Business communication has come a long way over the past decade. This is especially due to businesses adapting IP-based solutions that offer Unified Communication (UC) features. As more and more companies are adapting to new technology, the demand for UC features has grown. Over 76 per cent of SMEs are keen on buying a UC solution over traditional communication systems. One of the major reasons why SMEs are adopting UC solutions is due to improved business productivity.
It is because of UC solutions that companies and their employees can participate in web conferences remotely and receive voicemail messages to their email while travelling and to see whether their co-workers are available to take calls. With time, UC solutions are becoming more sophisticated and are an ever emerging trend in the business world. This article explains how unified communications helps in improving business productivity by enabling mobility, collaborations and saving your employees’ time.
1: Enjoy Greater Mobility
In recent years, mobility at workplace has started to become an increasing topic of concern. The need of creating a more mobile workplace is the second most popular reason for adopting UC solutions. Proving your employees with greater mobility and the liberty to work remotely increases productivity and job satisfaction.
However, with rise in remotely working employees along with increased number of companies using hot desk, employees are needed to answer their desk phone from a variety of devices and from wherever they are working.
UC solutions enables greater mobility is several ways. This helps employees answer their desk phone from a soft-phone on their PC, smart-phone or tablet (whichever device they are working on). It prevents employees from giving out their personal contact as they can now take their phone number with them. Considering that over 60 per cent of employees carry out work communications outside office hours, having ‘one number’ is very handy. This feature is extremely useful for businesses having hot desk as it allows employees move around the office.
Soft-phones are another key feature of UC solutions which enables mobility. They are software applications which allow voice and video calls to be made over the Internet. With soft-phones employees can answer their office calls when they are away from their desk on their PC, smart-phone or tablet.
Companies all over issue corporate-owned laptops and smart-phone to their employees while others implement ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policies, connecting employees with UC has a much greater potential. However, it is the responsibility of the companies to choose an IT solution that is most suitable for them.
2: Communicate More Effectively
One of the most crucial benefits that unified communication offers is the presence feature. For any business it is beneficial to know where their intended recipients are whether they will be available in real time or not. If employees are able to know the presence status of their co-workers saves a lot of time and avoids unnecessary call transfers. Consider this example for better understanding, if you want to transfer a client’s call to an extension, you can first check whether that extension is available to receive calls or not. This way you can transfer the call to another available extension.
It is a practical feature for businesses with multiple office sites or for those with remotely working employees, where it is impossible to monitor the person physically to see whether they are available in their office or not. With this feature, you can also let your employees know your current status and controls how calls are handled. This allows employees to communicate more efficiently, eventually improving business productivity.
For instance, banks and other financial institutions forced their employees to sell PPI policies to customers. However, today with right and effective communication millions of victims can apply for PPI reclaim and recover their lost sum. Communication played a key role in bringing this scandal to light so that people could actually acquire much deserved amount they wrongly lost.
Another essential feature provided by the UC solutions is its ability to convert inbound faxes into PDF format and forward them to clients’ email. All this process is done without requiring additional fax server software. Similarly, voicemails can be converted to sound files and forwarded via mails. This improves business productivity by making sure that your employees are up-to-date with the latest information.
3: Boost Collaboration with Colleagues and Customers
With unified communications solutions, businesses can boost collaboration culture by allowing their employees to interact with one another more easily across different mediums. Over 62 per cent of the UK businesses believe that improved employee collaboration is a top business driver for unified communications.
Some of the features that boost business collaborations include,
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging
For companies that have software based UC solutions, it is now possible to set up video conferencing in fewer clicks and collaborate with colleagues or clients across the globe. Video conferencing has cut down the cost and time spent on business trips, adding to a significant difference to business overheads. Moreover, due to the emergence of WebRTC technology, video conferencing has become even more flexible than before.
Visual collaborations act as a valuable and effective way of communicating with clients and suppliers. It makes it easier for businesses to provide product demonstration and pitches. Businesses being able to discuss face-to-face compared to impersonal conference calls can boost creative collaboration and allow the company to make faster and better decisions. Non-verbal communications and visual interactions on the other hand can act as additional means to create successful conversations.
Instant messaging is another useful UC solution for businesses. The casualness and speed of instant messaging applications lets employees share their thoughts more easily and decreases unnecessary internal emails.
Instant messaging can boost your business productivity, especially when brainstorming ideas. Another key benefit of instant messaging is its ability to see your co-worker’s presence status. Whereas on emails, you have no indication whether they are at their desk or how long will they take to respond.