Unified communications is the integration of different forms of communication into one cohesive system.

By bringing different tools, programs, and mediums together, it allows for easy flow of communication among devices. This is also called Unified Communications and Collaboration, UCC, or UCaaS (unified communications as a service.)

Unified communications interconnects tools, both hardware and software, so that access to them is streamlined and efficient. This allows businesses to make the fastest possible decisions and transactions. UC allows users to communicate in whatever manner best suits their needs or situation.

Example: business phone system tied into customer records and interoffice messaging, allowing for instant pop-up client information with an incoming call, and discreet access to colleague answers during the customer’s conversation.

Why UC is needed

Our Multi-Location and Multi-Media World

Efficient communication across any and all mediums on any device at any time is paramount for companies who wish to survive and thrive in today’s world.

Despite their various sizes, almost all companies need more than an analog phone system these days. It has become necessary to be able to call, collaborate via webinars, integrate with customer management systems (CRM), tie into multiple devices such as smart phones and tablets, and connect to databases and third-party companies.

In addition to the wide array of programs and devices that we use, most business people need to be mobile. Remote workers, multiple company locations, and workers who travel regularly all add up to the need to communicate across several channels.

Most businesses today experience several of the following factors that necessitate UC:
  • Multiple software programs and applications

  • Multiple company sites

  • Remote workers

  • Field or traveling team members

  • More than one customer/client communication channel

  • Multi-device usage

By integrating, or unifying these applications and channels of communication, colleagues and data are easily accessible. This improves efficiency and productivity while offering greater utilization and return on investment.

Benefits of Unified Communications

What company or team wouldn’t benefit from better communication?

When information and applications are all accessible in one place, efficiency and effectiveness are dramatically increased. Connecting our sources of data and the devices we use allows for quick and efficient relay of information. Meetings, projects, daily operations, customer transactions, data entry, work force management, and many more aspects of business all improve through unification.

Modern consumer habits also necessitate UC and oftentimes involve incorporation of contact center capabilities. Contact center programs can be added to existing business phone systems to improve the handling of calls and the integration of communication systems with other media and programs. This software overlay ties customer records with their calls, provides data tracking and reporting, and streamlines staffing through work force management tools.

Unified communications is also important in emergency communication systems. In an emergency, the ability to communicate life-saving and damage-mitigating notifications and instructions is vital. UC allows for detailed information to be instantly transferred to authorities, and mass notifications to be sent to involved individuals.

UC benefits include:

  • Greatly enhanced safety and emergency response time

  • Increased collaborating and improved team productivity

  • Improved employee and customer satisfaction/retention

  • Decreased lag time on projects

  • Improved communication between site locations

  • Reduced need for travel

  • Expanded customer reach

  • Improved data tracking and accuracy

Visit our resource center for free information and guides to determine whether you need to update your phone system and which type of unified communication system is best for your company.

Ever Evolving and Expanding

Components of Unified Communications

Advancements and enhancements are a constant in the world of technology and communication. It is more important than ever to corral the compatible components of this evolving industry and allow them to become your allies in business and success. Unified Communications has many facets, and the list continues to grow. Here are a few of the most commonly integrated components:

  • Video Conferencing

  • Voice Conferencing

  • Instant Messaging/Chat

  • Collaboration/document sharing

  • Integrated and unified messaging: voicemail, email, fax, sms,

  • Customer Record Management (CRMs) or Electronic Medical Records (ERMs)

Unified Communications and Collaboration systems team up with many forms of technology, utilizing advances in the industry to maximize quality and efficiency. The list of technologies and the cornucopia of their acronyms continues to grow, however, you can get an overview and definitions of some of the commonly incorporated technologies below:

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

What is UCaaS?

UCaaS is a delivery model for the communication and collaboration tools that can be integrated into UC. It offers the functionality of UC without the hardware, because the hardware necessary for these features are hosted offsite. Simply put…it means you can utilize the programs without having to own them. These tools are offered to your company as a service, through some form of a subscription, contract, or monthly membership. UCaaS is also known as “Cloud” business phone systems, VoIP, or internet telephony.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) goes beyond traditional VoIP offerings by delivering a fully hosted VoIP and Unified Communications solution. As a managed solution, UCaaS requires little oversight from you and your team so you can reallocate IT budget and personnel resources to where they’ll create the most business growth and value. With a UCaaS solution, you can leverage enterprise-class communication services without the complexity, time, and cost required to build a premises-based solution.

In the UCaaS deployment model, a single service provider handles all of your communication and collaboration needs and delivers them as a contracted monthly service. Bundled services usually include voice and data access, long-distance and local voice services, telephone handsets, voicemail, software, and advanced Unified Communications functionality such as video calling, Web collaboration, chat, seamless call hand-off between devices, real-time presence and unified messaging. These functionalities are still accomplished by physical equipment, but in an offsite secure location such as a data center.

Learn more about:

  • What is the difference between a premise-based phone system and a cloud, or VoIP phone system?

  • What is a cloud phone system?

  • What does the “cloud” really mean?

  • Should a company buy a phone system, or subscribe to a service?

  • How do you know which system is right for a business?

UCaaS Benefits

Advantages of Accessibility

There can be many advantages and benefits for an organization to bundle their communication and collaboration tools through a service. One such advantage is receiving services through a UCaaS service provider which would otherwise be too difficult, costly, or logistically impossible for an organization to purchase and utilize.

UCaaS offers benefits such as;

  • Hosted and Managed: equipment is housed and maintained offsite

  • No Upfront Capital Expenses: minimal startup costs

  • Flexible: rich feature set can adapt to changing needs

  • Scalable: easy to execute moves, adds, and changes (MACs) in addition to adding business site locations

  • Potentially Reduced Operating Expenses: offsite equipment reduces facility, energy, and staff costs

  • Business Continuity: redundant and backup networks, equipment, circuits and power supplies provided

  • Always Current: all updates are included in service, eliminating the risk of obsolescence and incompatibility

  • Enterprise Level Capabilities: vast array of enterprise level options available for integration through the UCaaS provider

If you are interested in deploying UCaaS in your organization, make sure the transition is smooth with our step by step planning guide: Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud

Sonoran Integrations’ Approach to UC and UCaaS

Decades of industry experience has proven that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Every business is unique, and can benefit from a communication solution that is tailored to it’s needs. Learn more about the main available delivery methods, and how we can customize them to enhance your company’s productivity. Read more about Sonoran Integrations’ approach…

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