What Are The Benefits Of Unified Communications?

You’ve probably heard of Unified Communications, or UC, but you may not know what it actually means. In this blog post, I will explain what Unified Communications actually means as well as the benefits of UC.

These are the benefits of unified communications:

  • Improved productivity
  • Easier expansion and growth
  • Flexibility to work no matter where you are
  • Lower costs by choosing a unified solution
  • All-in-one solution rather than numerous providers

Before I delve deeper into each of these benefits, I’ll briefly cover what Unified Communications actually means. By the end of this blog post, you’ll be a UC expert!

What Does Unified Communications Mean?

Unified Communications is a term that describes the combination and streamlining of business communication services for greater efficiency. For example, being able to access your voicemail via your email or your phone.

Unified Communications is a very broad term, encompassing all forms of communications that are exchanged via a business’s network. For instance:

  • Instant messaging
  • Voice
  • Conferencing
  • Email

The most basic definition of Unified Communications is as follows:

“Integrated communications to optimise processes, improve efficiency, and increase user productivity.”

Basically, the term Unified Communications encompasses a set of technologies that are constantly evolving to work more closely together. The advantages of UC, which I’ll soon explain in more detail, are obvious. Unified Communications technologies reduce your dependency on certain devices and make it easier for your employees to keep in touch with each other and customers.

With Unified Communications, you can access all the communication channels that you need through a single service provider. This is a massive advantage, as you’d previously have different providers for different things. Before, you’d possibly have a separate telecommunications provider and a separate email provider. This would inevitably make integrating the two services difficult, as you would be reliant on the two providers working together. Basically, this makes everything more complicated and challenging.

You’re probably already using Unified Communications technologies. For example, all of the the following are usually considered UC technologies:

  • VoIP: Voice over IP, a group of technologies enabling voice communications over the internet. VoIP calls can be made using numerous devices; not just IP phones, but other internet-enabled devices such as laptops and smartphones.
  • Video conferencing: There are technologies for video conferencing, which typically harness the power of VoIP. High-quality video calls make communicating with other team members much easier, as you don’t need to arrange the time to see each other in person. Video conferencing makes communicating and collaborating with other businesses easier too, particularly if you are based in entirely different locations.
  • Instant messaging: An instant messaging element is often part of a Unified Communications platform. Instant messaging is often a more suitable communication method than emails, particularly internally. All staff members can join in the conversation at the same time, without the lag associated with email.
  • File collaboration: Work on the same files at the same time, enabling closer and more effective collaboration between team members. Gone are the days of sending files to each other via email, waiting for colleagues to make their modifications and send the file back. With a UC solution, team members can actively work on the same file at the same time to seamlessly collaborate on projects.

The Benefits Of Unified Communications

Now I’ve explained what UC means, I thought it would be an appropriate time to delve into the benefits I listed at the beginning of this blog post. As a quick reminder, here are the benefits of UC:

  • Improved productivity
  • Easier expansion and growth
  • Flexibility to work no matter where you are
  • Lower costs by choosing a unified solution
  • All-in-one solution rather than numerous providers

These benefits could be massive for businesses that aren’t already using a Unified Communications solution. Next, I’m going to explain why each of these benefits is notable.

Improved Productivity

According to a PWC report, 52% of businesses adopt a Unified Communications solution because of the potential productivity gains. But does UC improve productivity and, if the answer’s yes, how?

Yes, a Unified Communications solution will improve the productivity of your teams. Now I’ll explain how a Unified Communications solution will improve the productivity of the individuals and teams that make up your business.

Unifying your communications will increase productivity because teams can work together easier no matter where members are based.

The biggest reason for improved productivity is the ease with which teams can collaborate when using a UC solution. Your teams can work closer and more efficiently when using a UC solution, primarily because they can work on the same projects, files, and documents at exactly the same time. Without an Unified Communications solution in place, your team have to send documents back and forth via email, waiting goodness knows how long for feedback. This is a huge drain on productivity. With UC, your team can edit the same file simultaneously, meaning there’s no waiting around for feedback.

