With technology evolving at a rapid clip and transforming the way people work, it’s becoming increasingly important to digitalise an organisation’s end-to-end processes and unify communications. Fluid communication has always been essential, but now, as organisations undergo broader digital transformation, and embrace new ways of working, implementing a Unified Communications (UC) strategy is just as important for overall flexibility as it is to the bottom line.
With a single system to manage multiple communication tools, UC technologies allow you to enhance typical business processes with standard and real-time communications. Instant messaging, presence information, VoIP, call control and video conferencing technologies, work hand in glove with email, integrated voicemail, SMS and fax. Implementing a UC strategy, businesses can expect:
- Greater employee productivity
- Enhanced customer experience
- Significant cost efficiencies
- Simplified compliance environment.
For remote workers, UC technologies offer employees flexible communications options and intuitive user interfaces whether they’re using a smartphone, a tablet, a desktop, an IP phone or a headset to communicate. It’s easy for employees to have calls to their desk phones forwarded to mobile devices when they’re not in the office. Video conferences can be set up from a smartphone while working from just about anywhere.
Simply by logging in with the right credentials, employees are equipped with all the communications services they need to connect with customers and colleagues.
UC strategy to keep everyone connected
As the customer experience becomes increasingly digital, and workers embrace flexible working practices, a UC strategy is designed to keep everyone connected, allowing workers to communicate across different interfaces and platforms. Of course, the tangible benefits of a UC strategy can vary considerably from organisation to organisation, depending on specific communication needs. It’s critical to assess your organisation’s capacity to embrace new ways of working before you put your UC wheels in motion.
Step 1: Assess your current network
It’s critical to find out whether your current infrastructure will be able to support UC technologies and identify equipment that needs to be upgraded, and review performance issues such as bottlenecks. Where there are network issues, it’s important to put a remediation plan in place to fix the problem to optimise network performance.
You may have to upgrade your LAN/WAN to support traffic coming from phones and digital data sources or set up your UC solution into a new environment. Be prepared to expand your storage area network to accommodate voice messages and emails.
Step 2: Define profiles for each type of user
Not all employees have the same UC needs because different employees will need different tools to support their day-to-day operations. Knowledge workers who work on projects around the country will need the full range of UC technology. While those desk-based employees in one office or those at a manufacturing plant will have simpler needs. Whereas, C-level executives will probably need video conferencing services, while call centre agents will benefit from instant messaging.
Given the range of needs, it’s critical to spend the time working out how your end-users do their work, and shaping profiles for each type of user, fully describing their UC technology requirements.
Step 3: Choose your UC deployment method
On-premise, cloud, or a hybrid platform? It’s important to consider the right deployment method for your business in terms of your resources, your growth plans, and your budget. Each approach has its own benefits and possible drawbacks. In the case of an on-premise solution, the upfront costs, maintenance, and resources required to run the system internally can be considerable – so, it’s important to understand whether there’s a business benefit of owning and managing the system.
Of course, taking the cloud route means you don't have to install hardware to get started, and most of your costs come as predictable expenses for software licenses that can be budgeted for as operating expenses.
Keep everyone connected
These days, being able to work closely with the team doesn’t restrict you to having to have all team members in the one office environment at the same time. With a UC strategy, you can move your business into a future where employees can connect with customers in new ways – where they can work and collaborate effectively anywhere, anytime, and gain full visibility of projects at a granular level anywhere in the world.
Get started with our UC audit
Want help kickstarting your UC strategy? We can help you assess your current network for UC. With our UC expertise, we’ll be able to help pinpoint areas where you can save money, improve security, and enhance productivity.