The Business Case for Unified Communications
Unified communications (UC) is revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate with clients and among employees. UC tools have the potential to create efficiencies that can give businesses of all sizes a competitive advantage.
The decision to deploy UC tools is not always easy. Companies must evaluate their communications requirements along with their financial ability to purchase and support new services.
Although Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides the possibility of a variety of new and advanced services, most companies view VoIP as a simple replacement for basic telephony services and choose to migrate to VoIP to save money. But many VoIP providers also provide UC tools and services, which can create some confusion in the market as UC is quite a different offering than VoIP. Decision makers need to understand the differences among traditional telephony, VoIP, and UC in order to make the best possible communications buying decision.
Defining Communications Needs
In some cases, traditional telephony is an adequate communications system for a company. In other cases, the advanced tools offered by UC systems are more in line with the company’s business needs.
The key to making the right purchasing decision is to first define the company’s communications requirements, then search for a solution based on those needs. Choosing a communications system based only on its price tag or on bells and whistles is like choosing a solution for an undefined problem: It makes little sense and could ultimately lead to a purchase that doesn’t solve the company’s unique challenges, and ends up being a waste of money.
When considering a transition to UC, it is important not to choose capabilities and services randomly. Rather, companies should first define their productivity and efficiency goals. It’s also necessary to develop an understanding of how both internal and external communications currently function and what could make them more efficient or useful. Then research available UC tools and how they might further those goals.
Once a business has defined its productivity and efficiency goals, what’s next? When shopping for solutions, companies should get out of the mindset of looking for a telephony solution and instead focus on productivity solutions.
Mobility solutions, conferencing, instant messaging, and presence are all telephony solutions under the UC umbrella. If a business is only looking for a voice telephony solution, it may miss the opportunities provided by these UC options.
Consider the employees who will be using the communications tools. An employee survey or a series of interviews of workers might provide further valuable insight. Determine what their needs are, how certain tools might help them do their jobs more efficiently, and which tools are more likely to go unused.
Nothing is more important to a business than its ability to communicate, either with clients or among employees. Communications moves processes along that eventually translate into profits. It’s important to be aware of emerging communications tools that could lead to increased efficiency and productivity.
However, buying the latest and greatest communications tools on offer does not always translate into a good purchasing decision. Establishing a business case, defining user needs, and then shopping with those requirements in mind is the surest way to find a UC solution that meets the company’s needs and will be a useful tool for employees.
Contact us to learn more about how UC can make a difference for your business.