Unified Communications, or UC, is the latest buzz word describing the ability to work just as effectively and efficiently from anywhere, using any device at any time. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I personally work remotely once in a while, whether from home, while travelling, or from a conference. With today’s fragmented workforce scattered around the world, it is hard to imagine that UC is not yet table stakes.
For enterprises, UC comes in the form of various bundles of services – from Presence and IM, to Email, to Conferencing and Collaboration, MPLS and Voice telephony – all intertwined with your company’s business processes. Wow, this seems like an all-encompassing bucket… True, but UC will simplify your world and give you a significant amount of your time back! No longer is it necessary to look up folks in the company directory, manually dial their phone number, get their voice mail, only to start all over again 30 minutes later with the hopes of a better success rate. No longer will you miss a phone call unintentionally as folks dial your office number, but you happen to be away in a conference room.
One of the most common examples of UC is Unified Messaging, which is having all of your messages (email, voicemail, text, fax) come into a single inbox. You will get a notification email any time you missed a phone call (with caller ID, time, etc.), or an email with the transcript of any voice mails. Next to the caller ID, you can see their Presence indicator, queuing you as to when is a more likely time to reach them if you were to call back. Like my grandmother used to say, “Now we are cooking with gas!”
So, I hope you have gotten the underlying theme by now – UC enables your employees to be more productive for longer periods of time, while ensuring that they enjoy a good work/life balance. Sounds great, right? But let’s talk bottom line. As a customer, you probably already have invested in a legacy PBX sitting on your premises, a Microsoft Office suite hosted in a datacenter, and a VPN WAN securely linking all of your locations. Here is the best part – no one is pushing you to dive head first into the UC swimming pool. You can slowly dip a toe or two into the water before deciding to jump in with both feet. A great UC provider will work with you on a phased migration plan, allowing you to test each solution on a smaller scale, before implementing it company-wide. You can test before you buy, and spread out the transition over multiple quarters/years.
So what are you waiting for? Dip your toe into the UC waters and watch what happens!