In a series of recent posts about unified communications (UC), we’ve discussed the many benefits of a UC solution, including improved quality and speed of collaboration, increased operational efficiency, and an enhanced customer experience. All of these benefits are tied to the long-term productivity improvements that result from a successful UC implementation.
But what makes a UC implementation successful? After all, you can’t just flip a magical switch and expect UC to drive positive changes on its own. Organizations that see the biggest boost in productivity are those that take a very strategic approach and integrate UC into their workflows.
“Workflow” is another one of those words that gets tossed around in meetings even though most people don’t fully grasp what a workflow is and how to optimize it. A workflow is a sequence of steps that are required to complete a task or achieve a goal. There are linear workflows, which have a clear first and last step and are typically set into motion by an outside event. There are also looped workflows in which the completion of the last step reinitiates the workflow at the first step.
Workflows ensure that things get done in any department, from sales to accounting to human resources to customer service. However, workflows tend to be inefficient because they often expand organically without any strategy behind them. Repetitive, unnecessary steps are unknowingly incorporated into the workflow, adding length and complexity to the process. Data is often inaccurate, incomplete and difficult to find. Errors are more common. The workflow can’t find the express lane and instead gets stuck behind roadblock after roadblock.
In many cases, managers and employees are so focused on technology that they lose sight of what that technology is supposed to help them accomplish. Business problems are solved not by devices and apps, but by process and workflow improvements that technology enables. When you focus on the end goal and how best to achieve it, you’ll find that UC can streamline workflows.
UC management and reporting tools enable managers to monitor how employees communicate and for how long, as well as how steps within a workflow are handled. This makes it possible to identify and correct inefficiencies in communications patterns, which can affect employee satisfaction, customer service, and the speed with which issues are escalated and resolved. Manual processes can be replaced with automation.
As a result, organizations can remove communications bottlenecks, speed decision-making, reduce waste and redundancy, lower operational costs, or even create new, more efficient workflows. The ability to integrate UC with workflows and automate business and communication processes is especially valuable for mobile workforces and international organizations that need to be on the same page regardless of location.
The ShoreTel Connect UC platform was designed to simplify UC implementation and management and deliver a consistent user experience on any device and in any location. However, strategically integrating UC with business workflows often requires the assistance of a solution provider such as IPC that has a proven track record of managing successful UC deployments. Let us show you how to maximize productivity by integrating ShoreTel Connect with your workflows.