As we discussed in our last post the days of the 8 to 5 office worker are over. Most of us are likely to do our jobs someplace other than the office at some point during the day. In addition, the line between work and personal time continues to blur as employees use their mobile devices to perform business tasks outside of regular business hours.
These trends have changed the face of business communications. Employees aren’t sitting in the office using desk phones, and holding meetings in the conference room. They’re out in the field, working at home and traveling to customer sites. They need a new suite of tools in order to effectively collaborate with colleagues, customers and business partners.
In most organizations, however, phone, email, instant messaging and various forms of conferencing remain separate, discrete functions. Employees may also supplement company-owned tools with a variety of cloud-based solutions. This disjointed mix of technology severely hampers collaboration. Simply setting up a conference call becomes a complex dance that involves choosing a tool and disseminating login information and access codes. Does everyone have the ability to dial in? Is the connection clear?
Unified communications and collaboration (UCC) platforms bring a wide range of communication tools into a common framework that makes them easier to use. A single interface provides access to voice, video, text and virtual whiteboards for seamless interaction through a variety of media. Users can also change media and add or reduce the number of participants without ending and re-starting the session. For example, an instant message between two users can move to a voice call then a web conferencing involving the entire team.
The latest UCC tools extend to mobile employees and teleworkers. A common platform that works across devices and locations enables organizations to capitalize on the flexibility benefits of mobility without sacrificing effective communication.
A cornerstone of UCC is contextual presence, which provides information on who is available and their preferred communication channels. Intelligent notification services make it easy to contact other users with instructions on how join a collaboration session.
Business-grade UCC platforms also enable organizations to transform key business processes with improved workflows. Many tools can be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) applications and productivity software for one-click communication functionality.
Done right, UCC can boost productivity by eliminating phone tag and communication bottlenecks. Better communication also means faster decision-making and enhanced customer service. Reaping these benefits requires a well-defined strategy based upon end-user and business needs. Organizations should begin by identifying any gaps in the communications infrastructure that impede workflows. Involving end-users in the process helps to maximize adoption of the technology and the ultimate ROI.
Legacy communications architectures with separate, siloed collaboration tools no longer meet the requirements of many organizations. As the reach and range of business processes continues to expand, organizations should evaluate UCC platforms that can better support day-to-day activities and facilitate interactions with customers, partners and geographically dispersed teams. Let SSD help you develop a collaboration strategy that improves productivity, augments business processes and enhances customer service.