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2020's Best Unified Communication System for Business

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unified communication guide

Table of Contents

What is the Unified Communications System?

In a brand new world spurred by digital transformation, we have entered an era where work is no longer restricted to a specific desk, phone, or computer screen. The result has been an influx of innovative and awesome communication tools, designed for almost every touchpoint in the average business. 

Enter the saviour termed, Unified Communications. It describes not only how we connect different communication systems for the digital workforce, but also a plethora of collaboration tools! This explains the origin of the phrase UC&C (Unified Communications & Collaboration) which has pretty much become the buzzword these days. 

So basically, Unified Communications refers to a phone or communications system that unifies or integrates multiple communication methods within a business. For a business to grow successfully, effective communication between its various elements is the key. 

UC ensures a high degree of effective communication throughout the globally-dispersed workforce by giving access to a secure system equipped with;

  • SMS & IM

  • E-Mail

  • Voicemail

  • Scheduling meetings

  • VoIP & Video conferencing

  • Web Conferencing

  • Screen & document management, etc.

Benefits of Unified Communications System for Employees & Business

Unified communication software not only helps you save money but also positively impacts innovation, efficiency, and productivity. Read on for a lowdown on the major benefits of the new technology over traditional phone systems.

benefits of unified communication software

  • Streamlined packaging:

    Unified communications provide real-time access to services such as phone communications, messaging, data sharing, and conferencing from a wide variety of devices and allow every executive, staff member, and customer to move seamlessly between them. By bundling these services and partnering with a world-class vendor, businesses gain opportunities of scale and can optimize productivity across all business operations. When applied across all business units in an organization, there is a definite reduction in costs.

  • Unified Communications Systems move with you:

    Working remotely is the current biz flavour and it seems like a trend that is there to stay. With the unmatched benefits afforded by best-unified communications solutions, there is the boon of instant connectivity that ensures seamless communication irrespective of your actual physical location! Now seriously, how cool is that?!

  • Superior reliability:

    Unified Communications solutions providers offer superior reliability by creating performance redundancies that protect against downtime. Combine this optimal redundancy with a top-notch data center and major cloud provider access and you've got a UC plan to keep business running even in the most dire situations.

  • Transformative real-time collaboration:

    Unified communication systems provide common grounds where strategy, operations, and production coalesce. Real-time collaborations result in quick problem solving across multiple channels resulting in an undisputable competitive edge over others. 

  • Hardware requirements & staffing:

    Unified Communications system allows you to move every purchase, update, and maintenance task associated with telecom to the provider and shift skilled IT staff to projects that progress the competitive strengths of the company. By removing maintenance headaches and costs, organizations can reap significant savings.

  • Round the clock access & enhanced remote capability:

    For unhindered operations, you need a telecommunications system that is as efficient as your team and you!  Unified Communications allows remote teams to continue working seamlessly while other teams are not available.

  • Enhanced Customer Interactions:

    First impressions are pretty much the last and every dropped call and failed video conference due to bandwidth issues leaves an indelible mark. For smaller organizations, UC delivers the perception of strength and market dominance.

  • Advanced features & access:

    If your business is pushing major data uploads to the cloud, chances are, your teams are using cutting-edge, bandwidth-sucking apps and programs. The advanced features available on a UC plan allows your team access to the tools that will support development.

  • Dependable security:

    Because UC means just one vendor, your data is more secure. Look into vendor data center certifications and credentials to be sure they meet the recommended guidelines and key governmental regulations.

  • Unified bill equals happy accountants:

    Unified Communications is a one-vendor solution. And your accounting department is going to love it. One monthly bill, transparent line items, and flexibility to scale up and down to reduce wasted bandwidth are all indisputable benefits of UC.

  • Embracing the BYOD work culture & changing employee lifestyle considerations: 

    To attract & retain team members that can add measurable contributions, you'll need to make it worth their while. Consider how important a "Bring Your Own Device" culture is to the next generation of employees and what lifestyle choices they prioritize. The telecom capabilities of UC closely align with how your future employees are already communicating, thereby creating a workplace culture they will understand and embrace.

Features of Unified Communications System

features of unified communication

Unified communications solutions have undoubtedly helped in increasing productivity in the business world. Here is a lowdown on the top 5 features of the Unified Communications System.

  • Video conferencing:

    In the changing world and work scenarios, video conferencing is a handy tool to have for global companies & when travelling is not feasible. Traditional phone communications have evolved to include visuals like real-time video and screen-sharing capabilities. This is a favourite feature for long-distance face-to-face meetings, webinars, and conducting meetings where the subject matter is more complicated than a typical voice call can handle.

