Enterprises are switching over from IP PBX to Unified Communication just the way they switched over from PSTN some years ago and with good reasons. Major players in the IP PBX space such as Nortel (acquired by Avaya) are ending support and are migrating to the UC platform. This is but one reason. There are various other ways Unified Communication empowers businesses to communicate better.
Voice is no longer king of communications.
The way communication works these days
The phone is not the only way to communicate. A caller may choose to send in an email or fax or leave a voice message. He may send an SMS. He may phone or use chat to initiate a conversation. Enterprises do have all channels of communication but these operate in separate channels. Unified communication ties it all together through a common interface. It is effortless to continue the conversation on any channel using the diverse features of a UC package offered by an expert vendor.
Features that enterprises should look for in UC
- Scalability may not be on top of the list but it is an important consideration, especially for enterprises with widespread operations. Multi-tenant features and mobility go hand in hand.
- Tie in with back-end CRM is an absolute as is an IVR. A caller places a call the IVR identifies him with help of data in the CRM and directs the call to the right employee.
- Employees can use their own mobile devices with proper authorization to become part of the UC chain.
- The system should be able to make use of analog phones as well as VoIP phones and go beyond too.
- The beyond factor is WebRTC integration that turns desktop computers with just a headset and mic or mobile phone into a communications center. In addition, this desirable feature permits audio and video chats as well as conferencing regardless of where participants are located and the device they use. One can show presentations and share documents as well; cutting short the time it takes for resolution of an issue and delivering higher satisfaction in the process.
- Then there are other features such as instant messaging, seamless switching over to email, text, voicemail or fax as may be needed.
- Managing the set up is important too and any UC worth its name will have a dashboard that an administrator can use to add phones, monitor, and report.
- A hosted UC package is preferable since businesses get the benefit of updates with no capital outlay in a pay as you go service that can be scaled up or down at any time.
- The right vendor will incorporate security such as SBC to ensure a better quality of communication and higher security with features such as prioritization of voice data and seamless conversion of audio-video codecs and protocols that enable video chats to take place across boundaries with no lag or loss of quality.
As seen above the unified communication channel brings about the seamless integration of diverse communication channels and helps an organization serve its clients in a better way. Of equal or even more important is that UC transforms the way employees work. UC means employees do not have to hunt about to find relevant links and channels. It is all there right before their eyes. Collaboration between employees also improves since they can use the same setup, whether they are in the same location or in different locations, to work together. For example, WebRTC in UC allows teams to share data, documents and conduct video conferences that vastly reduces cost and improves productivity. Unified Communication is empowering since it does away with hassles associated with keeping tabs on emails, faxes, voicemails and SMS from customers or potential customers and they can interact better, satisfy callers and build rapport. Employees may be in the field and they can use their mobiles to join in or to access data when they are answering calls of a customer. In fact, remote workers can perform better when they are part of the UC continuum. When they perform better the bottom line improves. Customers are satisfied. Potential customers convert. Issues are resolved at speed. Costs reduce.
Does one size fit all enterprises?
UC and its subsets provide ba road range of facilities and not all enterprises may need everything that is possible. A one size fits all approach does lead to operational issues besides increased cost. Choosing a vendor who can offer a high degree of customization according to the enterprise’s working business model gives better performance at a lower cost. In fact, some companies that have invested heavily in IPPBX would find it more affordable and easy to opt for modules that can piggyback on existing IP PBX as they phase it out and switch over entirely to UC. The vendor plays an important role in the installation of the complete UC where needed or only modules for a seamless transition in a phased manner.