The emergence of mobility has changed the definition of the workplace. No longer a building or a group of offices, the workplace is now a set of communications tools and capabilities that enables people to collaborate in real time. The workplace environment, and everything that can be accomplished in this environment, is easily replicated on any device from any location. This level of flexibility and agility is now a business requirement that enables organizations to make faster, more informed decisions, introduce innovative products and services, and deliver the best possible customer experience.

Unified communications brings together all communications applications and functionality – voice, email, videoconferencing, text, instant messaging, presence and social media – onto a single platform. All of these capabilities are available through one interface that can be accessed from any device. Users can save time by reaching fellow employees on the first try and seamlessly escalating texts and instant messages into phone calls and videoconferences. This improves the quality of each interaction and boosts employee productivity.

In addition to reducing telecom costs, UC enables geographically dispersed users and branch offices to hold face-to-face meetings quickly while reducing travel expenses. Contact centers can use UC to shorten call times and speed the resolution of customer problems.

Despite its measurable business value, UC hasn’t taken off like experts had predicted. Part of the reason for slow adoption is technology related. Integrating various forms of communication, disparate systems, legacy infrastructure, cloud services and new devices is a tall, complex order. Deploying UC in a way that balances security and user privacy is another major challenge. Many solutions are actually VoIP platforms with a bunch of added-on features and functionality. In other words, they’re not truly unified.

The concept of “personal UC,” introduced by ShoreTel as the next evolutionary step in UC, promises to overcome these challenges by making UC simpler and more consistent. With personal UC, the focus is less on technology and more on how to best leverage communication to achieve business goals. Service delivery models, whether cloud or on-premises, provide the same user experience and don’t require users to alter how they work. Behind the scenes, personal UC will have a unified back end, which simplifies management, provides greater visibility, and removes human latency to shorten time to information.

Mobile is clearly the driving force behind personal UC. Instead of viewing mobile as a supplement to desktop with limited features, there is no distinction between desktop UC and mobile UC. Both offer the same features and richness of experience without requiring the user to integrate information and applications. This reduces training requirements and support calls and helps IT deploy the UC solution more quickly. Personal UC also enables mobile video to finally become a mainstream communications and collaboration tool capable of shortening meetings and allowing users to pick up on non-verbal communication.

IPC is a Gold Champion Partner of ShoreTel, ranked highest in customer loyalty, service and value by IT decision-makers. Let us show you how personal UC powered by ShoreTel can help you capitalize on the new workplace and move ahead of your competition.