By unifying your communications, you’ll make it simpler for your teams to work no matter where they are. For example, team members can route calls to their numbers to their mobile phones instead. Or they could reply to instant messages while they’re on the go, ensuring they can easily remain in contact with colleagues and collaborators. It’s no longer a massive pain to work when you’re not in the office, which therefore increases productivity no matter where your teams are working.

Easier Expansion and Growth

Investing in new systems simply isn’t worthwhile if you’ll need a replacement in a few years. Naturally, you’ll be wondering whether a Unified Communications solution is future-proof.

Unified Communications solutions easily expand and grow with your business, scaling as your requirements change. By unifying your communications, you’re consolidating numerous solutions into one platform. Instead of having different applications for instant messaging, VoIP, and video conferencing, you’ll have one system that does everything. This makes life so much easier as your business grows. As an example, you have to add users on one platform rather than countless platforms. Imagine this on a greater scale, where you could be expanding your operation into another region. It’s evident how growing while using a UC solution is so much smoother.

By using the same solution for all your communication needs, growing in the future will be much easier when compared with growing while using multiple platforms for your communications.

Flexibility To Work No Matter Where You Are

The number of people working remotely across the world is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 26 million Americans telecommute at least part of the time. This number is steadily increasing constantly, with a similar pattern worldwide. This highlights a need for communication systems that enable teams to work efficiently and productively no matter where they’re working. That’s exactly what you get with a UC solution.

More than 26 million Americans telecommute at least part of the time (16% of the total workforce).

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Before Unified Communications solutions, not being able to get to the office would spell disaster. In an emergency situation where team members couldn’t get into the office, you might as well have written the day off. Now, team members can work efficiently and productively no matter where they are. Once you’ve unified your communication systems, teams can easily communicate and collaborate via one platform. This opens the door to allowing team members to work remotely when it’s mutually beneficial, which certainly wasn’t an option a few years ago.

There are many aspects that make up a Unified Communications solution that help teams to be productive, no matter where the team members are working.

  • Instant messaging: Team members can communicate easily with instant messaging. Emails can be a slow method of communication, whereas instant messaging can be much quicker. Most UC solutions have instant messaging built-in.
  • Video conferencing: Even if team members have to work from home for the day, face to face meetings aren’t beyond the realms of possibility. Video conferencing software is also built in to most unified communication platforms, so your teams can still partake in face to face collaboration regardless of location.
  • VoIP: Unified Communication solutions allow you to integrate your teams’ mobile devices with the office phone system. Team members can therefore make and receive calls regardless of their physical location.

Lower Costs With A Unified Solution

This is a quick point requiring little explanation. One solution, rather than many, means lower costs. When you’re using a unified solution, you pay for one communications solution rather than several. In general, this means your costs will be lower.

Furthermore, installing and configuring cloud-based unified communications solutions is inexpensive. You don’t have any expensive hardware to install, because your provider hosts it for you on their secure servers. Additionally, you don’t have the expense of hiring your own IT department to look after your communications solutions because you have a provider that handles it all for you. No maintenance is required, as that’s all handled by your provider. It’s easy to tell how costs can be so much lower, isn’t it?

Also, think about how much money you can save by conducting meetings remotely rather than in person. If a company requires regular face to face meetings but has personnel based all over the world, imagine the travel costs. With a UC solution with video conferencing capability built in, face to face meetings can take place without any travelling – therefore saving your business a fortune!

All-In-One Solution Rather Than Numerous Providers

As the name suggests, you get an all-in-one package with a unified communications solution. A UC solution will typically contain all the following functionality:

  • VoIP communication
  • Video conferencing
  • Instant messaging
  • File collaboration

It goes without saying that this is a massive advantage. It’s the whole point of a unified solution, after all.

A unified communications solution brings everything you need into one place, making it easier to train staff and move the entire business onto the platform. Businesses that have already embraced unified communications solutions have seen how beneficial an all-in-one solution is. It’s time your business found out too!

Are there any disadvantages to Unified Communications technologies? Not really. UC really is the way forward for businesses. Most of the biggest businesses in the world have already embraced ready-made UC solutions or created their own. Would that be the case if unified communications wasn’t a good idea?

I hope that this blog post has helped you to learn a lot more about Unified Communications. Please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!

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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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