From the printing press and the steam engine to electrical power systems and airplanes, innovative technologies have always been principal drivers of increased efficiency and economic growth. In the digital age, few technologies have a greater impact on business efficiency than unified communications (UC) solutions.
Although economists and management consultants have very specific formulas for calculating efficiency, it is ultimately about making the best use of your time and resources to improve productivity. That’s UC in a nutshell.
By linking essential communication tools such as voice, email, instant messaging and video through a single interface, UC eliminates the need to purchase, manage and maintain a slew of individual and disconnected communication channels. In turn, this tight integration allows businesses to streamline workflows, improve information sharing, boost productivity and speed decision-making.
UC has proven to be critical for linking increasingly decentralized workforces. With more and more people working remotely, poorly integrated communication technologies can lead to miscommunication, errors and frustrations that wreck efficiency.
According to a Vanson Bourne survey, nearly half of organizations say fragmented technologies negatively impact their ability to innovate, engage with customers, and develop new products and services. The research firm estimates that an inability to unite disparate systems is costing businesses $140 billion each year.
UC, meanwhile, enables efficient remote operations by allowing people to connect and collaborate through a variety of channels. According to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 68 percent of companies adopting UC have realized efficiency gains and 67 percent have increased productivity.
Here are some of the ways that specific elements of a UC solution contribute to increased business efficiency and productivity:
- Messaging and chat features enable rapid, real-time communications that help companies make timely decisions.
- File sharing and screen sharing improve team collaboration and enable anytime/anywhere access to critical data from any device.
- Video conferencing speeds collaboration by eliminating the need for traveling to meeting venues, which not only cuts costs but shrinks the time required to gain feedback, make decisions and complete projects.
- Mobility gives users the ability to communicate with team members, access critical business data and collaborate with external stakeholders without regard to their physical location.
- Multimodal call control enables users to start a conversation on one channel, such as voice, and seamlessly transition to another, such as videoconferencing, without having to disconnect and restart the call.
- Application programming interfaces enable the integration of essential business applications such as CRM, ERP, sales force automation, supply chain management and productivity suites, which streamlines workflows, enhances customer service and speeds sales cycles.
- Reporting and analytics features can collect and analyze data from all communication channels to identify trends and deliver suggestions about improving performance.
- Task management helps teams manage projects from start to finish by setting deadlines, assigning resources, generating notifications and more to ensure that projects stay on track and are completed on time.
UC solutions also boost the efficiency of contact centers by supporting decentralized staffing with support agents working from various locations. This makes it easier to support international “follow the sun” operations that require 24×7 staffing, and allows companies to access a broader talent pool. Additionally, UC’s open APIs also make it easy for remote agents to access and share customer or product information from any location.
For centuries, technology advances have allowed businesses to increase efficiency by optimizing the use of their time, talent and resources. Unified communications solutions are powerful tools for improving business efficiency through streamlined workflows, better information access and seamless collaboration. Give us a call to learn more about boosting your organization’s efficiency and productivity with UC.