Unified communications systems have emerged into the mainstream from the hype cycle. Businesses are showing increased preference for unified communications systems over legacy systems due to the numerous advantages it offers – cloud-based solutions which are flexible and offer tools like video chat, screen sharing, instant messaging etc. It’s been interesting to watch the progress from phone systems which were built to support only phone calls, to Voice over IP (VoIP) which offered digital offsite access and email inbox integration etc. The benefits offered by unified communications systems are so great that even businesses which are very risk-adverse are seriously thinking of adopting it.
One of the major benefits of unified communications is that of flexibility – it helps in flexible communication between employees, allowing the modes of communication to change as per requirement. The availability of colleagues and the option of pinging with brief questions is enabled thanks to the combination of enterprise IM and presence, avoiding unnecessary phone call disruptions. Video chat helps in the event of a group needing to get together for a brief meeting. The latest project updates can be shared by a team member vias screen-sharing session. Unified communications systems let all of this happen without disrupting an individuals’ workflow, without the need of physical office space like a conference room. The absence of a conference room is no longer a handicap thanks to unified communications systems.
Other than enhanced productivity, unified communications systems are especially beneficial when team members are working in different locations. Regional offices or telecommuters can be brought into a company’s circle, no matter how far away they are. This not only improves productivity but team morale as well. What may be missed in instant messaging or email will be noticed in video chat, thanks to visual cues. For a manager carrying out frequent long-distance check-ins, this is definitely very useful. The implementation of UC will allow telecommuting staff to experience a daily work life that is similar to that of their main office colleagues.
Hitting the right balance between home and work becomes much easier with unified communications due to flexibility in working arrangements and policies regarding Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). This is especially useful due to the wider geographical distribution of teams, and the need to stay updated regarding projects during travel as well as after office hours. Even when one is outside the office, there is the need to remain connected, which is enabled with mobile apps for UC allowing employees to carry out tasks like calling from the office line, sending an instant message etc, while outside the office. Least-cost routing allows businesses to save money on mobile voice calls.
UC also offers flexibility in pricing and deployment. The up-and-down scaling of deployments as per requirement allows businesses to adapt more swiftly to changes in technology needs. Administration becomes simple with the benefit of disaster recovery. Years earlier, if enterprise IM, video chat, screen sharing etc had to be adopted, one had to purchase, implement and manage them separately; but now thanks to UC, such features can come in one package.