Companies are always looking for ways to use their resources and budgets in the most efficient way. One of the continuing interest is for businesses to consider the benefits of unified communication (UC) in achieving this goal. The concept is simple in theory, but it is difficult to know where to start to take advantage of UC benefits. Companies should perform an analysis to see if a complete system overhaul is required or what other options are available.
To ease into this concept, we’re going to be taking a more detailed look into VoIP systems and how they play a role both in the company and within UC as a whole.
What is Unified Communications
Unified Communications is the integration of real-time, communication services such as chat, voice, mobility features, audio, web and video conferencing, desktop sharing, and data sharing. UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent, unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.
The fundamental goal of UC is to integrate communications to optimize business processes and increase user productivity.
— XO Communications (@XOComm) July 14, 2016
We will take a look at VoIP specifically. Telephony connection is one of the first places companies start when consolidating their systems, so this integration topic is applicable to every business. Businesses have always needed telephone systems, but with the digital age, it is beneficial to tie in internet and data systems as well.
VoIP is the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. It is the response to the general shift from the fixed line, of the past, to mobile and IP options for voice traffic. These systems allow for voice, fax, text, and data to be transferred over the internet instead of the traditional publish switched telephone network (PSTN).
You are probably more familiar with the concept than you realized. As a society, we use this technology every day. A couple of the most popular systems are Skype, Google hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp. All of these applications allow users to talk, send pictures, and files over their application at a competitive cost.
VoIP can be used on smartphones, personal computers, any internet accessible device, and over Wi-Fi. In a survey, West Unified Communications Services, polled more than 250 IT managers to see what communications features were the most used in their companies. The survey resulted showing audio conferencing (79% of respondents) just edged out web conferencing (76%) as the most popular UC tool.
Specifically with VoIPs company benefit from local and long distance voice calling services and dedicated internet bandwidth of speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 100 Mbps. Virtual private networks can encrypt data that is shared, ensuring that private data whether it is video, phone, fax, or other mediums is secure.
Businesses are also able to assign priority, though Class of Service protocols, of bandwidth allocations across company platforms so that voice call quality is maximized, while simultaneously optimizing Internet access speeds when voice lines are not being used.
Connecting it all together
By looking at the application and benefits of just one of the many services included in a unified communication systems, you are able to extrapolate the added benefits of integrating more communication systems together.
Increased employee productivity
- All employees use communication applications at work, and increasingly away from work. Instead of having separate devices dedicated solely for work purposes, like phones or computers, UC allows employees to stay connected using their personal devices as well. This allows workers to have quicker access to useful data and makes it easier to communicate with each other, instead of having to locate and switch back and forth between devices. Employees can choose which method is the best form of communication for their intended purpose and get to it straight away.
- With being able to redirect calls, emails and information to alternative numbers or devices, being stagnant is a thing of the past. Employees no longer need to be tied to their desk if they are awaiting an important phone call. Decision makers will always be able to be up to date on any relevant information, so there is no need to put a pause on work just because they are away. Also, by using video conferencing applications, people can connect in a way like never before without the need of costly travel expenses.
- In relation to customer service, by being able to track every single interaction with their consumers, whether it be phone calls, email, or social media, company support personnel can create a more complete customer profile and make informed decisions on how to better service them.
- From an operational standpoint, combining systems simplifies management responsibilities. One system means having one provider company to turn to for bills, reports, maintenance, or tech support. Integrating voice systems with other communication modes helps reduce the need for IT staff, and lowers operation cost.
Use your company’s resources to the best of their abilities with UC. By combining, streamlining communications and saving on cost, you can free up your personnel and budget to grow the company while providing top notch service for both customers and employees. Take the first step by accessing your network and see if improvements can be made.