Digital transformation is the future of business. You see it in the way that businesses approach hot-desking and remote working, providing more flexibility to team members and a better working environment for businesses. Employees no longer need to be ‘wired in’ to carry out their work, share files or manage projects – cloud working and VoIP calling are just some of the ways that this fluidity is becoming a reality for businesses.
With this transformation comes a multitude of solutions and online collaboration tools. The temptation to invest in ‘everything’ could be great for your business, but is it the most effective way to streamline your communications?
Understanding unified communications and how it can work for your business is key to facing the future head-on. But what exactly are unified communications and how can they help your business grow?
How has Unified Communications evolved?
Businesses use a variety of tools for communication and unified messaging. Unified Communications is the term to describe how various communication systems and collaboration software can work together to support a modern digital workforce. Communication and collaboration is the heart of today’s businesses, and it is important that your communication and phone systems work in harmony to provide the best results.
Unified Communications and Collaboration (or UC & C) is a recognised term in the business telecoms industry for this approach. For today’s businesses to operate effectively, flexibility is key. Having a global presence requires a seamless solution that works as well for someone at home or in another time zone as it does for someone in the home office. No matter where your employee is, unified communications ensures they will be able to access the same shared systems and project management tools.
The history of unified communications is tied to the evolution of the supporting technology. Originally, business telephone systems were a private branch exchange (PBX) provided and managed by the local phone company. Unified Communications (UC) is a business concept describing the integration of enterprise communication services such as instant messaging, video calling, voice messaging, IP telephony, mobility features, audio, chat, web and video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing, call control and speech recognition, unified messaging such as integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax messages. UC is a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types, irrespective of location.
All these options can be integrated and accessible, regardless of the system or technology that individual employees are using. UC or UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) combines voice and video, instant messaging, and rich presence as the next generation of office communications systems.
The Growth of Unified Communications
Unified communications is a growing area. It is predicted that the sector could become a significant part of the global economy. By 2024, it is predicted that the industry will have increased by 16.8% CAGR.
What is behind this growth? Businesses are expanding on a more global scale than ever before, helped by the possibilities that unified communications can bring. Teams no longer need to be sat next to each other to work collaboratively. But for this to work effectively, businesses need to be able to benefit from the appropriate systems. Affordability is also a factor in driving unified communications, largely as a result of more affordable cloud-based communications. By 2021, it is expected that 90% of IT executives will have introduced cloud-based UC.
New disruptive technologies such as webRTC are leading the charge in delivering exciting new features that significantly improve customer experiences and interactions. With WebRTC, you can make calls through any web browser, smartphone, computer, tablet, enhancing not only the employee experience but also the end customer engagement.
Why Choose Unified Communications?
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from unified communications. With multiple solutions available to make communication and collaboration more effective and more affordable, there are different approaches that can suit every business’ unique needs.
Having a simple, easy-to-use solution is key for successful unified communications. UC systems are linked together – regardless of whether you opt for a set up that is onsite or on the cloud. This ensures that the systems are easy to manage and fully scalable to meet individual business requirements. Signing in to multiple platforms becomes a thing of the past and employees are able to use the systems they need, when they need them.
A UCaaS Platform will also prove to be cost-effective for your business. All the tools for synchronous communication are provided in one package, typically through a single monthly fee. This reduces the need for multiple payments to different suppliers, keeping accounting clear and neat. UC is a scalable system, ensuring your business will only pay for the products required.
However, the savings don’t end there! International calls and video conferencing costs can be greatly reduced through UC. Not only that but having improved communication tools reduces the need for travel, which can help your spending targets as well as sustainability commitments.
Using a single platform provides multiple benefits for functionality. With all communication software and systems on one platform, you can ensure faster response times and increased productivity. Information is passed quickly to relevant parties, reducing the delays that typically cost your business time and money.
The way businesses operate is changing. An expanding global economy needs improved mobility to be able to work effectively. Businesses need to maintain flexibility to ensure they achieve optimum levels of efficiency, and to stay competitive within their industries. For businesses with remote workers, the option to access the relevant tools from a range of devices is invaluable, while also bringing greater flexibility to employees for whom their desk is the only place they can work.
Advanced features ensure Enhanced Management and Performance
Unified communications are constantly evolving, benefiting from advances in technology that allow better functionality and better integration. Businesses can take advantage of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software, with end to end integration, enabling click to dial, or contextual screen popping. Telephony features include call screening, call notifications, presence and unified dial plans. There are also a variety of apps and tools already accessible on the market for businesses using these systems, with recommendations available for your business’ unique requirements.
Improving Customer Support Operations
Customers are at the heart of your business. Being able to improve your customer support via unified communications, can deliver better results for your business. Flexibility, timeliness and convenience are all important to your customers, who want to be able to contact you using email, phone, unified messaging, chat and your website. With UC, it is possible to achieve brand continuity and offer a higher standard of service. This is due to the fact that the customer interaction history is immediately accessible through the systems provided. It can guarantee a greater customer experience, building brand loyalty and that vital word of mouth that is essential to attracting new customers.
Communication and Collaboration
Communication is key to any successful business, regardless of its size. Improving communications should be a vital part of any ongoing communications strategy to ensure both internal and external communications are working effectively. Unified communications works for both areas, helping to share knowledge through communication while facilitating better collaboration so that teams can work together to reach business goals.
The solutions provided by unified communications ensure employees can communicate via a number of channels, including VoIP, video conferencing, chat, mobile applications, as well as browsers. Collaboration via shared screens provides more effective project work, with real-time editing saving time and hassle. Having up to date information is important for businesses to work smarter, and unified communications could have a surprising impact on workload and productivity.
Is Unified Communications the right solution for your business?
All businesses can benefit from unified communications. Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, can benefit from a tailored service to suit their size and scale, with a product that meets the exact specifications. As the business grows, the scale can also be increased to ensure uninterrupted levels of service.
Transform your business today
With an increased level of productivity, a higher standard of customer care and fantastic reductions in business costs, unified communication solutions could transform your business.
If you are interested in finding out more about unified communications, get in touch today. Our friendly team are ready to discuss the possibilities and make recommendations that are tailored to your business needs.