Many large enterprises have been utilizing unified communications solutions for years now, and for good reason. These technological assets can provide access to a range of crucial communication and collaboration capabilities, helping to unite geographically separated staff members and spur productivity.
Smaller organizations, on the other hand, have historically hesitated when it comes to UC adoption. Some decision-makers may view these as unnecessary, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
UC solutions are ideally suited to address the needs and challenges of the small business community, and currently, more companies in this category have sought to integrate these technologies into their infrastructures.
Small business challenges
According to data from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, small businesses currently account for more than 99 percent of U.S. employer firms, and have been responsible for 64 percent of newly created jobs in the private sector from 1993 to 2011.
By 2010, there were over 27.9 million companies and 18,500 firms included under the small business umbrella. While this sector continues to grow, so too do the challenges that these types of organizations face, such as:
- Budgetary constraints: Although ensuring alignment with available financial resources is an issue no matter how large a firm is, this is an especially pressing challenge for smaller companies.
- Lack of internal skill: Many small businesses struggle when it comes to more specialized talent due to limited staffing resources.
- Access to advanced IT solutions: Smaller organizations in particular have to ensure that their IT investments are well-placed and will provide the proper ROI while helping to support their staff.
UC Solutions: Benefits abound for small businesses
Unified communications can not only address the challenges listed above, but can also offer a range of other advantages when included in small businesses' infrastructure.
A main driving factor for UC adoption is its cost efficiency. UC technology can offer an array of advanced IT capabilities, which we'll discuss further below. This benefit is compounded further when one considers the price of these solutions. UC service providers can tailor systems to meet businesses' unique needs, and can also offer predictable monthly costs and pay-as-you-go options. This helps ensure that IT functionality is considerably increased, and that the company doesn't go over its budget.
Thanks to features like instant messaging, VoIP and video calling, file sharing and other capabilities, UC solutions are particularly well-suited for supporting a range of different working styles. Companies with two or more offices can ensure that employees are effectively connected and have ample opportunity to reach out and collaborate with one another. What's more, UC technology can also enable employees to work from wherever they are located. And, as Small Business Trends contributor Reuben Yonatan pointed out, this all takes place under the watchful eye of managers.
"[Employees] can access the system from anywhere with an Internet connection," Yonatan wrote. "This means workers can sit at home, log into the system and contact a client. All the while, the communications will be recorded for you to review, ensuring that you have access to the communications that take place after office hours."
"UC systems provide access to number of critical communication features."
This level of access and visibility is considerably difficult without a leading UC solution in place.
As noted previously, UC systems also provide access to number of critical communication features, including presence settings, mobility support, email integration, conferencing capabilities, call recording and key analytics. These can help bring significant functionality to small business employees, driving up collaboration and productivity. TechTarget contributor Jon Arnold pointed out that presence features in particular have proved especially beneficial for employee productivity.
"[P]resence is the key catalyst, since it allows employees to see the status of co-workers in real time," Arnold wrote. "Not only does this technology cut down on wasted time, but by knowing which modes and team members are available, employees can choose the best form of communication for the task at hand."
In addition, support for advanced capabilities like mobile UC and high-definition voice and video helps give any size business a considerably professional appearance.
Selecting the right UC partner
When it comes time to build out your small business's UC capabilities, it's best to work with an experienced expert like Teo Technologies.
Teo provides a long list of unified communications features within our advanced UC solution, ensuring that organizations from large enterprises to small businesses have the critical tools needed to support communication and collaboration. To find out more, contact us today.