  • Unified Messaging:

    One of the greatest advantages of the cloud is anytime, anywhere access. If you have an internet connection, you can get to all of your messages including voicemail, email, chats, faxes, and text messages. There are many components of unified messaging applications. These systems deliver all your messages into a single inbox. As a result, people are able to manage and interact with their messages in a more flexible manner. Once you access the messages, you can forward, share, and respond accordingly. Larger businesses will also enjoy the reduced cost of physical servers.

  • Automated Attendants:

    The automated attendant's feature of unified phone systems is another feather in its cap! This feature helps you avoid missing calls. These systems transfer calls directly to an extension without going through receptionists. Callers will get a menu that gives them simple directions. For example, if a caller wants to speak to an operator, they have to press a number on their phones. That eliminates the possibility of missing calls.

  • Instant Messaging:

    In video conferences, IM apps allow participants to communicate with each other, or send documents for everyone to view. These services have made communication a lot cheaper. IM apps can also be used as an alternative or as a complement to traditional long-distance telephone services. This can end up saving you a lot of money. In case you are in the middle of a phone call, and still, need to get information from someone, you don’t have to hang up. You can simply use IM apps to contact the resource person as you carry on with the conversation.

  • Desktop sharing:

    This allows users to access their desktop content remotely. You can access your desktop content from any geographical location and through any computer. These services also help in the quick resolution of tech problems. You can use online computer support to troubleshoot and fix any problems your computer has. The same app can also be used to find updates for your computer. In other words, desktop sharing allows remote tech support for devices.

Industries Benefiting from Unified Communications System

The following industries (not an exhaustive list) are deemed to benefit from unified communications solutions.

  • Banking, Financial Services, & Insurance

  • Telecom & IT

  • Consumer Goods & Retail

  • Healthcare

  • Public Sector & Utilities

  • Logistics & Transportation

  • Travel & Hospitality

  • Others (Education, Media and Entertainment, and Manufacturing)

Commonly Encountered Problems With Solutions 

Here’s how unified communications and collaboration can solve the biggest challenges in enterprise communication.

  • Communications are split between multiple devices and applications:

    Desk phones, mobile phones, softphones, IM apps, web apps, collaboration apps, and even good old voicemails: our communication is fragmented like never before. And everything uses a different phone number or user account. Unified communications and collaboration provides employees with access to all the communications channels they need in one place: phone calls, messaging, video chat and web conferencing. All this with one phone number, one user account, one identity. 

  • IT departments need to maintain lots of devices and apps, and keep security tight:

    The proliferation of devices, apps and services take its toll on IT departments too. Unified communications and collaboration can help enterprise IT departments take control. Cross-platform applications will work for every employee, no matter whether they use Windows or Mac, Android or iOS. IT departments can provision user accounts from one central location, and only need to train employees to use one set of apps, with a consistent UI. And finally, IT can rest assured that employees are communicating and sharing data on secure channels, with centralized permission control, backed up by their trusted relationship with their network operator.

  • Work/life balance is threatened by work communications on personal devices, in personal time:

    For employees who receive work calls and messages on their personal devices, it can be hard to switch off. The divide between work time and personal time gets pretty blurry, leading to increased stress and fatigue.

    Unified communications and collaboration give employees the tools they need to keep their work life and personal life separate. By making use of granular call control synced across all connected devices, employees can make sure they only receive work calls and messages in work time, so that they are never again disturbed in their personal time.

  • Conference calls are a UX nightmare:

    Old fashioned conference calls, where multiple parties try to dial into a conference bridge and attempt to make sense of each other despite disconnections, garbled introductions, unintentional interruptions and bad voice quality, are the bane of many professional lives. A cloud-hosted collaboration platform can provide employees with intuitive apps on their favourite devices, HD voice and video, desktop and application sharing, IM chat, session recording and presenter controls (like automatic muting of all participants). Each participant can see the name of all the other participants, and can see the name (and video image) of the current speaker.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • UC services can also include call monitoring, recording, and quality services. Unified Communication and Collaboration, or UC&C adds collaboration services to the UC mix, such as file sharing tools, screen sharing, scheduling, and calendars.
  • UCaaS is “Unified Communications as a Service.” It’s a sub-category of Software as a Service, or SaaS, wherein a service provider delivers software products through the web. UCaaS allows companies to access their UC solutions through a cloud environment.
  • In a digital workspace, work becomes less of a specific location, and more of a shared selection of goals and projects that can be carried out using specific tools and technologies. The digital workspace supports remote working, by allowing employees to access the same tools over the cloud, on any device or system.

Chirantan MungaraBy Chirantan Mungara | Last Updated: October 28, 2020

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