A simple description of UC
I am often asked what is unified communications? I find that somehow it is not a simple answer when you ask industry professionals. There are a lot of articles and viewpoints on this matter.
Wikipedia gives this answer in regards to definition:
A basic definition is "communications integrated to optimize business processes and increase user productivity," but such integration can take many forms, such as: users simply adjusting their habits, manual integration as defined by procedures and training, integration of communications into off-the-shelf tools such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, BlackBerry, Salesforce.com, etc., or purpose-specific integration into customized applications in specific operating departments or in vertical markets such as healthcare.
Unified communications is an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience. It optimizes business processes and enhances human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies
What this means is that Unified Communications combines unified messaging, text message, instant message, online chat, VoIP voice calls on desk or mobile, voice & video conferencing, video calls, PC sharing, etc...
How can this help me and my business?
Unified Communications allows simple management of all communication links your organization has both internally and externally. Simple tools such as seamless conference video calls with both on premise and remote employees brings everybody together. Sometimes it makes a difference to "see" who is talking instead of using a standard audio conferencing line. But, with Unified Communications doing a standard audio conference is also simplified because you can have 4 digit extention dialing direct into the confernce from all devices (desk or cell).
There are many instances of how Unified Communications can help small to mid size businesses (SMB), enterprise class businesses, institutions, local governments, religious organizations or schools. From a training and quality control standpoint it can be very useful to be able to pull up digital records of incoming/outbound calls in an instant. Employing a call record feature can also help settle potential disputes between staff or customers or both! There are many instances I can think of that a manager be able to improve customer service if they know the exact details of customer issues.
Combining your phone system with a CRM can allow full management of all communications simply. Screen pops, click to call, data management and unique DID marketing campaigns for example are some useful benefits for all size organizations.
These types of tools have been around for years but with Hosted PBX cloud based systems the afford ability has made it reasonable for small businesses to consider switching their phone service but for larger institutions it also makes sense to reevaluate systems in order to upgrade features while cutting costs.
In the age of the smart phone and tablet it also must be said that the office desk phone and PC are not going anywhere. Lots of small businesses operate off of cell phones but until now are missing out on PBX functionality such as IVR's and multiple extensions or they only use desk phones and are tethered to the office. If they use their mobile device it does not carry the same phone number or features as the office phone system. Unified Communications simply eliminates these issues. Using mobile phones that are integrated with your office phone system without having to use an app is easier. Your mobile phone acts as a direct extension of your phone system and the caller ID is the same as the office number. No more using your personal cell number when making work calls. Managers can now monitor cell usage call record with staff in the field. When customers call the numbers back the calls go direct to the office IVR. Complete control of your communications.
Every office is different and has different wants and needs. The beauty of Unified Communications is that it incorporates all possible digital communications methods and can me customized and simplified to fit those needs.
VoIP International is a provider of Unified Communications worldwide with physical locations in North America and Europe. If you are interested in upgrading your services while cutting costs ask us how we can help.