What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications is the integration of an enterprise communications system. This combines multiple forms of communications such as Voice, video conferencing, data services, document storage and software applications into one single environment. As organisations of all sizes have to grow, merge and adapt to digital technologies they are often left with a confusing plethora of systems that are not centrally controlled, managed, billed, and that do not adequately support employees who work remotely.
What are the components of Unified Communications?
- Instant messaging such as Microsoft Teams
- Presence – knowing if a contact is free or busy eg. using the Mitel Phone Manager
- Unified messaging– the ability to retrieve all your messages from one central location
- Conferencing applications– to connect larger groups and allow them to share information and ideas eg. Microsoft Teams
- Teamwork applications– to coordinate work on group projects eg. Microsoft Planner
- Video conferencing– on your PC, mobile device eg. Mitel MiVoice 250
- Mobile applications– extending UCC to smartphones and tablets
What are the business benefits of Unified Communications?
The ability and ways for your employees to communicate effectively is critical for the day to day running of businesses. Unified Communications enables real-time presence across your organisation. This gives your employees an instant insight into their colleagues’ availability to connect via voice, IM or video.
Waiting on a colleague to reply to an email can often take some time or can be lost if its during a busy period. However with an instant messaging solution, responses are much more likely to be more immediate. Using a Cloud-based Unified Communications solution such as Microsoft Teams, employees can move seamlessly from an email conversation to a video call or conference, which makes for a much faster decision-making process. Additionally, having clear visibility of when your colleagues and on what channels, reduces any delay in communication.
However, it’s not just the channels that matter though, it’s the devices your employees use too. An effective Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy typically forms part of the overall unified communications approach – an any-device strategy for an overall business communications system can greatly improve user adoption and retention which in turn maximises overall productivity in the workplace.
This improves your organisation’s overall processes and productivity which makes it easier for your employees to connect with each other and collaborate effectively.
Another benefit of Unified Communications, employees can collaborate seamlessly together. While working on projects, time is wasted sending files and data back and forth. Since all of the information is available under a single pane, like in Microsoft Teams, it reduces the amount of time spent on doing these things.
Teamworking components are key to enabling real-time collaboration even when in-person interactions are not feasible for example an employee who is a field sales representative. As all changes are available in real time via Microsoft Teams, this makes it very easy for your team members to coordinate with each other.
Another of the benefits of Unified Communications is the cost savings involved. Consolidating the cost of voice, document storage, instant messaging, video conferencing and more into one single product, which means there’s only one bill to manage.
Video conferencing can help organisations cut the cost of travel to face-to-face meetings with clients as well as helping businesses of all sizes optimise the use of their office space.
Flexibility in the Cloud
As your business requirements change, and with a Cloud-based Unified Communications solution, it is easy to scale up your operations without a large capital investment.
As a result of implementation, there will be a reduction in the amount of on-premise hardware required and that needs to be supported, which in turn frees up valuable space and resources within the business.
Remote employees are connected
As remote working becomes more and more common in the workplace, Unified Communications enables employees who work in a location of their choice while also giving them enterprise grade security – meaning that your business data is secure at any location.
Adopting a complete Unified Communications and collaboration strategy within your organisation lets your employees communicate the way they prefer which enables mobility and flexibility within your organisation. Unified Communications also provides users with a consistent experience across a desktop or mobile device, which eliminates the need to use a specific device or be in a specific location.