Unified Communications is a term that covers communication systems which can be integrated into one application to optimise business processes.
Remote working is a rising trend in line with the flexible working initiative. With that in mind, more businesses are looking to increase collaboration across teams that might not be in the same location. Not only does Unified Communications increase collaborations internally, it has been proven to be advantageous of external communications.
What is Unified Communications?
A simplified example of Unified Communications would be Google.
As a search engine, you can find the answers to your burning questions within the blink of an eye. Google take it further by offering Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts and instant messaging. You can even place phone calls.
This is a really simple and easy way of thinking about Unified Communications; you have all of these applications at your fingertips, seamlessly integrated into one easy to use application; Google. Similarly, with Apple products (a touchy subject for some), you can seamlessly integrate your iPhone, iMac and iPad accessing each from the other.
You’ve got it, Unified Communications.
Unified Communications in the business world
Unified Communication in the business world is taking the ability to communicate via I.M., Video and Voice whilst sharing files, all in the one place. It also allows you to bring in people external to your organisation and collaborate.
You have a team of Sales Executives and often, they will be in meetings (getting your more business). How do you know if they are in a meeting? What happens if they receive a phone call for more business? Will they lose the business because the call wasn’t answered? What if an immediate answer is required?
Using a Hosted or IP phone system, the Sales Executives can arrange for their calls to be diverted through to the office (to a group of willing Sales Administrators) to ensure they are answered. The Sales Administrator can see who has diverted the call when it rings through and answer appropriately.
Whilst answering the call, the Sales Administrator (using a Unified Communications tool) can access the Executive’s calendar to check availability, book an appointment or arrange a scheduled call back. Any changes to the calendars would sync with the Sales Executive’s and the Sales Administrator can IM them to pass on any messages or details. The Sales Executive could then decide to place a video call to have a virtual meeting rather than a physical meeting and business can still be done because files and contracts can be shared via the Unified Communications tool.
So, you have a Sales Executive in a sales meeting, their phone doesn’t ring in the meeting because they have it diverted which means they are giving their client their undivided attention. They won’t miss any calls which could result in loss of business.
Also, any changes that happened with that call, they are notified about via IM and any physical changes are synced up with their own system. They are then able to speak and see customers without a physical visit to sign them up, easily.
Unified Communications effectively ensures your customer service is top notch, seamless and actually saves you money on attending physical meetings.
Are you doing Research on Unified Communications?
We have a selection of resources available (for free) on Unified Communications and Collaboration.
What type of systems can Unified Communications merge?
Unified Communications can bring together multiple forms of communication channels such as voice, video, software, data etc using one device. We have gone past the desk phone and email being enough.
Some key features of Unified Communication features:
- Instant messaging
- “Availability” – knowing if the person you need to contact is free or busy
- Conferencing applications
- Teamwork applications – to coordinate work on group projects
- Video conferencing
- Voice & click to call (from any directory, e.g. Outlook)
- Voice messaging – to e-mail and phones
- File sharing
- Directory integration
I have lots of different systems that I use – is that Unified Communications?
There are plenty pieces of software out there than you can utilise using one device which would make your business operate quicker BUT if you had one piece of software which did everything, that would put the “unified” in Unified Communications.
Unified Communications brings together different technologies to run in sync so that a business can run effectively. The idea behind Unified Communications is to “optimise business processes” and nothing does this better than an all-in-one solution.
What system does it all?
We recommend three different tools, Horizon Collaborate, MiCollab and Wildix Collboration. Like most collaboration tools, they depend on what phone system you have in place.