The key to adopting any new technology is to be really clear about what you want to achieve as a business before you make any decisions around implementation. Most businesses I deal with share similar drivers, which largely tend to be common sense, though they do vary in emphasis with economic cycles. Conversations I have with our customers tend to be around what we can do to help them with some key goals:

  • How do we increase sales effectiveness?
  • How do we improve communications with our customers?
  • How do we increase the productivity of our workforce?
  • How do we cut costs and/or reduce Capex?

There is never going to be a universal panacea for all these problems so, if someone comes to you and tells you that there is, then don’t believe them! However, there are processes that will contribute to you achieving aspects of the above and applications that will help you deliver on them.

Sales
UC can help you drive sales by allowing your sales teams to use one inbound number, receive messages as voice, text and email and see the status of their colleagues at all times. The latter is particularly useful when you have key knowledge workers, serving sales teams, whose presence and availability can be broadcast for queries whist sales are engaged with customers.

Customer Communications
The fact that CRM systems can vastly improve your customer communications is not new. However, integrating CRM with your mail and phone system will greatly enhance the productivity of your customer service teams, for example by routing specific customer calls to the right team without audio menus, then popping customer details on the screen and logging of those calls automatically. This can significantly enhance customer experience and team productivity.

Productivity
Research, from the Aberdeen Group, shows that 72% of businesses adopting UC cite productivity as their primary driver. Achieving gains in productivity is about 2 things; firstly you have to give your people the tools to be more effective and secondly, you need to get your staff to use the tools in the most efficient way for your business. Instant messaging, click to talk and presence are genuine time savers when used properly but it won’t happen without effort.

Cut costs
You will not spend less on your phone bills by adopting unified communications, though if you do a lot of conferencing then there are direct financial benefits. However, for the similar amounts of money you can get a greater level of integration and much more functionality. Moreover, you can buy UC – pre-integrated on pay per user basis if you go to the right supplier. Buying a managed service will allow you to move to an OpEx model rather than the traditional CapEx associated with deployment of new systems.

All of the above convinces me that UC can offer significant business benefits, which is why we as a business use it today and continue to follow a roadmap which will deliver further functionality and further business benefits. In my next article I will look at the options for adopting these services in the context your current circumstances.

If you have any comments or questions about unified communications then please leave me a message & I will try to answer your query.