equipment, and the effects it will have on an organization.

Miss the NE Tech Summit? Download our free presentation for a breakdown of aging infrastructure, performance degradation, increased security risks, and much more. 


Dana Olson - Director of IT Services at Five Nines

Sit back and learn about the NE Tech Summit Session on Replacing Old Equipment.

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Topics: Security, Equipment