As it probably is for most businesses – even the ones that aren’t in the technology sector, given the increasing importance of technology in all industries – we found that communication was the single most important aspect of our business. It runs through everything else we do, after all; from manufacturing and distribution, to various IT issues, our network and information architecture. Any little positive tweak in streamlining this, such as that achieved with unified communication, reaps large dividends for the company. Whether we implemented it with videoconferencing, emails or faxes, we got a positive response from the new-found ease of use and increased efficiency.
Specific Things Unified Communications Did for Us
Think about all the different ways we connect to a central network in today’s business marketplace; there’s the ever more popular Bring your Own Device (BYOD) culture that encourages employees to bring their own customized mobile devices to work and attach it to the network, for example. There are also what sometimes seems like countless different communication platforms – email, instant messaging, video phone, VoIP, and many more.
The point is that not all of these are compatible, in the sense that trying to reach a client, customer or business associate while using a smartphone, can delay transmission if they’re using email. Unified communication erases all that:
- Keeping Business Interests Connected:
We’ve been able to coordinate crucial business communications between fax, PDAs and video conferencing; given the different preferences of our clients and staff when on the road. No longer do they need to carry a proprietary device with them; we can sync with them all.
- Communication Affords Protection:
Whenever someone is unavailable, we can determine to a large extent why – this is very important in many instances: are we dealing with a business that is understandably preoccupied, or with a client who unwilling to conduct business for a wide variety of different reasons? Is a shipment being held up for reasons other than what the distributor has stated? Such knowledge can mean the difference between taking a loss and alternative arrangements made in a timely fashion. Unified communication affords us the ability to both protect our business and conduct it professionally and to the highest standards of promptness.
- Making Business Decisions:
Ever try making business decisions while abroad? Of course, this often depends on which ones; the kind that can’t simply be relayed over a voice call or email can be hashed out via videoconferencing. Making decisions such as whether or not we will give in fully to the cloud – despite security concerns – and embrace the BYOD culture really need your IT team responsible for security in the (virtual) room. Cloud networks can reap big dividends in terms of productivity and efficiency; but without the necessary security protocols in place, they can also send the safety of your network security packing.
An Integrated Communication Platform
There’s another thing we noticed about implementing unified communications as standard; by coupling it with a BYOD policy, staff are much more easily able to take work home with them. Remaining connected to the network enables them to either take the initiative to complete duties independently, coordinate group projects during off-hours, or simply clock out on time and wrap up a few minutes or a few hours of work later at home. It generally increases the overall productivity of the company – not to mention that the ability to use their own tablets and smartphones eliminates the need for us to employ tech to show familiarize them with standard, company-issued devices.
In addition to the increased comfort and access accorded by unified communications, there’s also the benefit of geographic flexibility. We know some business partners that work almost exclusively with highly talented telecommuters, who rarely – if ever – clock in at the physical location of their company. Unified communications allows video-conferencing, messaging, VoIP – all those different modes of communications mentioned earlier, to simulate a virtual environment that doesn’t require travel costs. The remote interactivity confers all the benefits of getting the right people for the job, without the detriment of location limitations.
In sum, if you have a business with enough parts and components to your network, such that enhanced unified communication efficiency can confer many of the above advantages, then it may be time to embrace the changing dynamic. Better communicators are poised to leap ahead in every niche, as efficiency and promptness play an ever-greater part in how we do business across multiple platforms.