Why your business needs unified communications

November 30th, 2016 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

Unified communications (UC) is the buzzword for putting all your communication applications in one faster, cheaper and easier to use basket. By adopting unified communication tools, a business can save money, become more productive and get an edge over less tech-savvy competitors. So let’s take a look at what unified communications are, the advantages they offer and how you can leverage UC tools to benefit your business.

What is ‘unified communications’?

Unified communications is a mix of integrated platforms that provide convenient access to cross-channel communications from a number of different technologies including computers, mobiles and VoIP telephony.

A UC solution normally consists of a variety of elements, such as IP phones, a network infrastructure (i.e. switches, routers, firewalls), a server or hardware platform and a range of applications or services including VoIP, instant messaging, email, voicemail, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, cloud-based apps, mobile apps, social media and teleconferencing and video conferencing tools.

A UC platform allows for multiple forms of collaboration between employees and provides the potential to work effectively from any mobile device anywhere in the world.

UC benefits for business

Unified communications offer a number of benefits for small to medium businesses including;

  • Ease of use – because all your communications are in one place (either onsite or in the cloud), they are easy to manage, easy to scale up or down according to business needs and easy for employees to use. Access is via a consistent, unified user interface, with no need to check lots of different platforms.
  • Cost savings – a UC platform combines all the tools you need into one package with one monthly fee, rather than paying for separate communication products. You only pay for what you need and because you’re using VoIP telephony, you’ll save a considerable amount on local and international calls, mobile calls and audio and video conferencing. Effective communication from any location also reduces business travel expenses.
  • Increased productivity – having all your communication tools on one platform decreases response times between dispersed employees. This can improve productivity, encourage faster decision making and accelerate sales cycles by providing the right information to the right people at the right time.
  • Greater mobility – unified communication tools can be accessed from any mobile device, making remote working a very real option. The benefits of a remote workforce can include higher productivity (remote workers are more productive than their office-bound colleagues), lower overheads (the ability to downsize premises) and a more loyal workforce (less absenteeism and higher retention rates due to a better work/life balance).
  • Better collaboration – unified communication tools allow for improved collaboration between management, employees, suppliers and customers. They allow for easy access to information and greater transparency, which reduces the risk of communication breakdowns and misunderstandings.
  • Greater security – UC data can be encrypted and decrypted while being transmitted by phone, video, or email across the network, ensuring that sensitive information cannot be intercepted.
  • Advanced features – unified communications give you access to advanced telephony features such as short number dialling, call forwarding and multiple device rings, plus access to advanced tools such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. There are a host of ready-made apps and tools out there ready to be used in your business.
  • Improved customer service – when clients make contact seeking problem resolution through different media (i.e. email, phone or website), their customer interaction history is instantly available through UC, so brand continuity is maintained and a better customer experience can be provided.
  • Improved green credentials – unified communications can help to reduce your business carbon footprint by reducing your need to travel and allowing for remote working, both of which help lower carbon emissions and energy consumption.

Is UC right for your business?

Unified communications are particularly appropriate for small to medium businesses, which have the flexibility to choose a UC solution tailored specifically for their needs. AsUC platforms are fully scalable you can add to your communication toolbox as your business grows and expands.

By providing a suite of tools that collectively save you money, increase your productivity and improve your ability to connect wherever you are, unified communications are rapidly reshaping the workplace and should be a serious consideration for every business wanting to remain competitive into the future.

Speak to one of our friendly team for more advice on whether Unified Communications are right for your business.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.