Not every successful business is built the same way, but it is a safe bet that any successful business has learned how to motivate its employees to work together. In today's rapidly changing work environment, business collaboration starts with the right unified communications roadmap.
How business communications have changed
Unified communications is the latest iteration of a long evolution of business communication—from traditional phones to analog private branch exchange systems to internet-based communication media such as Voice over IP.
Unified communications integrates calling and video conferencing, chat, desktop sharing, voicemail, sharable whiteboards and other communications services in a consistent user interface across different desktop and mobile devices. Communication crosses services: A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call placed from a desktop could be returned with a text message from a mobile phone. A voicemail message, likewise, could be received through email.
A modern unified communications system encompasses:
- Advanced voice calling and call routing
- Call control and multimodal communications
- Real-time presence
- Instant messaging
- Unified messaging (email, voicemail, and fax)
- Audio, video and web conferencing
- Collaboration tools (such as shared whiteboards)
- Communications-enabled business process integration
An effective unified communications and collaboration strategy connects employees to each other and to customers, clients, suppliers and partners outside the organization. But not all unified communications systems are created equal—and the full benefits are possible only with the right technology and the right strategy.
A unified communications and collaboration strategy
A transformative business collaboration system begins with the right unified communications roadmap—one that helps you choose the right provider, technologies and implementation or delivery model.
Unified communications enables teams to collaborate, track projects, work faster, connect with experts, manage documents, provide seamless customer service and an engaging customer experience across organizational silos, no matter how far apart the teams are spread.
Your strategy should focus on a single-pane-of-glass approach, provide a great user experience, future-proof your technology choices and offer cross-platform, device-agnostic functionality.
Identify goals and objectives
You'll never know if your strategy succeeds if you aren't clear on what you're trying to achieve. Setting objectives that are achievable and ambitious enough to drive your organization forward is an important first step. Those goals could include:
- Boosting employee productivity
- Improving customer service and the overall customer experience
- Streamlining business processes
- Reducing costs
- Faster onboarding
- Digital transformation
- Regulatory compliance
Plan an approach
Every employee will use your unified communications system, regardless of their title or the ins and outs of their daily work, so your strategy must be inclusive and encompass the diverse needs of your entire workforce. As you strategize, consult with decision-makers from every department to avoid ignoring or compromising any group or role.
Successfully developing a unified communications roadmap requires cross-department and business unit coordination as well as through layers of management. Teams across the business must be prepared to train on new and evolving communications strategies.
Maintain and troubleshoot
Your business will continue to change, and your communications strategy needs to evolve with it. Be prepared to adapt your strategy as challenges arise.