Business communications have come a long way since the days of traditional circuit-switched telephone lines. The rise of packet switching, Ethernet, broadband Internet and cloud infrastructure has opened up many opportunities for firms to consolidate their voice, video and data into a cost-effective and versatile unified communications solution. Whether a company does it on-premises for fine-tuned control or taps into the cloud for easy updates and low total cost of ownership, UC is a great way to bridge the old and the new, with everything from faxes to HD video conferencing supported by flexible software on a UC server.
No surprise then that IT departments everywhere are becoming eager to make the upgrade from landlines and VPNs to UC. A 2015 report from Transparency Market Research projected that the UC market would surpass $61 billion by 2018. The main drivers of this growth include increasingly mobile workforces, robust demand for cloud services and growing adoption of bring-your-own-device policies to support employees' phones and tablets. Let's look in depth at three big reasons why UC is taking the business world by storm:
1. True multitasking for your devices and applications
Today's networks routinely handle connections from many devices, from PCs to smartphones. Imagine that someone is trying to make a VoIP call from a phone while also continuing to video conference from a laptop. A modern UC server can easily handle both of these communications streams at the same time.
Accordingly, employees get a lot of flexibility in how and where they access such applications, and can more easily collaborate. A 2013 BroadSoft survey found that over two-thirds of enterprise users wanted mobile UC features, while a 2014 InformationWeek report revealed that improving collaboration was the top business driver of UC implementations for 62 percent of businesses.
2. Total recall for your unified messaging and other conversations
Communications used to be relatively simple: There was the company phone line, the fax machine and (e)mail correspondence. Now there's social media, VoIP, video conferencing and chat on top of all of that. There are plenty of options, along with more opportunity to lose a critical conversation in the shuffle.
"Businesses are using UC to keep comprehensive records of high-volume communications."
It doesn't have to be that way with UC, though. Businesses are taking advantage of features such as visual voicemail, fax to email and call recording to keep comprehensive records of high-volume communications and get notified of new interactions. This wealth of data can help ensure that customers get timely follow-ups and that the company network is optimally utilized.
3. First-try responses for workers in the office or out in the field
If you have ever played phone tag or waited around for a reply to an email, then you are familiar with how much time you can lose by not reaching someone on the first try. Unsurprisingly, about half of businesses gain an extra 20 minutes of productivity for every employee they are able to reach on attempt number one.
Unified messaging, VoIP and similar tools provide a perfect platform for getting and keeping the attention of the person on the other end of the line. Say two people are having an IM conversation and are not quite on the same page. With a UC server and an intuitive UC solution in place, that chat can be seamlessly escalated to a phone call or a video conference. This escalation is particularly useful for remote workers who may desire a closer connection to what's happening back at the main office.
Today's businesses face the fundamental challenge of adapting to mobility and the proliferation of communications options. Dependable on-premises, cloud or hybrid UC infrastructure provides a foundation for success in this environment.