The vast majority of modern-day workers can greatly enhance their productivity with the benefits of united communications (even if they aren’t familiar with the term). Many typically already have a smorgasbord of business communications apps on their phone: for texting, identifying callers, checking email and voicemail, and more.
Employees today depend on their phones to keep in touch and collaborate, so you can’t blame them for loading up on the latest tools from the handy online app store.
The trouble is, these tools don’t always play nice with each other or integrate well with a company’s business applications. If employees are using different tools from each other, sometimes crucial connections— an email, text or voicemail— can fall through the cracks.
But with cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), all employees can use a wide range of communication and collaboration apps over a single software platform. And more advanced capabilities become much more available, like checking real-time availability of colleagues, controlling which devices ring and when, displaying voicemail in text, and not least, ensuring a consistent business presence from any location.
Hosted and delivered by a third-party provider, a UCaaS solution frees your IT department from having to vet communication apps to make sure they’re in compliance and compatible with all the mobile devices employees use. That’s a good thing, since IT has plenty of other things to focus on, like supporting the business strategies that keep your organization competitive.
And these UCaaS apps are pretty cool, with all the cutting edge power and innovation you’d expect from those techno-geeks in the cloud. The reason they’re called Unified Communications is that all these tools are, well, unified … designed from the ground up to seamlessly integrate with each other. Here are some of the tools and benefits they deliver:
Presence: Need to get an answer quickly? Presence shows users who is available and who is tied up in a call or meeting. Users can activate features such as flagging their preferred way to be contacted or identifying their current location.
Video and Audio Conferencing: We’re not talking about a three-way call with some colleagues. UCaaS lets users set up video and audio conference bridges for 30 or more participants with chat, screen sharing, and other collaboration tools. Even small businesses can afford to connect mobile roadies, office staff, business partners and dispersed customers easily and quickly.
Enhanced Call Forwarding: Users can customize how their calls are routed based on their personal preferences. For example, let your office phone ring for 10 seconds, then send the call to your mobile phone for 20 seconds, then to voicemail.
Smartphone Integration: A cloud-based PBX lets users send calls to and from their mobile phones to other extensions on the system. No matter where you are or which WiFi network you’re on, your smartphone is recognized as an office phone, with all the capabilities you would enjoy there.
Readable Voicemail: No need to wade through long voicemail messages. With visual voicemail, you can have those messages transcribed and emailed to you with an audio file.
Contact Centers: A UCaaS solution can deploy and scale a contact center to help companies improve the way they engage with customers. Whether your agents are in an office or working from home, the system helps you plan for changing workloads while tracking performance.
The big payoff of a UCaaS solution is that there’s no need to invest in expensive IT infrastructure or to sacrifice IT staff time in managing these apps. Companies can lower operating expenses by using a cost-effective subscription service that avoids upgrades, maintenance and all the other IT hassles of managing multiple applications in a complex environment.
Cloud-based Unified Communications offerings are available in a variety of flavors. Keep it simple with a standard set of apps or deploy a customized platform that integrates with your organization’s business applications. Companies can also choose to run some communications tools locally, while using UCaaS cloud-based apps for other services.
With a UCaaS solution, employees will be better able to connect and collaborate, regardless of device — desk phone, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. And faster, more responsive service to customers can have a big impact on the bottom line.
Contact Vonage Business to learn how Unified Communications can simplify and streamline how employees interact with each other and with customers.