Unified Communications: An Essential Strategy to Future Proof Your Business

The world is changing rapidly. So are the ways we communicate and the communication technologies we use. New platforms and apps are enabling businesses and employees to talk, share, and collaborate seamlessly across time zones, distance, and geography. But with continually changing needs and demands, many businesses are uncertain how to adapt or which platforms or apps to use. The solution? Unified communications.

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Unified Communications (UC) brings together everything you need in a single application and is becoming essential for businesses of all sizes to remain competitive, stay in touch with customers, communicate while working from home, the office or while traveling, and increase business efficiency and profits. Here is what you need to know to about Unified Communications and how an effective UC strategy can future-proof your business—starting today.

Why Work is About Workflow

Think about how long you spend in the morning just catching up on your communications. Invariably, something will have happened as soon as you stepped away from the office, and when you log on, your inbox is packed full of panicked emails and status updates. This problem compounds when you’re switching between multiple email accounts, and maybe even text or messaging apps. If you’re traveling, someone might not even be able to reach you without trying multiple numbers, slowing down your responsiveness and making it even harder to get ahead of the situation.

UC solves this by putting all of your communications in one place. Having your email, internal messaging, SMS, and voicemail all in one place is a game changer because it allows you to adapt to the workflow that works best for you.

Different types of communication will always be best suited to different types of tasks. If you’re tweaking a design, you’ll want to be able to talk quickly back and forth to make adjustments on the fly and see how they work. On the other hand, working out project specifications is probably best carried out over a more permanent channel, like email. And as you get to smaller and smaller changes, you might want to switch to something like comments on a shared Doc. The beauty of UC is even though you’re switching between these different modes of communication, it all lives in the same place which lets you see, at a glance, everything you need to know about where a project is and what you should tackle next. As we add even more communication tools in the future, having an effective UC strategy will become even more important.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Communications

A big difference maker when collaborating with a far-flung team, especially across time zones, is knowing when to use synchronous (i.e. real-time, like phone calls) or asynchronous (less time-sensitive, like emails) communications. Different types of communication are going to exist on a sliding scale in terms of how responsive the users expect each other to be. A video or phone chat obviously demands all participants are present and engaged, whereas if you send an email you don’t necessarily expect an immediate response. Chat and text messages occupy a gray area— they’re a little more urgent and personal than email, but there’s an understanding that the recipient might not necessarily be at their keyboard or checking their phone at that very moment.

You might be thinking, if using all these different communication channels is a good thing, then why do I need everything in one place? You need a way to effectively manage your workflow, and understand immediately where each project stands at any given time.

Our brains are wired to remember meaning much more than context. We remember what someone told us and why it was important, but not necessarily how we received that information. We’ll dig through our email looking for the address our friend gave us for lunch, only to realize that it was actually in a text from last week. When something more important than showing up to lunch on time is on the line, we can’t really afford to waste time. Having all the information in one place makes all the difference.

Unified Communications by the Numbers

  • Reaching a coworker on the first attempt saves an average of 32 minutes per day.
  • The ability to access all communications via mobile saves around 30 minutes a day by decreasing productivity holdups.
  • The adoption of unified communications has seen significant growth and increased demand over the last five years and shows no sign of slowing down, with experts predicting double-digit growth through 2025. Organizations not adopting a unified communication strategy could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the not-to-distant future.
  • Traditional technologies remain the most used forms of employee communication, enterprises are increasing their use of video-conferencing and telepresence technologies.

All of these numbers show that UC is the future, helping you save money by getting more done more quickly. Develop a UC strategy now to get out in front and be ready for what comes next.

Why Mobile is the Key

Being on the go can make it hard to track everything that’s going on with your business. Depending on how your work accounts are set up, it can be a real time suck to sign in to each account individually and compare information across accounts. This problem is even worse on mobile, where it’s time-consuming to even type in login information, let alone browse through multiple systems.

UC solutions that have a strong mobile option solve this problem by putting everything in one place. You can be sure all of your information is up-to-date, even if something comes in while you’re taking Uber to the meeting. Removing friction around working from mobile and working out of the office also makes it easier for you to offer remote work options or to consider hiring remote workers.

What You Can Do Right Now

No matter what business you’re in, clear and organized communications are fundamental to getting work done effectively and efficiently. By putting everything in one place, Unified Communications let you shift seamlessly between channels to use the right tool for the job, while still keeping everything well coordinated. As we shift more and more to mobile, remote work, and virtual collaboration, a Unified Communications strategy is a key component in future-proofing your business and getting ready for what comes next.

  • Use the right communication channel for the work you’re doing.
  • Implement UC to keep all communications in one place so you can develop an effective workflow.
  • Get ready for increasing demand to work from mobile and work remotely.

Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.