Unified Communications – What’s in it for me?

Stephen Mulligan
On: 29 Jun 2015
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Let’s look at how UC can create a more flexible, agile organisation; enabling your business to run more smoothly.

We’re all selfish creatures at heart. When we think about technology, we’re no different. When we consider the application of a new solution or approach to either our personal or business lives, the “what’s in it for me” question is never far from our minds.

In previous blogs we looked at how Unified Communications (UC) removes, or at least minimises, the gaps between:

  1. who we want to communicate with,
  2. how we want to communicate with them, and
  3. what device and connectivity we have to use for communication.

That’s the first thing about UC. It makes your life easier.

1. Makes Your Life Easier

If you can communicate with someone wherever you are and on whatever connected device you happen to have, your life is simpler and your business runs more smoothly.

Consider this:

  • If I can see a colleague’s “Presence” to know if they are “Available”, “In a Meeting”, “On a Call”, “Away”, etc. I know how best to communicate with them. If they are “In a Meeting” I might try an Instant Message (IM). If they are “Away”, I’ll likely try calling their mobile, and so on.
  • If I can send a colleague an IM before I call them so they know what the call is about, they’re more likely to take the call and I’m less likely to end up in a game of voicemail tennis. I think we’ve all been through this particular pain and know how much time can go by with no productive output.
  • If, when I’m talking to my colleague on the call I can easily share a document that I’m working on, or share my screen, the call becomes so much more productive.
  • If I can bring extra participants onto the call, then suddenly my conversation becomes a fully fledged meeting.

That’s the second thing about UC. It makes you more flexible.

2. Personal and Organisational Flexibility

By its nature, a UC environment is fluid and supportive of “just getting things done.” The flexibility and agility that UC brings is clear to see at the user level. Additionally, from an organisational standpoint, moving to a Unified Communications environment (particularly a cloud-based UC environment) makes managing the environment significantly easier.

Just ask anyone who has ever managed a traditional Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) phone system about managing “adds, moves and changes.” If users needed to move desks, their phones would need to be moved, re-patched and often re-cabled. This nightmarish scenario would make even the most seasoned sys-admin go pale. By contrast, in a UC environment, you unplug the phone in one location and plug it in again in the other. Think of moving your laptop around the office and plugging into the network again. It’s that simple.

3. Cloud Brings Agility

If you put this solution into the cloud, it becomes even easier and more agile for your organisation. If you’re moving office, no problem. The UC environment doesn’t move, you just reconnect to it from the new office. Similarly in a disaster-recovery scenario, your communications never go down. You are back up and running as soon as you move to the new site and plug in again. In fact, while you’re en-route, you’re still connected via your mobile device.

So, what’s in it for you? Quite a lot actually.