Unified Communications is a buzzword, an umbrella term covering all communications systems that can be integrated in order to optimize business processes. Having said that, it’s a very important buzzword that can improve the way your business runs.
So what is it?
Take, for instance, Google.
I would be happy and willing to bet on the fact that we’ve all heard of and used Google at least once in our lives. As a search engine, you can find the answers to your burning questions within the blink of an eye, but think about Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts and the use of a Google account for 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 systems at your fingertips seamlessly integrated into one easy to use interface.
Similarly with Apple products, a touchy subject for some I know, but for those avid fans, you can seamlessly integrate your iPhone, iMac and iPad accessing each from the other. You’ve got it, Unified Communications.
Got it but how can it help my business?
So how can this work with your business applications?
PC Mag discusses Unified Communications (UC) as “The real-time redirection of a voice, text or e-mail message to the device closest to the intended recipient at any given time. For example, voice calls to desk phones could be routed to the user’s cell phone when requires. E-mail intended for a desktop mailbox could be sent to the user’s PDA or turned into speech for a phone message”
Let’s give you an example of Unified Communications in a business:
You have a team of Sales Executives who will sometimes be with clients. How do you know if they are in a meeting? What happens if they receive a phone call for more business but lose it because the call wasn’t answered?
Using a VoIP 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.
Whilst answering that call, the Sales Administrator could access the Executive’s calendar to check when they will be back in and choose to redirect that call to another Sales Executive who is available (because they will have access to all of their calendars), book an appointment for that Sales Executive or arrange a 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.
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 (which happens to a lot of businesses who don’t answer their phone.) 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.
Unified Communications brings together different technologies to run in sync so that a business can run effectively.
So why should you jump on this bandwagon?
Flexibility – one of the key reasons businesses are increasingly making an investment in Unified Communications. It gives staff the access they need wherever they are, at whatever time, increasing the efficiency of the business as well as the efficiency of your employees.
Information can flow freely throughout the organisation, helping workflows to be managed more closely and with the opportunity for staff to pick up messages through different mediums, they can become more efficient and effective at their jobs, in turn, boosting the bottom line of your company.
Mobility – With workers increasingly needing to do their jobs from home or whilst on the go, Unified Communications enables them to connect with co-workers at all times. Flexible working is a rising trend and it empowers the users to work from, not only home, but anywhere in the world. Mobile devices become extensions of the corporate network so workers can be productive anywhere.
Environmentally friendly – It has been found that on average 46% of companies that have utilized Unified Communications, realise travel savings of more than 5 days per employee annually. With the public increasingly concerned about being “green,” the implication of UC can considerably cut travel time and therefore the carbon footprint of the corporation. This also means more time spent getting the job done, rather than spent on unnecessary travel.
Privacy – With the introduction of Cloud Unified Communications, you will experience greater levels of data privacy, a more exclusive company interface and a much more secure connection.
No matter the size of your business, customer demand is high and operational schedules tight and as much as technology has advanced over the last few decades, we’re still only given 24 hours in the day.