Listen to Episode 7 of the Product Management Leaders Podcast to uncover strategies and tactics for building world-class products.
If you want to contact a person, what will you do? A wide selection of communication tools, from SMS to an assortment of different messengers, imposes its conditions. You need to remember the person’s phone number, name (in some cases, nickname), not to mention the need to use a specific device for each type of connection. This can cause difficulties both in everyday life and when organizing work in a large office.
Each type of connection develops in its own evolutionary way, and unified communications bring them together.
Unified Communications definition
UC (or Unified Communications) are a combination of real-time communication technologies, such as chats and document collaborations, integrated with offline communication methods that do not require the presence of a person (e-mail, voicemail, SMS, fax).
Usually, this is a system of several products, combined into a single interface, which allows the user to stay in touch at any time, using any device. One of the main advantages of UC-systems is the ability to send and receive messages without reference to the same transmission method.
How unified communications works
Today, the "duty kit" of UC consists of several basic functions, including:
- Audio and video conferencing
- Chats and instant messengers
- Presence indicator
- Corporate address book or active directory
- Teamwork tools (demonstration of documents, presentations, videos)
The modern system of unified communications can work both online and offline - targeted information should not go "anywhere" if the employee is not presently online. One of the most important characteristics of UC is the provision of a “single phone number” when you do not need to search for it on all channels to call a subscriber - just dial one number and the system (or the called subscriber) will choose the best communication method. Cross-platform is also important, which means the ability to implement all communication services in various software environments and on all kinds of hardware platforms - without being tied to the manufacturer. At a higher level, unified communications should be integrated into the company's business processes, including support for working with ERP and CRM systems.
Types of UC technologies
The business integration of communication is divided into several areas.
Human collaboration aspects and software
It includes a user environment with components such as text communications (chats, email), voice applications, video conferencing, tele-presentations, virtual meeting spaces, real-time presentations, and enterprise social networking.
Back-end technologies and hardware
Here you can see all kinds of communication devices and accessories, such as microphones, cameras, headphones. It is also impossible to imagine unified communications without UC platforms or servers. Private branch exchange (PBX) can be based on the traditional approach, cloud technologies or IP telephony. Also, business communication gateways and multipoint control units are typically used.
Common UC Components
The key components of unified communications are the presence status service and a single universal client, from which the user receives information about the status of other users in the system and has access to various communication channels. If these two key components are absent in the system, then it is too early to say that the company has implemented a unified communications system, and not just a set of communication services.
And, of course, the UC system should be protected and convenient to use on any modern personal device. Recently, UC based on cloud platforms has become increasingly popular, which is a reflection of the general situation in IT.
Why it is good for business
If the company does not provide the means of communication, then employees begin to use their own. The downside is that this is being done without control by the company, and there are risks in terms of information security and monitoring of working hours.
The corporate system, on the one hand, provides all kinds of familiar communications, and on the other hand, makes it possible to control them.
Unified communications can provide:
- Monitoring the use of communication channels with the ability to control the consumption of working time, as well as assess the quality of communication with the client.
- Automation of work processes, such as redirecting tasks from one department to another, notifications of events in the company's CRM, notification of employees by a group.
- Improving communication between employees by compiling a single address book, as well as its automatic updates with data from CPM. This will increase the efficiency of employees and faster decision-making.
By implementing UC, you get:
- High-quality communication
Dedicated servers allow the UC systems to deliver high audio and video signal quality.
- Business process automation
Using a unified communications system, it’s possible to integrate it with a CRM system, which will maximize the automation of processes in the enterprise, increase control of business processes, efficiency, and employee productivity.
A unified communications system is available from anywhere in the world where there is Internet access. In the case of moving and changing the office, a single multi-channel number remains with the client.
- Effect of presence
Videoconferencing and high-quality communication allow regionally distributed companies to hold meetings "at one table", thus increasing the efficiency of interaction between remote employees.
- Communication Confidentiality
Using your servers allows you to avoid listening to conversations, and the use of encryption of conversations will not allow the interception of such calls.
UC has been and remains an important business tool. Unified communications are not based on the address book, but a list of topics on individual channels. Thus, the central element is not a specific person, but a topic or process, which, obviously, better meets the needs of modern business.
UC lets you use integrated collaboration tools to bring together employees anywhere on any device. Companies that are interested in gaining a quick advantage are increasingly paying attention to how they have built communications between employees and customers. Join us, and we will help you integrate yourself into the process.