The taste of the end of the year certainly hangs in the air—the last of the Halloween candy has been eaten, the trees are looking bare and holiday lights and displays are quickly popping up. And everyone, from three-year-old children to IT managers, is getting his or her holiday wish list together.
So is a robust unified communications (UC) solution on your “must-have” list this month? It certainly ought to be, especially if you oversee the IT department for a small- to medium-sized business (SMBs). There is no disputing the power of UC solutions for mid-sized businesses, and many companies are perking up to the idea of such a solution. Just consider the following statistics from InfoTrack:
- In 2011, companies with fewer than 500 employees accounted for only 30 percent of the spending on UC applications.
- By the end of 2015, the growth of SMB spending on UC apps is projected to be more than twice the rate of U.S. enterprises with more than 500 employees.
Here are three reasons your company needs to hop aboard the UC bandwagon:
It Saves Your Organization Money
UC offers a wealth of value add-ons from video conferencing to presence to Find Me/Follow Me, each bringing its own specific CAPEX/OPEX savings. For example, instead of finding the budget to send your sales team 3,000 miles to visit a prospective client—when you are not even sure how close they are to the dotted line—instead, have your team engage in several video conferencing sessions. With the right technology in place, your sales team can host virtual meetings with clients by using conferencing services that allow them to share documents in real time, launch PowerPoint presentations and archive each and every client interaction.
Similarly, your company can save money when it comes to your remote workers. For instance, let’s say some of your strongest workers hail from Colorado, even though your office is based in New York. Instead of opening up a second office—or footing expense reports for your road warriors to visit the office—your company can invest in UC and successfully simulate the office environment at home for all of your remote workers. Your employees can take advantage of call forwarding, corporate synch and remote access to critical business applications.
It Levels the Playing Field
Going head-to-head with a large enterprise when you’re smaller is no small feat, but UC helps to significantly level the playing field. A comprehensive platform allows your organization to bring a whole new roster of “players” to your company. For example, using an auto-attendant or PBX can be a cheaper, more effective option to hiring a receptionist to properly route calls. Moreover, enabling Find Me/Follow Me functionality, or a call forwarding function that allows user to receive calls at any location, permits your team to always be on the go. In so doing, your critical players can wear more hats.
In addition, growing companies can run a top-notch communications platform by unifying all their disparate communications vehicles—from email to voice to instant messaging. As a result, smaller organizations can deliver the level of customer support and attentiveness typically reserved for bigger organizations with more resources.
It Leads to Quicker Business Decisions
With the right technology available, emerging companies can more seamlessly collaborate and interact, which in turn leads to expedient decision making. The integration of real-time with non-real-time communications enables them to spread ideas instantly and to no longer be hampered by the limitations surrounding legacy technology. Whether it is using screen sharing functionality to review new business proposals or relying on presence technology to see who is available to answer a customer query, UC solutions offer a multitude of capabilities designed to bolster productivity and streamline business processes.