How Unified Communications Changes the Way We Work

July 20, 2018 jkent-ransom

How Unified Communications Changes the Way We Work
Kevin McMahon
Friday, July 20, 2018 - 10:00 UC Changes the Way We Work

An increasing number of IT departments are looking to consolidate their communications services – for simplicity, cost-savings, and interoperability. Instead of having disparate accounts for conferencing, voice, chat, email, and file sharing, there is a move to combine these services into a comprehensive Unified Communications (UC) solution. The reason for this shift grows more apparent as the ROI costs of UC increase and the ability to integrate with other productivity software becomes easier than ever.

As the prevalence of APIs emerges - coupled with more UC open app development - companies clamor for efficiency improvements in the form of integrated communications solutions. UC also gives users the flexibility to work from almost any device, anywhere. Whether corporate communication systems are hybrid (some communications equipment remains in the main office), or hosted 100 percent in the Cloud, UC solutions can expand on capabilities offered by current on-premises systems, while maximizing capital investments.

Integration

As the modern workplace requires collaboration across teams and time zones, the daily workflow for the average user includes an ongoing stream of communication across many channels – email, chat, document sharing, conferencing and more. To ensure maximum efficiencies are reached using these workflows, companies need to deploy an integrated solution that contains multiple communication methods, and ties them together with existing productivity solutions like CRM, mobile apps, and the Microsoft Office Suite.

Microsoft Office 365 provided by West Unified Communications Services, is a cloud-based collaboration solution that incorporates common desktop apps with email, shared calendars, chat, file sharing, and video conferencing via both desktop and mobile apps. Plus, apps are accessible across virtually any internet-connected device through a browser for both viewing and editing. Meetings can also be conducted through integration with West's InterCall Reservationless-Plus audio conferencing, and content shared through Microsoft SharePoint Online. Even administrators can extend their workflow to almost any location with the ability to create mailboxes and shared team access space across this cloud-based workspace.

Cisco Webex Cloud Connected Audio cloud-based UC solution utilizes a combination of integrated cloud-UC services to promote communication across any work environment. It starts with the Maxxis network of multiple Tier 1 carriers running across geographic boundaries, pairs it with your choice of network interfaces, then provides SIP signaling between West’s InterCall IP network and Webex’s audio bridge to link West and Cisco’s data centers. The result: the latest in conferencing tech that enables hybrid audio – both phone and VoIP connections in the same meeting – giving end users the greatest amount of freedom in how and where they are able to work.

Also, many current UC contact center products generate a hybrid, integrated approach to the work environment. For instance, West’s Cloud Contact Center provides compatibility with cloud apps that can run in tandem with on-premises systems including:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems

  • Call routing  and call recording software

  • IVR systems

  • Workforce Management software/span>

This kind of interoperability helps to keep employee and management frustrations to a minimum, as all necessary tools for job handling are easily accessible through easy-to-use interfaces. It also maximizes efficiencies resulting in greater overall staff productivity and profit-generating activities.

Flexibility

Cloud technologies are finally to the point where virtually every aspect of many jobs can be completed via a flexible working situation. And many of the top UC vendors are making it easier than ever to customize product offerings by user, so each user has what is required to succeed in accomplishing their daily tasks, without enterprises paying for unnecessary software and services.

For instance, West has products that enable employees in a contact center role to gain access to the full suite of cloud contact center tools available in their corporate office. UC cloud services can also be utilized by remote clients for conferencing and collaboration and comprehensive voice services functionality. Even that employee home with chicken pox can still host their planned webinar from the comfort (and distance) of their home office, with the flexibility that cloud-based UC provides companies.

As long as users have access to the internet, they can connect to their remote co-workers through tools like Microsoft Skype for Business or Cisco Jabber, to maximize connectivity and minimize time-wasting and cost-incurring activities like unnecessary travel expenses and unknown availability status. The flexibility mobile UC collaboration tools give employees is unparalleled. Gone are the days of losing half a day of productivity to a doctor’s appointment. Now business can be conducted through secure tools in waiting rooms, parked vehicles, and more. When life happens, employers can feel confident that business deals are still progressing, even when users can’t make it into the office. And, employees love the flexibility these mobile UC tools provide to continue working on important, time-sensitive tasks when they are pulled out of the office to handle personal issues.

There is no question that the way in which the majority of employees work has changed, whether it is the lawn care company that invoices for work-rendered from a mobile app between mows, to the remote worker splitting time between multiple offices. The bottom line: companies need communications solutions that keep up with this evolving trend. Unified Communications solutions offer the integration and flexibility that employees and employers require and fill the need to have systems that are available both across devices and across the globe.

 

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