Unified communications is a system that brings together multiple tools, including instant messaging, conferencing, e-mail and voice calling, for a seamless interaction with coworkers, partners and customers. This system attempts to bring together all channels of communication to prevent wasted time and promote better communication in the workplace.
Here are a few statistics on why unified communications is important for your organization:
- Work-from-anywhere jobs have increased by 118% in 2013
- 36% of employees say they fail to contact their intended coworker the first time they try
- Employees waste more than 75 minutes a day tending to multiple communication channels
- 28% of organizations are not familiar with unified communications
Difficulties of unified communications
Ease of communication, improved user productivity and enhanced business processes are just a few of the benefits of unified communications; however, as one Forbes article states, “The path to unified communications deployment is not without complexities and unexpected roadblocks.” These are a few of barriers that hinder many organizations from implementing this system in their business:
1. There are too many providers to choose from
There are a large number of unified communications providers, including Cisco, Polycom, PanTerra and Oracle. Many companies have little knowledge of how this system works and which services they need for their organization, making it overwhelming to choose which provider is the best fit. The best option is for companies to choose a unified communications vendor that can deliver as much of the solution as possible in order to ensure the smoothest integration.
2. Integrating old and new systems
Companies usually already have a system of communications in place; often, the new unified communications system being installed does not incorporate well with old systems. Transitioning from old to new systems can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Companies should work with vendors that can incorporate their communications system into the legacy system or are willing to identify inconsistencies early on in the process. The CEO of StarLeaf, a unified communications provider, states, “No business should need to rip and replace every piece of hardware and software on the network, just to get working, seamless and interoperable UC. The only way to do this is to leverage current investments in existing platforms, merging and integrating them so that the reality of any-to-any communication is achieved in a cost effective and productive way.”
3. Lack of clear expectations
According to Information Week’s 2014 State of Unified Communications report, the biggest current problem for unified communications is the lack of clear expectations in both the buyer’s minds and technology on what is being delivered. The unified communications industry needs to be marketing itself to consumers and creating confidence in buyers by showing improvements that have been made to these systems.
Combining multiple communication channels into one solution has many benefits for organizations. It connects coworkers and customers with information and expertise, allows access to video on all devices on demand, encourages better team interactions, and much more. Once companies have a better understanding of unified communication systems and are willing to overcome the roadblocks, they can create systems in their office to facilitate better communication and productivity.