Using Unified Communications to Build a More Efficient and Effective Workforce

nec-unified-communications-efficient-effective-workforceWhen your employees need information right away, where do they turn first? Is it a phone call? Text message? Or perhaps a tablet or other personal device? Regardless of which device your employee chooses to utilize first, mobility and easy-access is the driving force behind Unified Communications (UC) and how your communications strategy can enhance workforce productivity. How much importance do you place on “anytime, anyplace” access when making decisions about your organization’s communications strategy?

UC addresses how your organization unifies messaging, voice and video conferencing into a secure communications system; through this unification, UC solutions enhance collaboration and productivity in a way that no other communications strategy can. With UC, you are afforded the ability to share screens, collaborate on shared documents and applications, and communicate through audio and video conferencing.

In a study from International Data Corporation (IDC), Respondents ranked increased employee productivity and reduced operating costs as top benefits of UC. How does UC make this possible? For starters, Web conferencing and unified communication solutions help employees and customers meet, communicate, and collaborate online without spending the time, resources and expenses associated with travel. With this in mind, organizations avoid lost productivity when team members are out of the office and can use the saved resources to fund other areas of their budget.

Video conferencing is also an important component of virtual team collaboration. A significant change we’ve noticed in recent years is the downturn in the economy and its effect on company budgets, and as a result, a greater emphasis being placed on the importance of expense management. This is of particular importance to the small and medium-sized business sector, and has contributed to the rise in digital alternatives over face-to-face meetings. A reported 45 percent of medium-sized businesses utilize some form of technology to conference in a virtual environment.

Web conferencing enables a more visual method of communication which in turn increases comprehension, data absorption, and audience engagement. With interactive participation, decision-making can be enhanced and meetings made shorter to increase time dedicated to other tasks, thus allowing another avenue for increased productivity.

A now-dated August 2007 Aberdeen Group survey highlighting the communications strategies of over 360 organizations shows that Unified Communications (UC) solutions –both fixed and mobile – have a measurable impact on the productivity of an organization’s workforce.

Fast forward four years later, and, despite a steadily declining economy, UC implementation in the U.S doubled from 2010 to 2011. While this may show that improving communications with customers also improves communications in your workplace, and produces a greater ROI, affordability concerns in implementing such a strategy have raised a great deal of skepticism – where do you stand?

Unified Communications: Get big benefits for your Small Businesses

nec_unified_communications_1-resized-600As a member of the Small-to-medium business (SMB) sector,  you can benefit greatly from Unified Communications (UC), as it allows you to cost effectively utilize comprehensive solutions previously only affordable to large enterprises.  Smaller staff and fewer finances don’t have to inhibit your communications capabilities and being a growing organization shouldn’t stop you from gaining a competitive edge.  UC can help you do this while containing costs and simultaneously furthering your ability to execute and innovate.

Today’s UC offerings are continuously improving in order to enhance the business value of unified communications for SMBs.  As a small-to-medium business, your implementation of UC differs greatly from that of a larger organization.  With high priorities placed on an immediate payoff to your business and communication simplicity, SMBs should look for a provider who supplies enhanced platforms designed to deliver all UC applications from a single-server solution to shave cost and simplify deployment and management.    Here are a few things to keep in mind to determine if a UC provider is catering to your SMB needs:

1. Mobility facilitates better employee communications while enhancing and improving productivity no matter where work takes them.  As SMBs become progressively more mobile, look for UC providers to cater to your need for voice and data support.  Many UC providers are designing and, more importantly, pricing, mobile solutions to meet these criteria.

2. Standards-based software solutions allow use of industry standards servers and reduces capital expense. With these solutions, you have the option of utilizing multiple devices, which benefits smaller businesses by allowing them to easily implement various forms of communications for different workers within the organization.  Imagine the ease of communication with your choice of voice and video collaboration for geographically dispersed teams as well as softphones for your remote workers.

3. Video & web collaboration can add a whole new, affordable dimension to your business communication.  What’s more is it provides smaller organizations with a cost-effective, premises-based tool to simplify internal information sharing among employees with the added benefit of easy information distribution with partners, suppliers and customers as well.  In a recent report,IDC noted the importance of SMBs controlling costs and reported that 45% currently use conferencing technology.

Click here to learn what steps NEC has taken to accommodate the growing business needs of the SMB market.