Unified Communications (UC) refers to the amalgamation of conversation channels in the workplace, to allow a more streamlined dissemination of information. So, why is UC important?
Synchronous communication — such as chat, instant messaging, video conferencing and IP telephony — allows users to speak in real time. Email and social channels, by contrast, facilitate an at-your-convenience, asynchronous means of information sharing. UC brings together all these communication channels through centralised, often cloud-based, software, giving users access to all the necessary collaboration tools, regardless of their device, platform, location or time.
A survey of 1,400 corporate executives, educators, and employees across a range of industries reported that 86% of respondents blamed lack of collaboration and ineffective business communication for workplace failures. In light of this, below are four key reasons to implement a UC system:
1. Improve productivity
The benefits of unified communications go beyond a simply faster means of sharing information, although needless to say, integrating your business communication tools allows your workforce to collaborate efficiently and complete tasks more effectively.
UC allows business applications to be used simultaneously, creating an omnichannel work environment with a consistent user experience. All employees use communication tools in the workplace, so its impact is felt across the entire enterprise. UC allows communication to take place in real time, workers to see other employees’ status and availability, and empowers everyone to choose the most efficient channel for their needs.
By centering work around the user location not the desk location, UC saves businesses time, improves workflow efficiency and helps gets projects completed more effectively.
2. Grow bottom line
Improving employee productivity is a strategic, long-term means to growing your business. However, many professionals including CIOs and CTOs are tasked with more tactical, quick win cost savings.
By consolidating and centralising existing communication and phone systems to a cloud-based VoIP, you can eliminate multiple contracts. This significantly reduces management costs, and the number of staff required to maintain them.
By adding an instant messaging facility, staff are less likely to pick up the phone for a quick question, reducing phone bill costs. For global companies with large call charges, the savings from such messaging services can be substantial. IBM, for example, references a study in which a business cut international long-distance charges by 30% through adopting enterprise-wide instant messaging. Calls can also be routed via the internet, rather than the phone networks, providing significant cost savings.
Many large companies use a hosted service for their audio and web conferencing services, billed at a monthly rate. By moving such facilities in-house — available through most VoIP phone systems — businesses can achieve significantly reduced overheads.
3. Talent acquisition
With each new generation comes new expectations and trends in the workplace. Our younger members of the global workforce — millennials and generation Z — have grown up surrounded by unified technology in their homes, schools and colleges. The use of digital platforms that allow them to switch instantly between channels is ingrained in their personal behaviour. It is not surprising, then, that employees want business apps that are as seamless and intuitive.
Millennials already account for a large section of the workforce and this is driving forward a greater need for innovation. In order to attract and retain talent from graduates and younger employees, your workplace will need to support a flexible, digital mindset in which staff can work from multiple locations effortlessly.
According to a study by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 40% of millennials state they would not consider working for an organisation that didn’t offer the flexibility of a digital workplace. In order to stay current and future-proof, you’ll need a robust UC system in place.
4. Supporting innovation
Unified communications is an essential ingredient to position yourself as a forward-thinking business that supports next-generation work practices. By expanding the integration between data sources and communication systems, businesses benefit from enhanced process continuity and insights.
If you centralise your CRM and ERP processes and combine them with your business communications, you streamline your entire supply chain, allowing for far more accurate reporting and forecasting. Using real time analytics and insight technology in such highly competitive markets can provide huge advantages for keeping your business innovative.
If you’re keen to update disunited legacy technology and attract the newest talent in the market, while saving costs and increasing your employee productivity, UC is the right place to start. At Genisys, we’ve partnered with ShoreTel to bring 360 degrees expertise in unified communications. Read more about our partnership and find out what we can do to streamline your business.