Unified Communications: Does One Size Fit All?

Written by Shawn Lyles

April 22, 2015

Unified Communications: Does One Size Fit All?

I hear the “buzz words” Unified Communications (UC) being used a lot, and I want to describe what is it and what it can mean for your organization

What is Unified Communications (UC)?

Unified Communications is the real-time integration of enterprise communication services, that include voice (including IP telephony), presence information, instant messaging (chat), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach) web, audio and video conferencing.  Fixed-mobile convergence (FCM), data sharing, web sharing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging.

What does UC mean for your organization?

If your organization is properly using UC, then you will have more organizational team members that will be working remote than ever. It may sound scary if your organization has never tried it, but statistics show that working remote can increase productivity, save time and money and as well help lower stress levels. The piece below is a great read because it describes how our society is changing with the advent of Unified Communications, in organizations and in the workplace. It also gives good information on how a organization your size deals with UC in the workplace.

This article excerpt, by Duncan McRae, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1EW4pFs
It is undeniable that the workplace has changed significantly over the past decade, leading to a sharp increase in mobile and remote working. Of the 30.2 million people in work in the UK from January-March 2015, 4.2 million worked from home or remotely, the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998.

An office-based job is being increasingly shunned in favor of remote working, giving rise to the connected employee – constantly connected and with instant access to business information through pioneering Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C) tools. Increasingly, businesses are adopting tools to allow for a more flexible working environment. But do we need to delve deeper than this and find one solution that addresses all challenges when it comes to UC?

The connected employee
IDC predicts that by the end of the year, over 37 percent of the global workforce will be “mobile” workers (i.e., working from home or elsewhere) – this is a rise in 300 million since 2010. 84 percent of UK workers have expressed a desire to work from home, conveying the fact that UC&C tools address a genuine business need, saving time and money in the long run. Thanks to the demands of the connected employee, the UC&C market is growing exponentially – expected to be worth around $17.38bn by 2019. Despite operating from different locations, the connected employee is still able to deliver work in the required formats, on time, still accessing company data at the touch of a button.

That said, it must be noted that UC may not be the one solution to solve all home working problems. The term “unified” implies that everything is brought together under one platform, which means that everything is done in a “unified” way. This is not always the case. Different business communities think and behave differently, and this includes ways of working – there is no one size fits all solution. SMEs, for example expect much more of an immediate ROI on any solutions implemented, UC or otherwise – a quarter expect to see an ROI within the first six months of adoption (not surprising given that many need cash, fast).

Large corporations expect a longer-term ROI, acknowledging the fact that a UC&C solution takes time to implement and to work effectively. That said, larger organizations will place a bigger emphasis on security and trust in their employees to work remotely. There is also the question of workers living in rural or remote areas, where bandwidth capability is often lacking – a UCaaS solution is only as effective as the bandwidth to back it up and keep it running, and if connectivity is poor, then it is harder to do your job effectively.

While skeptics may argue that UC may not solve all the issues faced by businesses when it comes to remote or home working, there is a business need for this flexibility. Currently, of the range of technologies that are offered, UC&C is the most cost effective option and time saving option, ensuring a truly connected and unified workforce

It is crucial that businesses adapt to the demands of the next generation and embrace all that UC&C has to offer.

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