Unified Communications will lead the way to a collaborative future
It's time for Indian companies to embrace unified communications if they want to stay abreast with the increasing needs of employees, customers, and their own business.
The world is changing at warp speed and so are communication technologies, which are enabling people to talk, share and collaborate across distances, time zones and geographies seamlessly. It has also become essential for enterprises across the world to use the latest research and technologies to remain competitive, stay in touch with customers at all times, and increase efficiency and profits.
Many companies across segments in India have long since been using devices and media such as landline phones, mobiles, video conferencing, and emails to communicate. Although still effective, these are hard to juggle for employees who are pressed for time. The age that enterprises are functioning in today, requires them to use technology to facilitate smooth conversations and information exchanges via phone, IM, audio/video conferencing or desktop sharing. Employees as well as customers are exposed to the best kind of communication platforms in their everyday lives - like WhatsApp or Skype - which means that businesses need to keep up with their changing needs, and understand what they are growing used to.
The solution is - Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC). It brings all communication devices and interfaces onto a single integrated application. It lets people communicate and collaborate easily, resulting in a much more productive workforce.
According to a Tata Communications' Partner Survey 2016, just under 50% of enterprises around the world have deployed UCC, with an additional 33% expected to start within the next three years. Kevin McMahon, director of global marketing, Tata Communications, says this means that half of the enterprises haven't experienced the benefits of UCC and seen how it can drive productivity and efficiency in a business environment.
"The 33% of enterprises that will be making the move to UCC over the next three years will make this transition because the solutions and the market are changing. I see barriers to adoption being removed and simpler, more powerful solutions becoming available to an even wider range of customers. To me that will unlock the potential of UCC in more businesses and more markets around the world," he says.
Here is how unified communication can foster collaboration, innovation and boost productivity:
Unified communications provides a platform for employees, clients, vendors and business partners to come together and collaborate. This means that people can work on projects and assignments simultaneously across time zones and geographies.
Integration of UC with business processes helps streamline communication and makes workers more responsive. Using technologies that allow knowledge exchange simply and effectively can shorten project timelines and positively impact the bottom line.
"Today, what business users want is real-time collaboration. The need to integrate collaboration and communication capabilities with other business applications is one of the ways that enterprises can transform themselves into a full fledged digital business," writes Aragon Research in a note. .
Unified Communications ensures that everyone has access to the people or resources that are important to their function at all time, making work more efficient. UC lets employees reach the right people or resources through the right mode of communication.
Issues can be resolved faster as the concerned people are notified immediately and they can in turn communicate ideas or solutions in real time. .
UC also lets employees check each other's availability, and figure out the best way to get in touch.
"As businesses grow and expand domestically and internationally, they need a sophisticated way to manage their communications and collaboration - however the ability to connect instantly is both a benefit and a challenge. Our approach to UC is to equip organisations with choice through the breadth and depth of our solutions and in-built interoperability to fully realise the potential of a connected world," says Anthony Bartolo, President, Unified Communications and Mobility, Tata Communications.
Increase in productivity
Businesses, which are spread out wide, often find it hard to monitor work and keep employees on task. UC can ensure that there is real time collaboration and conferring with management and employees at various locations regularly.
This can help the central management be cognizant of complications, issues and the progress at various locations, and also keep track of performance. UC platforms can ensure that the various segments of businesses are monitored and issues can be addressed quickly without letting them cause delays and loss of productivity.
Business Process Integration
UC is communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) – which means that communication capabilities are embedded in enterprise business processes.
On an everyday basis, there are instances when employees need to get information or feedback, or just communicate with colleagues, suppliers, partners or even customers. And often work stops because there is a delay in response. But embedding communications in business process workflow means work doesn't need to stop, and business can flow smoothly.
Unified communications helps in reducing the 'human latency' in business processes.
Reduced travel costs
As Indian companies are growing and capturing newer geographies and markets, Unified Communications can come in very handy. Often the travel expenses of employees are huge. UC can decrease the need for constant travel, especially for senior officials, substantially.
Mediums like texts and emails can be used to relay information but they are not collaborative and the whole process is time consuming. Those haven't made the need to travel redundant either, whereas UC is more collaborative and it syncs data in real time, and updates are available quickly. UC enables employees to hold or attend meetings remotely, work remotely, and monitor work or work locations remotely, cutting down on travel time and costs.
Using communication technology effectively has immense advantages. UC has the potential to unlock productivity and efficiency manifold, and effectively change the way we work. It simplifies processes and allows time and space for other things like - innovation and finding better solutions.