All About Unified Communications

There are two universal goals that all business share regardless the industry or sector they are in: Happy customers and more productivity.

How can both goals be achieved at the same time? More effective communications.

The only way a business can stay competitive in our modern world is if they can communicate with each other and customers effectively and quickly via phone, email, or chat.

A great way to assure that your communications are up to par is by upgrading to a Unified Communications system.

What Is Unified Communications (UC)?

In short, it is a way to allow both employees and customers to communicate with one another through multiple ways, including messages, email, and calls. Employees can also videoconference with each other, and listen to voicemails on multiple platforms, thanks to Unified Communications.

How Can UC Assist You with Your Business?

Customer Service:

With the use of Unified Communications, customers can contact you in any way they want: chat, email, or phone. With an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the benefits of UC grow exponentially.

Productivity:

With the help of Unified Communications, you can boost your workers’ productivity by letting them collaborate regardless of issues involving scheduling or location. The use of email, chat, and video/phone conferencing reduces problems associated with travelling costs and clashing schedules.

To provide an example, let's say one of your employees is walking to a meeting. A second employee wants to ask them a question, but instead of having to run after them, they can just call their work number. The first employee can pick up the call using their personal cell phone (they can even videocall), thus allowing for a quick, easy, and professional exchange of information.

The Best UC Platform

First of all, there are two types of UC systems: on-premises or unified communications as a service (UCaaS).

On-premises unified communications systems are usually used by very large business, who require lots of customization. These systems, as the name suggests, are supported by on-site equipment, which explains the larger upfront costs, which are needed to  buy and maintain servers. At least you don’t have to worry about reoccurring subscription fees.

UCaaS systems, on the other hand, don’t require on-site equipment, large upfront costs, or an IT staff to look after them. You simply pay a service provider a subscription for a service that is hosted in the cloud.

For small to midsize businesses, UCaaS is recommended. This is due to the ability to easily scale up and lower costs. On top of this, using a UCaaS system is better for business continuity and disaster recovery.

UCaaS: Multitenant or Virtualized

UCaaS systems are divided into two further sub-categories: multitenant and virtualized solutions.

Multitenant UCaaS users share the same software instance. This kind of UCaaS, which includes the likes of Skype, Google Hangouts, etc, are easier to support and more popular among small businesses.

Virtualized UCaaS systems, on the other hand, allows each user to have their own software instance. Virtualized solution comes with more customization and security but require more support. These systems are usually less appropriate for small and midsize businesses, with even some enterprise-size companies preferring multitenant UCaaS as well.

How to Swith to UC?

A UC system requires a VoIP (Voice over IP) phone system, in contrary to the older PBX system. This means your calls go through the internet instead of a private carrier.

The advantages of the aforementioned internet telephony include unlimited local and long-distance calls, user friendliness, and easier reconfiguration.

If integrated with CRM software, VoIP becomes even more valuable, as you’ll be able to gather data as you interact with customers (which in turn you can use to improve your service).

Jeremy Ashburn