Unified communications enables employees, managers, business partners and customers to communicate in real time – anytime, anywhere, from any device – by unifying voice communication, email, messaging, presence, videoconferencing, data sharing and more into a single, easily accessible system.

Most companies focus on how the technology can cut costs and save time, and those are definitely important parts of the equation. However, you need to dig deeper into how this technology can impact the way you do business if you want to get the most from your investment in unified communications.

From a business perspective, a unified communications system needs to be aligned with your business requirements. You’re taking a huge gamble if you just implement new technology and hope for the best. The solution for each company will vary based upon what it does, the needs of its users and the needs of its customers.

The value of unified communications extends far beyond time and cost savings. It can improve productivity and increase sales by enhancing the quality of interactions, building relationships, making data more readily available, and speeding up the decision-making process.

This requires more than the implementation of new technology. Integrating all types of communication to keep users and customers connected requires changes in both thought process and business process. Analyze how these processes will be modified and improved by a unified communications system.

From a user perspective, if you want everyone to buy in, bring everyone to the table, not just IT. Most people are set in their ways and at least somewhat resistant to change. They don’t want to learn a new system and use new features that take them out of their comfort zone. Employees are being asked to change how they communicate and do their jobs. Those can be major behavioral changes.

This is natural, but it prevents a company from taking full advantage of unified communications. The longer it takes to fully implement the system, the longer it takes a company to see a return on investment.

Discuss how unified communications can make everyone more productive – management, sales, administration, human resources, finance, customer service and mobile workers. Then offer job-specific training so users are comfortable with the tools and understand how these tools will make their lives easier.

From a cost perspective, reduced communication costs come first, followed by reduced operational costs and improved productivity. As users take full advantage of unified communications, the soft costs increase and companies gain a real competitive advantage by working more efficiently and accelerating the pace of business.

The monetary value of that competitive advantage may be difficult to quantify on a spreadsheet, but it can be significant enough to put some distance between you and your competition.

Contact IPC and we can help you evaluate your options and get the most out of your unified communications system.

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