Original Post Melissa Coen
By now, the average company is using some variety of unified communications (UC) solution, as the technologies have become part of mainstream communications. UC tools enable integrated communications services to be scaled and customized to each enterprise, maximizing daily business interactions. The real-world experience is that UC makes it easier for employees, clients, and vendors to connect, communicate, and collaborate with one another.
How Does Unified Communications Advance and Improve Today’s Business Operations?
A recent survey from West shows that while email and voicemail are still part of the daily communications tools used at enterprises, almost 70% of the 250 IT Managers surveyed indicated that their companies regularly utilize other advanced UC tools to improve the efficiency of their enterprise. Some of the top UC tools in use include:
- Audio conferencing (79% of companies surveyed)
- Web conferencing was a close 2nd (76%)
- IM/presence came in 3rd (73%)
- Followed by video conferencing and screen sharing (68% and 67% respectively)
- Less widely used was Social Collaboration (43%)
How Do You Measure the Impact of UC?
But now that the prevalence of unified communications tools in the average enterprise has significantly increased, how can we measure the impact of their effect on businesses? One part of the answer is found in the way in which all of the individual UC tools are integrated to reduce transactional friction. For example, a UC tool that allows a user to access their email and voicemail from a single inbox saves time and increases response times – all of which contribute to gains in employee productivity.
In fact some of the motivations for switching to UC tools in the West survey also provide indicators for business improvements. For example, 53% of respondents identified that increasing productivity was their main reason for investing in a new UC tool. Other reasons to add these tools included:
- Reduce business costs
- Integrate with customer or vendor systems
- Ease the task of supporting outdated or inefficient tools
Implementing UC yields numerous benefits to an enterprise. Companies are able to realize enhanced productivity and workplace collaboration using UC tools like IM and presence, along with document sharing through video and web conferencing utilities. The ability to talk and share files with anyone related to a project or task improves information access, which in turn encourages the flow of the decision-making and action-taking processes.
UC as a Means to Save on Costs
With the implementation of UC tools in a cloud or UC as a Service (UCaaS) model, enterprises find themselves saving money in a variety of ways.
- Using UCaaS combines a reduction in capital outlay with scalable operational costs as employee numbers fluctuate and business needs change.
- Enterprises deploying UCaaS find that their IT support costs diminish as the requirement for ongoing support decreases, along with the scope and reach of maintenance and update costs.
- Organizations see lowered travel expenses as UC and UCaaS solutions simulate face-to-face meetings and document sharing as well as obtaining virtually instantaneous responses to data requests. As a result, organizational productivity continues to rise while costs are lowered.
Additional UC Benefits
Deploying UCaaS in an organization also means that users will always have access to the latest proven communication technology available in the marketplace. As such, they will be able to easily communicate with teammates, clients, and vendors on similar platforms – avoiding compatibility issues and fostering interoperability. Moreover, enterprise employees are ensured that UCaaS tools are always available – anytime, anyplace. Hosted UC service providers have SLAs in place to guarantee business continuity, even in the event of local outages. So employees stay productive, regardless of any possible disaster scenarios.
Tied into the availability of UC and UCaaS solutions is the way in which these tools can be used across almost any location with an IP connection, and over virtually any device. For example, with software and UC solutions like Cisco Jabber, Cisco Spark and Cisco Spark Hybrid, and Microsoft Skype for Business, conversations and collaboration can start on a PC, laptop, or tablet and continue on-the-go using a smartphone. This arrangement gives employees the ability to be productive while in transit, while working from remote offices, or while travelling. And more productive and efficient employee activity typically translates to higher sales and profitability for enterprises.
As indicated by IT Managers and employees alike, unified communications helps enterprise businesses to increase efficiencies, lower costs, and improve productivity across the enterprise. UC solutions are the intelligent, scalable way to provide integrated communications services to enterprises, maximizing inter-organizational, customer, and vendor interactions. Be sure to check out the full results of the survey and see the infographic.
Communicating and making connections with employees and decision-makers are how things get done. If your company is not included in the majority of enterprises taking advantage of all of the benefits UC provides, make a change today and partner with a UC solution provider to improve your enterprise operations! Reach out here to learn more!