As the world of communications becomes ever more ‘virtual’ in the move towards cloud technologies, Unified Communications (UC) is the next big trend for businesses and marketers.
Many businesses in the 21st century are likely eager to integrate UC, if not already using UC systems. Digitally transforming business is now commonplace practice, and UC supports the process.
What is Unified Communications?
The integration of communication systems within a business is called Unified Communications (UC). By combining communication tools and services under one system, businesses can optimise processes, increase productivity, encourage collaboration and elevate customer experience.
UC enables users to control communications from one platform, streamlining processes both in real-time (instant messaging, conference calls, call screening etc.) and non-real-time communications (e.g. email). Through reforming communications and utilising one system, communication capacities are greatly increased and made more efficient. Instead of having multiple systems to conduct various services, UC aims to integrate all communications under one.
Engaging in UC systems goes hand in hand with businesses becoming more and more virtual. UC enables business to be conducted anywhere by anyone, reducing the need for static physical space in which to work.
Examples of Unified Communications
Much of the processes which constitute UC are taken for granted and now commonplace, such as the ability to make a call from your work number from both your computer and mobile device. This unified experience, occurring regardless of device, is a standard UC service, increasing productivity and presence.
With the world becoming ever more connected and reliant on technology, businesses are increasingly implementing software solutions that are unified and mobile friendly. As employees are gradually encouraged to bring their own devices, UC affordances such as having one phone number across devices can help maximise productivity.
Google Voice is a well-known UC system focussing on voice communications. The free service provides a single phone number for use across multiple devices, voice to text transcription of voicemails, call recording and conferencing. This platform unifies multiple communication tools and provides services to maximise and streamline business procedures.
UC often facilitates team collaboration, allowing quick and easy communication within a business, in and out of the business space. Microsoft Teams, part of Office 365, gathers groups, facilitates workload management, and encourages collaboration with SharePoint capabilities. Microsoft Teams’ UC features include voice and video calling, conferencing, (group) personal messaging, plus enterprise-wide telephony phone systems. Other mostly cloud-based UC systems with collaboration benefits include Webex Teams (Cisco) and Circuit (Unify).
Difference Between Unified Communications and Voice over Internet Protocol
UC is different to VoIP communication systems, the main contrast being the span of the services they provide.
VoIP relates to telephone processes whereby analogue audio signals are turned into digital data transmitted over the internet. VoIP may be encompassed by UC for internet telephony, but UC also incorporates real-time communication and collaborations services like screensharing, instant messaging, and call control, for example.
Therefore, although VoIP may be a part of UC, VoIP is restricted to its role as internet-based calling, whereas UC has a much larger scope, encompassing enterprise-wide communications.
Benefits of Unified Communications
Depending on the specific business and technology use, UC may be considered as more or less beneficial according to varying aspects and affordances, but generally, UC is regarded as fundamental for streamlining processes and bettering communications offerings.
Some businesses may value mobility, whereas customer service organisations may prize call queue monitoring. Some of the general benefits of UC are:
- Presence/mobility – employees are able to conduct business from anywhere, enabling time to be efficiently used, for example when driving between meetings. Platforms may give users the chance to signal availability, like an ‘active’ or ‘offline’ status on instant messaging, or provide alternative details to contact. This way, customers or employees with pressing issues can seek the correct person and subsequent solutions quickly and easily.
- Flexibility – without the need to buy and maintain separate systems, multiple business locations and workers can be unified under one system. This is deemed especially beneficial to companies with international locations and remote workers.
- Scalability – as UC systems are often hosted on the cloud, your business and its communications can grow without buying into infrastructure and gaining additional maintenance costs.
- Customer Interaction – dropped calls and failed video can give a bad impression to customers and clients. UC enables your business to come across as ahead of its time and technologically able. Additionally, UC facilitates customer service processes, from call screening to transferring calls to the correct and available people. Find out more about keeping customers happy with effective telecoms.
- Financial simplicity – instead of paying multiple providers, UC usually means businesses pay one monthly bill to one provider. This helps reduce confusion and gives businesses a better idea of expenditure. UC can be more cost effective, especially when compared to traditional phone systems requiring upkeep.
Why is Unified Communications Important to Business and Marketing?
UC is seen as the better, modern, alternative to traditional phone systems, providing businesses with more holistic solutions to telecoms pitfalls and encouraging development of employee collaboration.
Where traditional static phone systems were unsuccessful, VoIP systems provide an effective solution. However, VoIP systems are not without their own issues, prone to failure if internet signal goes down or quality problems disrupting communication. UC allows for seamless integration of desk phones, mobiles and computers supported by messaging, chat, cloud faxing and CRM integration, providing businesses with universal communications services to overcome a host of previous issues and subsequently offer better than before.
Through optimised team collaboration, UC helps marketing in ensuring efficient CRM and presenting the business in the best technological way. Enabling real-time dialogue between the sales and marketing teams, for example, ensures business values and aims are promoted to customers, reinforcing marketing. UC is important to marketing predominantly because of its ability to make business and customer service processes quicker and better.
Expert Telecoms with PureComms
For expert advice and telecoms solutions that fit around your business and its needs, get in contact with PureComms. Our friendly team are specialists at providing a variety of telecoms services, from connectivity expertise to VoIP systems.
Contact PureComms today and maximise your telecoms capabilities.