It’s no secret that technology moves fast. If you’re not actively keeping up to date with the newest software and devices, you’re liable to be left behind and that can be a death sentence for businesses in the IT realm. With that said, one of the fastest-growing trends in business tech these days is unified communications (UC).
What is it though?
There’s not really one standard definition for unified communications. You can ask 20 people what it means and get 20 different answers. Rick McCharles, President and CEO of RIC Services, nailed a pretty solid definition a few years back:
“An evolving communications technology architecture which automates and unifies all forms of human and device communications in context, and with a common experience. Its purpose is to optimize business processes and enhance human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies.”
Basically, UC is the integration of various types of communication applications with the goal of making employees more productive and efficient with communicating.
Let’s break down some of the benefits
- Increase productivity and efficiency – Say employee 1 needs to get ahold of employee 2 to discuss an urgent matter. With UC, employee 1 can see the availability status of employee 2 and decide the quickest, most effective way to get in touch. This could mean an email, instant message, phone call, etc. This cuts out the need for blindly sending an email or leaving a voicemail, not really knowing when you’ll hear back (which can be a huge waste of time).
- Facilitate better team interactions – The ability to collaborate is crucial for any type of business. With UC, collaboration is immensely more efficient without making things too complex. Tools like virtual whiteboard, video chat, and virtual desktop make it so you don’t even have to be in the same country to feel like you’re working side by side with your team members.
- Simple integration of applications – Going along with collaboration, UC allows multiple applications and devices to integrate for tons of flexibility. One person can contribute via their smartphone, another with their laptop, and another with a tablet – all these devices work together to create one fluid collaboration environment. Aside from devices, applications can function as one unit as well. Say you’re leading a phone meeting while also utilizing an instant messaging app. You can easily share screens, schedule future meetings, or create presentations from one location.
So, why bother with unified communications?
Well, anything that makes communication easier and more time-efficient should be a no-brainer. More than likely, you’re already using multiple applications on a daily basis. Integrating them into one fluid workflow just makes sense.