Most workers grapple with multiple communication devices and applications, including text messaging, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing. They may have multiple voicemail boxes and email inboxes. More than half (56 percent) of workers feel they need to respond immediately to notifications from these tools, according to one recent study. They spend much of their time toggling among apps just to communicate.
Although switching to another app takes just a second or two, “context switching” is a real productivity drain. Even a short period of repeated interruptions leads to frustration and stress and prevents workers from performing deep work.
Organizations can reduce the amount of context switching by consolidating collaboration tools into one platform. Because voice calls, email, instant messaging and all forms of conferencing are now delivered over the data network, they can be integrated and managed from a single point.
The integration of these services within a single user interface is known as unified communications (UC). It enables employees, managers, business partners and customers to easily communicate via their preferred channel — anytime, anywhere, from any device. As a result, UC can improve collaboration, productivity and customer service, and transform key business processes with improved communication flows.
Presence technology is another key element of today’s UC platforms. It lets users see whether someone is available, busy, away or offline. Contextual presence includes real-time information about the communications channels and devices available to the user. This enables users to communicate more effectively and ensure that colleagues receive critical information in a timely manner.
UC also boosts the efficiency of the IT infrastructure. Because it merges key communications channels onto one platform, UC enables organizations to reduce the amount of infrastructure equipment, devices and applications they must support and maintain. Consolidating collaboration tools can also minimize cloud waste due to redundant, overlapping and underutilized cloud subscriptions.
Get Users Involved
UC can change the way you do business, but getting there requires careful planning. First and foremost, a UC system needs to be aligned with your business requirements. You should begin by identifying potential productivity gains that can be realized through improved communications as well as tasks that can be streamlined.
If you want everyone’s buy-in, bring everyone to the table. Employees may be reluctant to learn a new system and use new features that take them out of their comfort zone. This is natural, but it prevents the organization from taking full advantage of UC. The success of the implementation depends upon user adoption.
Discuss how UC can make everyone more productive — management, sales, administration, human resources, finance, customer service and mobile workers. Then offer job-specific training so users are comfortable with the tools and understand how these tools will make their lives easier.
Optimize the Solution
Proper design and implementation are also important. Cloud-based UC platforms are trickier to install than you might think, and optimizing the configuration can be difficult. The experts at IronLogix will take the time to understand your processes, workflows and objectives and identify communication gaps and bottlenecks. We will then customize a solution that meets your needs precisely and manage and support the system long-term.
As users take full advantage of unified communications, companies gain a real competitive advantage by working more efficiently and accelerating the pace of business. The monetary value of that competitive advantage may be difficult to quantify, but it can be significant enough to put some distance between you and your competition. Let IronLogix help you evaluate your options and get the most out of your UC solution.