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Unified Communications: A Guide for Business Owners

Workplace miscommunication could lead to productivity blocks, output delays, and in particularly awful situations, workplace tension. It doesn’t help that “Blame my technology.” is a common excuse by individuals who find themselves in circumstances where they have to deal with unfamiliar technology.

But for any business that wants to expand and remain competitive in the long run, it’s time to start looking into more advanced means of communication. It’s easier to record data, reduce error, and reach business goals when there’s a streamlined line of communication within the organization.

Unified communications (UC) is today’s most effective way to integrate multiple communication channels within an organization. For example, UC lets employees use their office phone numbers while they work remotely. It’s capable of cloud faxing and integrated messaging for multi-location businesses. It’s also capable of integrating behavioral health and primary care for local hospitals and clinics.

UC combines messaging, voice and video calling, video conferencing, and file sharing into one platform to improve team collaboration. Learn more about how it works, and how your business can benefit from it.

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications (UC) is basically a phone system that integrates different communication types. It’s a framework that combines software, hardware, and services to improve business communications. It’s also meant to boost data exchange security and extend the reach of your communication channels. 

To be more technical about the definition of UC, it’s a system of hardware and software components that work together to enable accurate and instant communication within a network. Its components enable IP telephony, instant messaging, audio and video convergence, call control, integrated messaging, and data sharing inside an organization — it’s not location-sensitive, either. UC components have a wide reach.

Additionally, you may set up supporting business applications, such as customer relationship management applications and cloud collaboration tools, to maximize your organization’s UC.

Common examples of UC in action include the ability to use your office phone number via your computer or mobile device and to access protected data, even when you’re not in the office. UC also has a unified messaging feature which makes it easier to keep track of email, voice mail, fax, and SMS messages.

How does UC streamline communications?

A typical unified communications solution includes four layers. 

First, you have the endpoints which refer to your IP phone system or video software. Second are the applications — the most common applications include call centers and emergency responders. Third is call control which lets you view and manage the UC system from one screen. Fourth, you have the infrastructure. These typically include VoIP gateways, routers, and administration applications.

Once you’ve secured all four layers, expect an improvement in user experience across your organization’s communication channels. Take a look at these examples:

  • UC systems enable digital convergence. It lets you view data and multimedia content on different devices and in different locations. It lets you share files and co-edit documents remotely.
  • UC systems enable seamless business process integration. For example, it lets you upload and edit files with your team while you’re gathered together at a virtual conference.
  • UC systems have a channel management feature. Call configuration, customization, and diversion are the most commons examples of this. It also enables speech-to-text conversion.
  • You may set up advanced notifications through your UC system. It lets you send messages to your team via various messaging platforms including text, audio messages, and video messages.
  • UC systems also offer something as simple yet significant as user presence indicator. It lets other people within the organization whether an individual is currently available to communicate with.

Given these examples of how UC streamlines organizational communications, it’s safe to say that UC boosts a team’s productivity and may contribute to higher ROI.

How do businesses benefit from UC?

There are three types of UC systems that your organization can use. 

First is the on-premise type of UC, which stores and manages all your hardware and software from a fixed location. Second are cloud solutions, which are usually hosted by a provider — they’re paid subscriptions. Third are hybrid UC solutions that let you connect cloud-based UC services from on-premise applications.

Either way, your business benefits from a UC system in multiple ways:

  • Affordability: By streamlining your communication channels, you cut down your OpEx budget.
  • Connectivity: Stay connected with your organization through unified communication channels.
  • Mobility: By adding a UC system, you gain the ability to work remotely without any disruptions.
  • Productivity: Your team can communicate with each other on any device and medium.
  • Scalability: UC systems have no system capacity limits. It grows alongside your business.

Improve the way your organization communicates. Watch it boost your productivity and revenue.