Unified Communications: Impediment or an Enabler?
Is Unified Communications (UC) an Impediment or an Enabler? There are numerous articles in cyber space proclaiming to know exactly what UC can do for your organization. Statistics, ideas, pro’s, cons, ROI, but the best person to uncover the real truth is YOU! The business owner, the IT champion, the user … you are all critical to the successful consideration and implementation of a UC strategy and the technology that goes along with it. First let’s start with what UC is for those who are unfamiliar.
One of the best descriptions I’ve found – Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information (available – not available), telephony (including IP telephony), and video communications with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). That is a mouthful, but what it means is UC can and will directly impact how your employees interact with one another and with your clients. Information Week Analytics for 2010 UC Survey of 249 businesses’s ranked “Improved Collaboration” and “Improved Efficiency” as the two key drivers to deploying UC. Could 20, 30 even 50% improvement of overall efficiencies lie within a few pieces of hardware and software? Maybe, maybe not but to get that answer you have to be willing to ask the tougher questions.
Are we really an efficient organization with our communications (be honest)? How long does it take team members to engage and interact with one another? Voicemail, email, IM? Would video communications “between handshakes” increase our overall effectiveness with one another and clients? Reduce project timelines and mistakes? Could web conferencing increase our outreach and improve customer experience? Where do smart phones and other devices fit into our workplace? Will my employees be ‘distracted’ by new technology? And the big killer of any new technology implementation; How receptive will my employees be to these new tools?
All of these questions can be difficult to answer honestly for both leaders and team members alike but when you can; you will find the world of Unified Communications can unleash some amazing opportunities. If your organization sees an increase in sales, productivity, engagement, efficiency, or collaboration UC has proven itself an enabler all the way! With the right questions, the right solution, and the right partner to help you put it all together the question then becomes; When do we get started?