The appeal of unified communications (UC) has long been acknowledged. A growing business with far-flung staffers beavering in isolation has much to gain from this concept, which brings together disparate enterprise business communication applications and integrates them into a single interface.
Here, everything from voice calls to videoconferencing, instant messaging to e-mail, faxing to voicemail find productive lodging under a common roof. Enhanced team collaboration thrives with this approach, which unifies human resources efficiently, regardless of their various physical geographies.
And an installed UC platform also means customers are better served, thanks to a single-number system and precise routing functionality that directs incoming calls swiftly to their most appropriate destinations.
It’s a clean, clever, efficient plan whose widespread adoption by businesses big and small makes perfect sense. But for all of its inherently marvelous characteristics, the UC concept is limited in its earthbound state.
Elevate it to the cloud, however, and discover just how useful this tool can be. Consider:
UC marries the cloud in a ceremony that offers participants a range of cost, operational and performance benefits. This approach delivers every telephony feature customers desire — without the imperative of an associated capital investment in PBX infrastructure, to say nothing of deployment fees or ongoing management costs. Newly flush in both IT resources and cash, companies can more productively deploy their staff and dollars along business-building avenues.
UC that’s integrated in a cloud format relieves managers of the burden and expense of maintaining their own UC server. With cloud-based UC solutions, users enjoy increased flexibility (they only pay according to engaged users) and easy adoption (that requires no additional hardware considerations).
That cloud-based communications are rapidly gaining traction is a reality helped along by massive buy-in from manufacturers and suppliers alike. All of the big guys offer cloud versions of their UC platforms these days, including Microsoft, Siemens and Cisco. Their efforts are well-supported by prescient telecomm providers who themselves have added UC to their service offerings.
Webtorial’s 2011 Sourcebook of Hosted and Cloud-Based VoIP and UC Services study reports that bringing UC to the cloud will cut capital costs. Further, it will divert IT support staff from babysitting phone calls to more productive business-growing pursuits. Indeed, it pegs an annual recovered time-value for a theoretical company with 50 “knowledge workers” or employees who rely substantially on telecommunications at $942,500.
It’s an impressive claim that’s based on an assumption that SMB knowledge workers spend an average of 50% of their time on such mundane stay-in-touch tasks as: trying to contact people, scheduling meetings and navigating a constant flow of uninvited communications.
Organizations who transfer their telecommunications functions to the cloud capably prepare themselves for a future transformation. Given that they’re untethered from restrictive physical technology, these free-agent firms are well positioned to benefit from whatever productivity-enhancing communications capabilities float up in the days to come.