Organizations everywhere are reevaluating their IT spending priorities in the wake of pandemic-triggered economic challenges. Faced with unpredictable revenues and constrained cash flows, many will be looking to redirect spending into initiatives that can deliver immediate business benefits. Unified communications (UC) solutions should be among the top priorities.
Although Gartner analysts anticipate IT investments will decline by 7.3 percent this year, they nevertheless predict continued momentum for UC solutions. That’s not particularly surprising — these technologies are strategic imperatives for supporting the remote workforce.
In the early days of the pandemic, most organizations had to quickly spin up an assortment of cloud-based collaboration and conferencing solutions to support home-based employees. Most now need a more substantial and reliable framework for those folks.
Remote work is likely to remain a permanent arrangement in many companies, according to a recent report from the Conference Board, a business-focused think tank with representatives from 60 countries. More than three-quarters of business executives polled for the study said they expect the number of employees working primarily from home will actually increase after the pandemic has passed.
UC platforms future-proof communications, collaboration and conferencing in several important ways. It enables organizations to seamlessly move between office and remote work as needed. It also lays the groundwork for many digital transformation initiatives by enabling a consistent experience across all communication channels, optimizing collaboration and integrating with key business applications.
UC delivers a host of other financial, productivity and efficiency benefits that make it a smart investment, even in a down economy. Here are some of the ways UC can create a positive impact on your bottom line:
Unified Communications Platforms Reduce Costs
UC reduces upfront acquisition costs because it requires less hardware than conventional business telephone systems. Employees can often ditch their desk phone in favor of their smartphone, and calls are handled over the Internet. As a result, capital expenditures in infrastructure drastically decrease, while overall operating expenditures become more controlled. With voice mail, routing, queuing and reporting features combined into a single solution, UC also reduces administration and maintenance costs.
Unified Communications Platforms Increase Business Resilience
UC supports business continuity efforts, helping to limit downtime related to natural disasters, emergencies or system outages. In the event of a power outage, for example, UC can intelligently route incoming calls to alternate locations or mobile phones. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, UC also provide continuity when the main office can’t be used. Conferencing and collaboration allow dispersed employees to continue working from remote locations.
Unified Communications Increase Productivity
According one study, organizations with UC save an average of 32 minutes per day per employee by giving them multiple options for getting in touch with colleagues. In addition to streamlining collaboration and communication, UC gives users easy access to a broad range of business data from integrated customer relationship management solutions and other key business applications.
Unified Communications Offer Efficient Collaboration
Web and video conferencing open the door for immediate collaboration, regardless of location, device or network. For example, field service teams can create and share videos instantly or live stream with field technicians to provide real-time assistance. Easy access to subject-matter experts and important historical data can help provide first-call resolution of customer issues, increasing satisfaction and retention.
Unified Communications Streamline Onboarding
Conferencing and collaboration tools provide a great way to engage and train new employees. These tools enable peer mentoring, introduction to training resources and meetings with key stakeholders, activities that have been shown to increase employee satisfaction and contribute to reduced turnover.
Team collaboration and conferencing solutions were critical in allowing organizations to make the sudden pivot to remote operations. Months later, however, most organizations need a more dedicated, reliable and comprehensive solution that will allow them to support remote workers long-term. Although budgets are tight right now, an investment in a robust unified communications platform can pay dividends for years to come. We’d welcome the opportunity to show you how UC can drive significant operational and bottom-line benefits.