Unified Communications Creates a Flexible, Integrated Workforce
Unified Communications is a service that enables companies to bring together all of their communication needs in one place, including email, voice calls, instant messaging, voice mail and video conferencing. The service is available by downloading software or an app, meaning that there is no need to purchase new infrastructure such as computers, telephones or a communications exchange. This means that businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the benefits that unified communications can bring – one of the most important being the creation of a flexible, integrated workforce that can communicate seamlessly anytime, anywhere.
One of the central features of a unified communications platform is the ability to see which of their colleagues are available to collaborate and share ideas. This is known as ‘presence’ and allows efficient team working by showing who is available at any given moment. The platform also enables workers to choose the best way to communicate. For example, instant messaging can be used to have a brief, informal discussion with a colleague working at their desk. Video conferencing can be used when a ‘face to face’ conversation is required but team members are in different locations.
The presence feature can revolutionise the way that companies work because it enables colleagues to communicate efficiently at any time. The software can sync with diary commitments as well as day-to-day activity, showing team members when their colleagues can be contacted and when they are busy or away from their desks. Because the software can be used with portable devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, workers can still be available wherever they are, such as while travelling, working from home or at business conferences. Instant messaging can be particularly useful in this context, because it provides a discreet means of having a conversation in the presence of background noise or other people and enables staff to manage distractions and work efficiently, no matter their location or time zone.
Circuit from Unify allows team members collaborate with each other and to work on a single project. The workflow functions in the same way as a social media time line, showing the contributions of individuals arranged in chronological order. This makes it easy to see who has contributed an idea and can show how ideas have evolved and developed over time. The fact that the workflow is updated in real time allows instant collaboration in the creation and editing of documents, showing the latest version with all additions and contributions. Communication media can be combined, for example through simultaneous video conferencing and instant messaging, eliminating the to and fro of email conversations and ensuring that all members of the team see the same version of a text at the same time. All of these features combined ensure efficiency – no more time wasted on finding the latest version of a document, and no important ideas or corrections lost in wider conversations between the group. Everyone is included at all times, creating a shared accountability for all the progress that is achieved.
If companies take advantage of some of the more advanced features of unified communications, it is possible for them to gain a new edge over their competitors. Companies can make team members’ skills accessible across the organisation, enabling staff to work in new ways. So a team can develop according to the skills that are required to see a project through to completion. This creates a new flexibility within the company, as teams evolve to include individuals with the relevant skills. These teams can change as the needs of the project develop. Because workflows store all the information and documents created as a project progresses, new team members can quickly get up to speed on the task in hand with minimum disruption. Such flexibility enables companies to take advantage of the skills of their staff in new ways and make the most of what everyone has to offer.
Finally, one of the added advantages of unified communications is that working can take place despite geographical and time constraints. This can enable companies to hire qualified staff from around the world when there is a local skill shortage, or to bring in someone with specialist knowledge for a particular project. It allows staff to work more flexible hours to fit in with other commitments, and enables staff who travel as part of their job to remain involved in important conversations and decisions. Unified communications gives companies the flexibility they need to adapt to the changing landscape of modern business no matter what their sector. The service also offers considerable savings on the costs associated with other telephony and internet services – up to 40% lower rates for combined internet and telephony provision – meaning that it also offers greater flexible and efficiency in itself. What more could a modern business want from its communications?
Contact UC&C to find out more about how unified communications can transform your business.