The term ‘unified communications’ has been born from the growing inter-connectivity of the modern business landscape. When we look at all the tools we use to communicate, it becomes clear that we’re using more and more individual programs for specific functions. For example, a telephony system that doesn’t allow video calls, so we need an additional piece of software to allow video.
This is a problem that unified communications looks to solve, essentially bringing together all of your communication tools in one place. With so much outsourcing, remote working and digital transformation, simplifying communication is a key for businesses moving forward.
What is Unified Communications?
Unified communications refers to the way we connect with others in our workforce. It’s all about how we communicate and collaborate, although it’s important to remember that collaboration tools are often separate to communication technology. Even this gap though, is closing in, with many tools offering both communication and collaboration solutions. Like tools that allow a video call, but also screen sharing.
The best types of unified communications will bring together several aspects of communication such as:
- VoIP and video calls
- Instant messaging
- Screen and document sharing
- Web conferencing
- Calendar and meeting management
Cloud technology sits behind most good unified communication systems, and it allows users to access the system from anywhere in the world, at any time.
Why do we need this technology?
Simply, the workforce, and indeed the way we work, is changing. Geographic location is no longer a hindrance when it comes to finding the best people for your business. At least, it shouldn’t be if you’re equipped with the right tools. Here are just a few of the reasons unified communications is a concept all businesses should understand in 2020.
No longer are businesses restricted to looking in their own city for the best staff. Similarly, no longer are the best staff restricted to only working in their city. Employees are chasing more work-life balance and more flexible working conditions. With communication and collaboration systems, your team can connect from any location without impacting productivity.
As mentioned above, people want more out of their working life. Salary is no longer the major concern for staff, and technology means they have more options to move. If you want to retain the best people, you need systems in place to give them the flexibility they need.
Firstly, in today’s digital world, communication and collaboration is essential. You can now allow people to communicate easily and collaborate just as though they’re sitting next to each other. Furthermore, if you’re outsourcing specialist functions to external staff, you can have them working closely with your in-office team, regardless of where they are in the world.
What are the benefits of Unified Communications?
If you’re not convinced you need to consider unified communications, here’s the reasons why you should.
If you’re paying subscriptions to several SaaS providers for different communication tools, there is likely to be a better, more complete solution. Furthermore, if you’re hosting your own telephony systems rather than using a cloud system, you’re also spending money you don’t need to.
Finding a communication and collaboration system that fulfils all of your needs in one package can save you plenty of overheads.
Using a single unified communications system can greatly improve the general productivity of a business, which has an impact on employee-satisfaction, team relationships, and revenue/profitability.. Allowing users to connect remotely and collaborate in an instant using any medium they choose is bound to boost productivity. Furthermore, a single system can reduce double handling of work. For example, scheduling a meeting and having to manually enter it into a couple of different systems.
A better user experience
Nobody wants to be logging on to multiple communication platforms. The technology we use at work is difficult enough to wrap our heads around without complicating it further with multiple IDs, passwords, user interfaces, and shortcuts. A unified communications system allows people to work simply and easily, by doing exactly what the name says: unifying your communications under a single system..
Scaling a cloud solution to grow with your business is a far easier process than that of a physical one, due to the replicable nature of cloud-based services. Adding extra cloud phone lines to your unified communications plan, for example, is cheaper and faster than installing new physical phones in your office. The services you pay for can grow as your workforce does on-the-fly, reducing the risk of paying for things you don’t need.
Look for options perfect for your business
Unifying your business communications may require a bit of work in planning for the future, and auditing the current state of your communications, but is well-worth the effort in the long run. Remember that you likely have a range of business systems in use already, so you want to ensure everything will work with a unified communications solution, and vice versa. A solution which integrates with the critical software and systems you currently use will make the transition to UC much easier and minimise any downtime.
It’s important to find a unified communications provider who can provide absolutely everything you need, and will ever need.. Additional tools and services like video conferencing or conference calls can be handy to have available without needing to bring another provider to the party. If you’re ready to make the switch to unified communications, speak to one of our experts at Express Virtual Meetings today.