The boons of unified communication are becoming increasingly self-evident in a rapidly virtualizing world. Mobile workers, road warriors, international partnerships and clients, and overall productivity stand to gain from having a reliable, efficient means of consolidating the many portals of communication used by enterprises and SMBs. Unified communications are becoming a de facto component of business communications technology, and crafting the right strategy should be at the top of all companies' to-do lists.
Upcoming UC Summit targets end users
Traditionally, the UC Summit brought vendors, industry experts and consults together to discuss UC strategies and innovation. But for the first time since the summit's debut in 2008, end users from several major organizations will be invited to attend the event, which is to be held in La Jolla, California, from Nov. 15 to 18, according to UCStrategies.
Organization end users will be attending to learn more about the variety of UC options and tools available, how to sift through the ocean of offerings to determine which are right for their business and what goes into UC adoption. This decision to involve end user organizations in what has traditionally been a gathering for UC innovators appears to be indicative of a greater focus being placed on helping companies prepare for UC adoption.
"Unified communications are like shoes: everyone needs them, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution."
Choosing the right UC vendor is half the battle
Unified communications are like shoes: everyone needs them, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. So while the stakes are high for UC adoption, especially as bring your own device and telecommuting policies take center stage in an always-connected business world, it's important to consider the size of the company, the diversity of devices that will be incorporated, how they will be used and where they will be used.
Larger enterprises that handle copious amounts of sensitive data, for example, may want to consider deploying on-premises solutions, depending on upper management's attitudes toward cloud security. However, small and medium-sized businesses, especially growing SMBs, should consider unified communications as a service.
Unlike costly on-premises systems, cloud UC models have a very low opening expense; many vendors allow companies to pay per employee. This more personalized approach ensures businesses that they only pay for what they need, even as those needs change. Rather than having to invest in new on-premises hardware when the company expands, UCaaS seamlessly shifts to support business needs. Companies, it would seem, are taking note of the benefits of UCaaS. The global market is expected to be worth around $37.85 billion by 2022, which represents an expected compound annual growth rate of 23.4 percent from 2014, according to Transparency Market Research.
Selecting the right UC tools is the other half
To continue with the shoe analogy, you wouldn't buy blue suede shoes if you were preparing for winter in Alaska. It is important for businesses to understand how employees will use the UC system in order to determine what tools they will need during UC adoption.
For companies with strict no-telecommuting policies, which are especially rare today, a VoIP system, email and unified messaging may be enough. But for SMBs with partners, clients, outposts and employees scattered across the map, video conferencing, a softphone that integrates with the VoIP system and voicemail to email features become necessary.
Mobility, in conjunction with bring your own device, is being leveraged to enhance productivity and secure a national and even international reach for companies that were traditionally considered too small to have a big presence. Now, employees can more easily work remotely, and they can stay connected to a network of colleagues even when they are on the go. In other words, productivity is not limited to the confines of the office, and that's a benefit that businesses of any size can get behind.
The time for UC adoption is now
Employing a new business technology is never an easy decision to make. It requires research, massive amounts of comparison between options, and some foresight in determining what features are necessary, and which are extraneous. This is all true when it comes to UC adoption; however, companies should not be deterred. The time for UC adoption is now, and with research and careful consideration of the company's needs, UC will pay for itself, and then some.