What is Unified Communications (UC)? It’s a simple question, but perhaps the question you should ask first is: why does your business need it? Well, consider the fact that roughly 80% of workers globally, about three billion people, do physical or desk-free work daily, says CustomerThink.
For many businesses, keeping track of all their workers who are out “in the field” threatens to be difficult. For this reason, we have seen countless communication tools, built to work on the mobile phones remote workers often carry with them, introduced in a rapid flurry.
Nonetheless, the huge choice of these tools, each of which geared towards meeting particular business needs, has created its own problem. Fortunately, UC is the “toolbox” that allows employees to quickly switch between the tools as and when necessary.
A dictionary definition of Unified Communications
Okay, so that subheading is somewhat misleading; you’re probably not going to see “Unified Communications” listed in the stuffy old Oxford English Dictionary long left untouched on your bookshelf. However, TechTarget provides a formal definition of its own.
That definition describes UC as “a framework for integrating various asynchronous and real-time communication tools, with the goal of enhancing business communication, collaboration and productivity.” That’s quite a mouthful and leaves us with a lot of added jargon to unpack.
“Asynchronous” tools are simply those where a message’s recipient responds to it at their own convenience. Email is a classic example of such a tool in the enterprise. Real-time tools, meanwhile, let digitised conversation flow as instantly, naturally and spontaneously as face-to-face exchanges.
UC brings both communication and collaboration to the fore
“Collaboration” is another interesting word that pops up in TechTarget’s definition, and UC Today warns that the word should not be used interchangeably with “communication”. You regularly use the latter as part of what the site calls an “external communication strategy”.
This strategy concerns your dealings with customers, clients, shareholders and suppliers; in other words, people outside your business. An “internal communication strategy”, however, focuses instead on keeping your firm’s staff members connected with each other.
That strategy will indeed involve communication, but also collaboration. This is because, while the former involves sharing knowledge, the latter entails people working together in pursuit of mutual goals. Therefore, staff members might “communicate” by raising particular subjects on a VoIP channel, but then “collaborate” through sharing screens and each editing the same project.
With UC, you can fire up your productivity
One large reason why is that a UC system will make it easier for you to form an omnichannel communication strategy, whether you are dealing with people inside or outside the company.
For example, someone might initially ask you a question over email or SMS, knowing that you are busy. However, once you have seen their message, you could realise that addressing it would be impractical without a visual demonstration, for which video chat would be well-suited.
Through integrating voice, data and mobile services by Gamma, a trusted provider of UC solutions, your business can cover various bases.