Unified Communications Features

Benefits of UCP (Unified Communications Platform)

Unified communications incorporating high quality business VoIP assists businesses to improve their competitiveness and hence bottom line in multiple ways. These include:

  • Improved relationships with customers, supply chain and other business partners:
    Regardless of where employees might be at the time, unified communications increases the probability that they can be contacted on the first attempt. If this isn’t possible, unified messaging (which is a component of unified communications) increases the probability that employees will receive messages time-ously. In addition, the use of real time collaboration tools like instant messaging creates a stronger community between organisations and their business partners than is possible using asynchronous tools such as email.
  • Improved internal collaboration amongst staff at headquarters and remote offices as well as home workers and mobile workers:
    Office based workers sometimes find it difficult to reach remote and mobile workers. Unified communications reduces the perceived distance between workers in an organisation.
  • Improved employee productivity:
    Unified communications reduces the time spent by workers trying to contact other workers in the course of their duties. This improves productivity (particularly that of mobile workers) by freeing up time for staff to undertake additional responsibilities and improving the output of a given staff complement if the free time generated is used productively. Given that salary costs are often a large proportion of the operating costs of businesses, productivity improvements can have a material impact on an organisation’s bottom line.
  • Improved business processes and reducing ‘human latency’:
    The integration of communications with business processes and enterprise applications enables triggers from the applications to initiate communications automatically. Examples of these include:
    • Automatic notification of the relevant staff if equipment fails
    • Automatic notification of suppliers in the event of inventory shortages
    • Self-service patient booking systems in the healthcare field with automatic voice or SMS reminders to patients to reduce ‘no shows’.
    • Reduced costs.

Organisations with multiple branches and multi-building campuses can share infrastructure and PSTN links across their branches.

In addition, in a time of rising fuel costs, web and video conferencing reduces the need for car and plane travel. Apart from decreasing travel costs, this reduces an enterprise’s carbon footprint now that organisations are becoming more conscious of the impact that human activities have on the environment.

How is UC (Unified Communications) used in Business?

Unified communications improves communication and collaboration by providing tools such as:

  • Single address access to:
    • Instant messaging/presence;
    • IP PBX;
    • HD voice and video calling/conferencing;
    • Web conferencing;
    • Documents, presentation, photo, video and music/podcast
    • Storage and sharing;
    • email, calendaring, address books, tasks and notes;
    • RSS feeds/news;
    • CRM integration and social networking.
    • Users access these features via a Web browser or clients on Desktops/ laptops or smartphones/tablets. Voice services can also be accessed on IP telephone systems or legacy phones via voice gateways.

Examples of how unified communications solutions can be used in general businesses include:

  • Employees and business partners can see other employees’ presence statuses and hence can contact them via the most appropriate modality, saving time and unnecessary costs
  • Employees and business partners can escalate email or instant messaging conversations to HD voice or video calls as required. HD voice is ideal for long conference calls because it provides a less tiring user experience
  • Employees ‘on the road’ or outside the office have access to the same communications and collaboration functionality as employees inside the office
  • Users’ information remains safely secured centrally, on-premise or ‘in the Cloud’, protecting users from information loss in the event that their device is lost or stolen.
  • Employees can access and share information in their file storage, even if they’re away from the office
  • Employees access the same information, regardless of device used
  • Employees can be provided with a 2nd telephone number which can be accessible on employees’ mobile phones. These numbers can be made public in order to facilitate communication and collaboration between users, thus enabling users to keep their personal cell or home phone numbers private. This has the added advantage that when an employee leaves a company, the employee’s telephone number doesn’t follow them
  • Employees can use their smartphones as their home, desk and mobile phones if they so wish
  • Employees can answer incoming calls over the nearest device, be they at home, at the office, on the road or on the other side of the world
  • Employees can make calls via the company IP PBX over their fixed line or mobile phone data or GSM/CDMA connections, thus reducing the hassles for businesses having to manage employees` claims for business calls made from their private phone accounts
  • Expensive roaming charges can be reduced
  • Different branches can share communications infrastructure hence inter-branch calls are extension calls
  • Employees can be contacted on their telephone number extensions whether they are at the office or on the road, thus reducing internal telephone call costs
  • Paper usage is reduced
  • The unified communications solution can be integrated with monitoring systems enabling automatic triggering of notifications to appropriate staff by the most appropriate modality if preset thresholds are exceeded
  • ‘Human latency’ (the delay in a process which is incurred while waiting for a person to respond to a communication) can be reduced in areas such as supply chain and treasury management.