Unified Communications (UC) has rapidly become an I.T. buzzword. From its gradual emergence in the 1990s to its current rise to fame as one of the most sought-after solutions to improve employee productivity, UC has transformed organizational efficiency. With nearly 80% of companies using UC, it is important to have a strong working knowledge of unified communications. Below is a look at the key elements of UC, along with some of the many advantages enjoyed by companies that have adopted unified communications.
The Emergence of Unified Communications
“Unified communications” emerged in the mid-1990s when providers began to combine real-time communications with messaging. As UC continued to evolve, the goal became the expansion of routine communications beyond telephone-based applications. The Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF) was founded in 2010 to focus on creating and testing the compatibility between pre-existing communications tools and UC products.
Key Elements of Unified Communications
Unified Communications (UC) is the integration of a constellation of elements that combine to bolster employee productivity. Key elements of UC include the following:
- Presence: Shows whether a user is now available or able to communicate
- Conferencing: Employee collaboration through web, video and voice conferencing
- Mobility: Enables employees to communicate about work regardless of place
- Call control: The process used to monitor communications connections, increasingly with software
- Instant messaging: The real-time exchange of text messages using a software application
- Unified messaging: The ability to reach email, voice and fax messages anytime anyplace.
- Speech access and personal assistant: The use of voice commands to reach messages and calendar
- Collaboration tools: Premiere features to optimize ROI
- Business Process Integration (BPI): Facilitates operations between divisions, customers and vendors
Perhaps the most significant of these is presence, as this element is linked to improvements in employee productivity and team collaboration as outlined below.
Advantages of Unified Communications
The benefits of unified communications are clear in almost every level of company operations. From increased employee productivity to enhanced organizational performance, UC helps companies work more efficiently. Some of the most notable advantages of unified communications include the following:
1) UC bolsters employee productivity. One of the key ways that UC fosters employee productivity is through its ability to let employees to immediately see whether their co-workers are available to communicate.
2) Team collaboration is improved through UC. UC allows employees to see which members of their team are available to take a phone call or help with a customer request. By allowing employees to have real-time access to their co-workers’ availability, UC also fosters team collaboration.
3) Organizations will run more efficiently. As productivity rises for each employee and teams, an organization begins to run more smoothly and efficiently.
4) Customer service is improved. The customer service benefits offered by UC are impressive. From reductions in customer hold time to immediate access to information, UC helps improve customer service. Additionally, field service employees are able to offer their employer and customer with real-time updates on power failures, cable outages and weather.
5) Revenue is increased. When employee productivity, team collaboration, customer service and organizational efficiency are all improved, the results are higher levels of customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
It is difficult to ignore the benefits of unified communications, especially since they positively impact employees, organizations, and customers. Additionally, feedback from companies that use unified communications is overwhelmingly positive.
How an Industry Leader can Facilitate Unified Communications
One of the best ways to find out how unified communications can benefit your business is to seek the guidance of a trusted IT management company. Please contact us to learn how unified communications can help you improve employee productivity and meet optimal results for your business. We look forward to hearing from you.