Now something of a buzzword, unified communications refers to sweeping changes occurring within the ICT, telecoms and computing worlds.
Unfortunately, buzzwords are often associated with hype and over-inflated ideas. That said, often, there is an important kernel of truth at their core. This is certainly true in the case of unified communications.
As such, we are going to explain what unified communications are as well as why using unified communications technology can benefit your business in the near-term.
At this point in our specie’s technological development, we have often developed multiple solutions to the same problem. For example, we have developed ways to speak with each other over long distances twice: firstly, via traditional PSTN telephony; secondly, via VoIP.
And that’s just voice communication. We have also developed other methods of long-distance communication which are not dependent on voice. This includes fax, email, instant messaging, social media and so on. Combined, these technologies have made humanity more connected that it’s ever been – which is great for…well, pretty much everything.
For businesses especially, increased global connectivity has ushered in some fantastic benefits – such as more integrated long-distance teams, more achievable international expansion, higher levels of collaboration, remote and flexible working, better consumer interactions and faster customer service response times.
What’s more, because of the accessibility of communications products, these benefits are enjoyed by companies of all sizes – from multinational organisations to SMEs. In fact, in some ways, it’s smaller enterprises that have experienced the greatest rewards. Indeed, modern communications solutions are responsible for reducing SME overheads by 15 percent, increasing efficiency for 23 percent of SMEs and for the fact that 76 percent of SME employees now use a mobile device for work.
This all sounds fantastic. But problems emerges when companies use multiple (occasionally even incompatible) communications solutions simultaneously. Often these solutions offer the same functions (meaning they effectively pay twice), different teams favour one or the other of them (frustrating communication) or they are not maximising their use of their solution (leading to wasted resources).
Unified communications provide a solution to all of these problems – and more. By combining the most appropriate and best suited communications solutions into one package, businesses can enjoy a modern, tailored communications package based entirely on their needs. Their package will contain only the applications they will use, will consolidate communications processes (even over multiple locations) and will be optimised and developed as they grow.
Typically, a unified communications solution is delivered over the cloud. This allows multiple applications to be accessed via one dashboard, introduces valuable new services (such as disaster recovery and business continuity products) and ensures the solution inherently flexible and scalable.
As communication technologies have advanced, the distinction between ICT and telecoms has become much blurrier. A good modern telecoms provider will offer VoIP services – which depend on what was historically ICT infrastructure – and some of the leading ICT companies are working almost exclusively on communications solutions.
That said, the best unified communications providers largely come from the world of telecoms. Why?
One the one hand, pure play ICT companies are often very interested in developing completely new technologies. And, because developing such solutions is a huge process, this gives them very little time to focus on how existing products can be best delivered to consumers.
On the other , companies with a history in the telecoms industry have the knowledge and expertise required to move their customers from old solutions to new ones – since this depends on a thorough knowledge of traditional telecoms as much as it depends on a knowledge of new solutions.
As such, for businesses looking for a comprehensive unified communications solution, their best starting point is often a business phone system. Business phone systems are used, of course, for connecting internal calls, directing calls to the most appropriate agent, delivering IVR, recording phone calls and voicemail.
However, as communications technology has developed, these systems have been enhanced with a range of new functionalities. These include file sharing, instant messaging, video calling, VoIP services, collaboration tools, built-in disaster recovery, telephone number management, call routing, remote working and more.
No longer really a phone system at all, unified communications solutions cover all of a business’s internal and external communication requirements. Staff can access everything they need to do their job effectively via a single dashboard, meaning they can work from anywhere. Owners and executives can view detailed analytics to see how their solution is being used and how workflow can be improved.
Today, there exists a range of unified communications solutions. These are tailored to your business’s exact needs, meaning you never pay for unused services, streamline communication processes across your entire business and maximise resource allocation.
At Elite Group, we have made it our expertise to supply industry-leading unified communications solutions. Working with you, we will identify your specific needs so that we can create a unified communications solution that covers all your requirements.
Our experienced team will offer hands-on training to help you and your employees understand exactly how your solution works, and our award-winning support team will provide on-going assistance to ensure that you continue to get the most out of your solution.
We work in tandem with the industry’s leading communications suppliers. This means we can provide the very latest solutions from a variety of vendors. As such, whether you’re looking to foster collaboration, introduce remote working, improve call handling or synchronise geographically disparate offices, we will create a solution that meets your needs.
Elite Group is the leading unified communications provider. We work with businesses of all sizes looking to implement a unified communications solution and provide a variety of communications products.