Our daily lives are changing. Mobility in the workplace is taking precedence over sedentarisation, with the rise of teleworking in particular. Our mobile phone is becoming a privileged work tool. Technology is omnipresent and offers new uses. It is therefore important to rethink the way communications work in the company. We are entering the era of unified communication, also known as UC, and UCaaS for “Unified Communication As A Service”.
Where does unified communication come from?
Like many innovations, unified communication is driven by technological and behavioral changes.
You’ve probably already heard of VoIP, or Voice over IP? This new technical approach that is replacing obsolete PSTN lines has triggered the UC revolution. Communications now transit over IP networks like any other IT data.
Then, as we mentioned in the introduction, uses and behaviors at work are changing. The typical working day shifted in less than a generation. Today we want to be able to have our work environment accessible everywhere, on all our devices. We want to be able to collaborate with our colleagues by different means, adapted to the context. Whether it’s through instant messaging, video conferencing, or voice calls.
These behavioral changes and the opportunity offered by the emergence of new technologies have pushed communication solution publishers to reinvent their offers. Unified communication is born.
So, what is it all about?
We could propose the following definition: “A suite of fully integrated synchronous and asynchronous communication tools and applications”.
But this will not necessarily help and we may need some clarifications.
First of all, a unified communication solution enables synchronous and asynchronous communication. What does it mean? Synchronous communications are audio and video calls. Asynchronous communications include instant messaging, status notifications, and document sharing.
In addition, a unified communication solution allows getting rid of your desk phone, which is not necessarily compatible with mobility (but which should not be buried, not yet). Therefore, it consists of different applications: Mobile, Web, and Desktop. These applications are fully synchronized with each other and give access to all your business communication functionalities.
Finally, unified communication enables advanced integration into information systems and business software. Indeed, with UC, you can integrate your communication tools within your CRM, ERP, or customer relationship management applications. You can also access all your contacts from various sources.
In short, unified communication offers access to corporate communication tools and functionalities (Voice, Chat, Video, Presence) on all users’ devices in a fully integrated experience.
Some key features
A unified communication solution brings you a set of functionalities adapted to professional uses.
- Single number: You receive all your calls on your different devices with your unique professional number
- Centralized directory: You have access to all your company and business contacts and are able to quickly reach out to them
- Audio/Video conferencing: You can organize audio or video conferences with your colleagues and clients in just a few clicks
- Screen sharing: Live collaboration with your project teams or for customer presentations
- Instant messaging: Smooth the interaction with your colleagues without disturbing them
- Status: Don’t take the risk of ruining a customer appointment, you can know the status of your colleagues
- Voicemail: You can differentiate your personal and professional voicemail. You have the possibility to receive your voice messages by email.
This is just a quick overview of the range of possibilities. There are more than 50 different unified communication functionalities.
What does Unified Communications will offer you?
They are many organizational benefits that unified communications can bring to your business. However, it’s important to start with the main advantage: Cost-effective!
Unified Communications and Voice over IP offer significant cost savings. They also offer organizations significant productivity gains by facilitating information sharing across your organization.
But that’s not all, unified communications allows employees to :
- Telework in optimal conditions
- Enjoy a professional communication tool from any devices, at any time
- Improve comfort at work by facilitating exchanges and collaboration
- Adapt your work habits to your personal constraints.
For corporate leaders, unified communications is also :
- A unique collaboration tool within the company to avoid the multiplication of solutions
- A way to control the confidentiality of the company’s information
- An ability to migrate to a 100% virtual desktop approach by eliminating desk phones.
UC in Cloud, the UCaaS revolution
Unified communication solutions are available in many forms, whether as physical equipment, software or services. UCaaS (Unified Communication As A Service) is the service-oriented, consumption-based, delivery of a unified communication solution, hosted in the Cloud. The functionalities do not change, only the mode of delivery and consumption of services evolve, in SaaS mode.
Many companies choose UCaaS for its flexibility and simplicity. In addition, it allows you to limit hardware investments and free yourself from operational maintenance.
However, UCaaS is not a solution adapted to all uses and constraints of organizations. It is recommended to analyze these different aspects before validating the unified communication solution adapted to your needs.
At Wazo, we have created a hybrid UC solution, Enterprise Unified Communication. It gives you the ability to enable on-premise and Cloud deployments. So if you feel that Unified Communications is right for you, feel free to contact us.