What is Unified Communications?
According to Wikipedia, Unified Communications is defined as:
“Unified Communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging, voice, video, data sharing and call control with non-real-time communication services such as voicemail, e-mail, mobile messaging and fax. It’s a set of products and capabilities that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types”
How Will UC Help My Business Right Now?
A solid definition from ol’ Wikipedia is always a good place to start, but at the end of the day, you need to understand how UC can help your business right now.
To help you out, here are five features of Unified Communications that, once you start using them, you’ll wonder what you did without’em.
1. Consolidated Inbox
By consolidating and unifying your communications into a single digital format, you’re able to share information based on people, subjects, topics and events without regard for media type.
2. Message Access
Need to listen to your email? Have it dictated over the phone. Need to read your voice mail? No problem, voice to text transcription is another great benefit made possible with a unified communications system
3. Easy Message Sharing
Have you ever received a paper fax of a contract or purchase order and had to refax it or have to scan it so someone across the country could see it as well?
With UC, faxes are just data. Forward them on just like you would forward an email.
4. Integration with Big Systems
Most likely your company uses some form of ERP, CRM or other big system to manage your proceses and customer data.
UC allows you easily integrate between these types applications. For example, with UC you can access enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications like SAP. or or customer relationship management (CRM) like Siebel or Salesforce. Similar integrations can be done with supply chain management (SCM) and other data management and reporting applications.
5. Makes BYOD A Reality
These days many companies are adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. This creates integration hassles for IT as they have to figure out ways to handle both data and mobile voice into their communications infrastructure.
UC systems make this much easier. With UC you can get that anytime, anywhere access from many different devices – Smart phones, tablets, laptops, notebooks and desktop computers.