There is no denying the immense utility of Unified Communications and the possibilities that it encompasses. From voice to video to data sharing, UC encompasses all communication modes and increases your productivity, doesn’t it?
It’s also growing explosively. Worldwide revenue in this sector shot up 27 percent in one year, from first quarter 2013 to the same time 2014, according to Infonetics Research. UC has also been a very hot topic among the keynote speakers of ITEXPO 2015. Simply put, UC is a choice topic of discussion among many of the industry’s most influential players, and the biggest ones as well.
Yet at the same time, there already seems to be a point of diminishing returns. What’s the cause of that point? Is it the technology? Or are human beings the hindrance? Are we incapable of using the advantages of UC to its full extent?
Therefore, no one should be at all surprised when ITEXPO’s breakout session entitled “What is real Unified Communications, really?” piqued a great deal of curiosity, and even fascination among attendees of the show. The panel was a veritable showboat of expert panelists as well, including Asif Rehman, Director of Product Marketing, Small and Medium Business at Broadsoft; Pat Herron, VP, Product Management at ANPI; and Joshua Haslett, VP of Sales Engineering at Mitel.
At this session, Unified Communications was presented in an intriguing new way. We’re all aware of the benefits UC provides in terms of enterprise collaboration, business proficiency and cost savings. Yet we have yet to really find a true and compelling definition of UC itself. What is Unified Communications, exactly? Different classes of people — service providers, users, and vendors — all of them will define UC extremely differently between them. Still, many can agree that UC is a group of features that facilitate business collaboration and communications.
Still, if you were to leave those features behind, what would remain? What would you be left with? In other words, what can businesses really accomplish with UC, and how can it mold the futures of their organizations?
Haslett used the call center as a primary example, saying that he saw the primary driver of Unified Communication stemming from the desire of the customer. Certain capabilities can be enabled on an ad hoc basis so as to offer customers channels of their choice (i.e., live chat, callback, or video) to interact over. In this way, they can serve themselves. It’s adoption of the customer that’s elevating UC to the next level.
Rehman agreed, and cited his company Broadsoft as an example. He explained that Broadsoft was a global company. He himself works in Canada, at a small home office. His colleagues are in Washington D.C., California and Dallas. He works in a ten person team, and out of those, only two of them work in the office. Even then, he still can’t remember the last time he called a phone and had to leave a voicemail. He explained that they have this mentality of working where they need to. They make wherever they are their office. He thinks that we’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing so as to make a perfectly seamless experience.
Finally, Herron sided with his fellows. He noted that the average employee’s productivity was increased quite a bit, even if Unified Communications provided them with just an extra twenty to thirty minutes. There’s a lot that can be accomplished in that time. UC is not simply a trend, he said. It really is worth the money.
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