Welcome to the world of unified communications, where workplaces of more productive, collaborative and innovative.

An introduction to unified communications

While you can continually evolve as an enterprise through the successful innovation of your products and services, you can, in terms of process, maintain the status quo. It’s stable, effective and reliable in delivering what you want it to deliver, however, simply put, it’s not keeping up with the times. At best, you’re plodding along.

Proponents of existing working conditions will defend the orthodoxy because it delivers on its objectives. It’s a reasonable argument, because, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However, nowadays, in an age defined by dramatic change, that attitude its increasingly outdated. Organisations need to embrace the future.

In this piece we look at one of the latest developments that is having a significant impact on the way we work: unified communications (UC). Utilised to full effect, this forward-thinking, tech-focused approach will give your enterprise the kind of 21st century makeover it has been in need of.

What is unified communications?

The clue is, of course, in the name, but to give UC a bit more substance, we can say that it represents the consolidation of communications and collaboration technologies. These, in turn, are streamlined, allowing people to be more productive, more responsive and more collaborative.

You can work when you want, where you want and how you want. That’s the beauty of UC, it opens up endless possibilities - in terms of processes - to the benefit of all stakeholders. It’s fluid, dynamic and indicative of a modern way of working.

How does it work?

UC brings together different types of technology (smartphones, tablets and laptops) and forms of communication (text, audio, visual) and “levels” them out. As such, you can send a message on one device and channel and continue to conversation in on another device and another channel. All throughout, the conversation remains consistent.

It is made possible through the adoption of a particular software platform, which centralises your workflow. Organisations are able to choose from bespoke solutions that are adapted to your particular needs and requirements. But, it doesn’t just stop there. UC is positioned in such a way as to allow you to grow as technology progresses. It is malleable.

Why should we invest?

Traditional ideas about work are no longer as relevant as they once were. Take the humble desk. This has been an “office bastion”, a central hub from which an individual has largely carried out his day-to-day responsibilities. With mobile technologies, the desk has been freed. It’s a table in a coffee shop, it’s you walking and talking through a park, it’s the couch in your living room.

UC is pivotal to this. It’s the means by which organisations can transform the very mechanisms that have underpinned their approach to work and, resultingly, lead to new ways of thinking, cut down on superfluous costs, boost revenue and enhance morale. As far as return on investments go, that’s a decent payoff.

The next big thing

Like big data, unified communications, in principle and practice has been around for longer than is often assumed. It’s not so much the case that we missed the memo, just that, for the most part, it’s not yet ready for mass adoption. Enterprises are either oblivious to the system, cautious to test it out or not in a position to prioritise it.

However, in 2015 and beyond, its importance and value is becoming increasingly clear. In a paperless, cloud-focused and tech-driven world of work, UC emerges as a key ingredient that has, up until now, been missing.

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