Unified communications (UC) allows businesses to have the ability to make phone calls, emails, faxes and video chat from a single device like a computer. Though the majority of business leaders have confessed that they don’t know exactly what UC means, studies indicate that many are scrambling to take advantage of the benefits that UC offers their organizations—though, paradoxically, they are unaware that it is UC that they want.
Depending on the company, views of UC offerings vary. For those that use some form of UC services, 51 percent of executives said that those services were essential. Meanwhile, only 24 percent of companies that don’t use any form of UC think it should be a priority for their companies. Here is a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using UC.
Benefits of UC
Businesses are beginning to take advantage of unified communications: 40 percent of businesses surveyed indicated that they are already using elements of unified communications—though some of those businesses were not aware that those services fell under the umbrella of UC.
The reasons for using UC services are plentiful and include the following:
- UC gives companies an easier way to communicate with one another. Video conferencing allows face-to-face communication with remote employees. This accessibility to communication tools that unified communications offers means companies have a variety of ways to stay in touch even when they are not in the office. Furthermore, many feel comfortable using video calls to communicate: 64% of those surveyed said that they feel just as comfortable speaking to someone through video calls as they do in person.
- A byproduct of that results in greater collaboration ability. By giving employees a variety of ways to stay in touch, it makes it easier for them to communicate with others, share documents, and stay up-to-date on projects.
- UC allows companies the option of having remote employees, which can reduce office expenses. Since unified communications gives employees the ability to communicate anywhere, they don’t have to spend all of their time in the office. Baseline reports that 60% of executives from companies that use some form of unified communications have telecommuting employees; on the flip side, only 40% of companies that don’t use UC have employees that work from home.
- Remote employees surveyed said they used many UC tools such as instant messaging, web conferencing, and email to communicate.
Potential Drawbacks of UC
While there are benefits to using unified communications, there are certain drawbacks that may arise. Here is a look at some of the problems companies have encountered:
- In Baseline’s survey, they found that many companies struggled to find the right system and provider for their unified communications. This can be problematic, because choosing the wrong provider could lead to higher costs and even unreliable service. To combat this, it’s important that companies take the time to research providers before determining one.
- Even more important than selecting a provider is determining the priorities the company needs for unified communications. Before selecting a provider, it’s important that IT executives study the methods of communication their organizations use the most and prioritize their needs based on their business models, clients, and employees.
Ultimately, unified communications is an efficient and proven way for businesses to stay in touch with employees and their clients. By taking the time to select the right priorities and provider, organizations can avoid some of the barriers that other companies have encountered. In turn, companies will have access to innovative communication tools, which can help them maintain a healthy flow of communication.