Unified Communications, or UC, helps businesses communicate more efficiently by bringing all their communication channels together into one streamlined, cloud-based system.
This article will bring you up to speed on what UC solutions look like, how its features can benefit your business, and where industry trends are likely to take us over the next few years.
Why is UC Crucial to Business Communications?
For several years now, most industries have seen their teams spreading out geographically – in many cases across the globe.
A nuanced and specifically targeted collection of communication tools has emerged to support the new face of teamwork. These include team-based chat environments, VoIP telephony, and online video conferencing, to name just a few. Leveraging these new ways of working together, countless companies have built a more skilled workforce, a greater diversity of ideas, and resilience to unexpected changes.
But this abundance of choice has brought its own challenges. A proliferation of tools and team perspectives has come at a cost: complexity. Information can easily become encased in silos, or worse, completely overlooked or buried in the endless traffic of incoming information.
UC has become a vital business solution because it tames that complexity. It unifies all those competing channels into one place, equipping teams with a way to think less about which software platform they should use and more about how to share information to get the best possible result.
The Benefits of UC
UC is a technology that can help businesses rise to the challenge of building a cohesive way to communicate, both internally and with their customers. Here are some of the key benefits of UC.
Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of cloud hosted PBX systems:
Less Administrative “Busy” Work
Imagine working in an office where your keyboard, monitor, mouse, and phone were situated in separate corners of a room. UC performs the communications equivalent of bringing your tools together into one integrated environment.
It becomes much easier to intuitively understand how to use email, chat sessions, voicemail, and phone conversations cohesively when they’re integrated into one central location. Plus, processes of interpolating data from one channel to another that were once manual and time consuming can now be handled automatically by UC software.
The end result? Your workforce is better positioned to lift their gaze from busy administrative tasks to thoughtful analysis.
All Your Important Data and Decision Points in One Place
A non-unified approach to communication isn’t just chaotic, it also compartmentalizes important information.
Compartmentalized ways of sharing information cause duplicated effort. But worse, with every new channel comes a greater risk of missing something critical.
UC helps break down unhelpful data silos and this leads to better decisions.
Better Customer Support = Happier Customers
A TechRadar survey reports over 80% of employees prefer text-based messaging to communicate with potential customers. But despite a growing employee and consumer preference to interact via text, social media, email, and other channels, many sales-based companies still center the customer journey around phone calls.
UC unifies sales data into one place so a team of sales and technical people can see who their customer is, their history of interaction with the business, records of prior conversations, and sales data. Additionally, UC is proving an important piece of the puzzle for feeding the value-add of AI chatbot conversations and other AI touchpoints into customer relationship management.
UC allows sales teams to better understand what their customers want and to more effectively work as a team to meet that demand.
Recruit From a Larger Pool of Candidates
For most industries, remote office environments are here to stay. There’s every indication that your future workforce will strongly prefer continued remote work. Close to 60% of workers said they’d choose remote over onsite work, according to a recent study cited in UC Today.
Moreover, by equipping yourself with UC you face considerably fewer communication obstacles when recruiting outside of easy commuting distance to your offices—or even recruiting internationally.
UC positions companies to be a desirable employer in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Manage Large Remote Teams Effectively
With a large workforce working across multiple locations, team members can easily lose sight of who’s doing what, when they’re available, and how to efficiently mobilize a team to work effectively.
UC can go a long way toward solving this by giving team members the ability to see who is online in real-time, along with their availability. Where close management of a larger workforce of remote operators is necessary, line managers can track account logins and communication records across their entire workforce.
UC allows teams to communicate more effectively with less administrative friction.
Predictable Communication Costs
The significant investment of traditional on-site solutions can be replaced with a subscription style service that you can scale up or down in line with your workforce and communication requirements. So, it will likely cost less than the equipment and software of many conventional communication services.
For instance, Mitel MiCloud Flex has several service plan options, so you can subscribe to the features that are right for your business. This gives you the flexibility to mix and match services and easily adapt to your changing or growing business demands.
The Cloud can future-proof your business! Read more reasons why the C-Suite is interested in UC for their business:
UC Trends to Watch
Here are some Unified Communications trends to watch for:
Continued Disruption of On-site PBX
By combining unified communications with a hosted cloud-based PBX service like MiCloud Flex to handle your communications, teams can effectively work from anywhere. All the benefits of conventional PBX apply, but voicemail to email, group intercom paging, direct phone numbers, and a wide range of voice enhancements can work seamlessly alongside your company’s email, chat platforms, and databases.
Conventional on-site PBX simply can’t compete and hosted PBX solutions are gradually becoming the norm.
Flexible and Tailored Communication Solutions
Many industries are rapidly adopting UC and cloud communications, including professional services, healthcare, education, and retail.
With more configuration options added all the time, companies across these industries aren’t looking for generic UC products. Instead, they’re using the technology to tackle very specific challenges.
For example, a retail company may build a unified communications solution to cater to a mobile team of sales staff who operate mainly from their smartphones.
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A healthcare company might design a hybrid communications framework where sensitive data is stored onsite, but a wider ecosystem of communications data is shared via the cloud.
UC offers tailored solutions to specific communication challenges.
More Scope for Freelancers and Contractor Participation
“There’s a growing reliance on bringing freelancers and contractors into the workplace while supporting home and remote working strategies,” stated Rami Houbby, Mitel VP of UCaaS Cloud Sales, during a recent interview for UC Today’s 2020 UCaaS Roundtable.
By allowing companies to efficiently onboard freelancers and contractors for short-term or rapid turnaround work, UC will continue to help companies react quickly to emerging opportunities.
What is UC? It’s an Opportunity
The world won’t become a simpler place anytime soon. This is as true of business communications as any other challenge we face today. A singular and aligned platform for communications won’t just bring order to chaos, it’ll position your company to grow and adapt quickly when new opportunities or threats emerge.
If you’d like to learn more about how a UC solution can help your company build meaningful conversations out of a jumble of communication channels, check out our favorite UC solution for small to medium businesses and call us at (781) 235-5520. We can tackle your unique business challenges head-on and work with you to build smart, practical solutions.