A Primer on Unified Communications

OCTOBER 03, 2019

Up until recently, business communications were highly fragmented. Workers, in other words, had to use disparate hardware and software solutions to have voice and video conversations, or to send and receive documents. From a technical standpoint, this type of environment was inefficient and expensive to maintain.

This has changed, though, thanks to the advent of unified communications (UC), a strategy that involves consolidating multiple communications services like text, voice, video, fax, mobility and presence information into a centralised and secure platform.

It’s possible to deploy UC on premises, in the cloud or both through a hybrid approach. Like with most technologies, it largely depends on a business’s preferences and needs regarding issues like security and latency. Most businesses today still choose to deploy UC on-premises.

UC has exploded in popularity in recent years, as businesses of all sizes are now leveraging it to streamline communication and collaboration.

According to a report from Grand View Research, the global UC market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8 percent, and will exceed $143 billion by 2024.

Here are some of top reasons why so many businesses are choosing to leverage UC:

Enhanced productivity: One of the main benefits to using UC is improved productivity.

Workers tend to waste a great deal of time moving between disparate communications devices and apps. Consolidating communications services into a single platform can keep employees focused and locked into a single space, where they are less liable to get distracted.

To that point, UC can also improve collaboration by giving employees a hub where they can work together and exchange information, even when they are separated by vast distances.

At the same time, UC can reduce time waste in an office setting; instead of having in-person meetings all the time, team members can engage in video chats which are typically much more efficient.

Less risk: A fragmented communications environment will lead to information silos, where data is in stored across many different locations—on employee phones, laptops and cloud storage systems. This can expose a company to countless security risks.

With UC, all information can be stored in a centralized and secure communications platform. This reduces silos, and the risk of experiencing a data breach.

Reduced burden for IT: Fragmented communications can also make life difficult for IT workers, who must track, manage and maintain numerous endpoints.

By leveraging UC, businesses have fewer endpoints to manage, which can expedite service and lead to a healthier and more operationally efficient communications environment.

Lower costs: UC can also generate significant cost savings for an organisation. Traditional phone systems are very expensive to maintain, but with UC comes reduced OPEX as it’s possible to consolidate connectivity into a per-user monthly fee.

What’s more, UC can enable business continuity. By leveraging an offsite cloud UC system, businesses can keep their communications up and running in the event of an outage that lasts for hours or even days.

Stronger customer service: UC isn’t just for backend communication. It can also yield tangible results when communicating with customers, partners, supply chain partners and investors.

UC will empower employees and contact center agents with a variety of tools that can help provide speedy and effective communications support. Examples include screen sharing, video conferencing or text/ SMS. Plus, with presence information, workers can easily see when other employees are available to join a call and provide additional assistance.

As you can see, there are many reasons for migrating to UC. It’s especially useful, too, for businesses that have a global presence. Any organisation that is considering expanding internationally should strongly consider implementing an advanced UC system.