Understand the Basics of Unified Communications

Today’s business landscape demands that companies be more connected, collaborative and innovative. Without leveraging the latest technology available to help achieve these goals, businesses risk falling behind industry pioneers. To that end, many businesses are turning to digital platforms like Unified Communications (UC) to facilitate better collaboration and more effective ways for team members to work together in an age of mobility and remote work. 

We talk a lot about UCC and UcaaS here at GoTo... so let's first clarify what we mean by "Unified Communication". Gartner's IT glossary defines it best: Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) is a combination of communications technologies and collaboration technologies including web conferencing, online meetings, and more. Unified Communications (UC) refers specifically the capabilities of voice, messaging and presence combined. 

We've defined some of the basics below to give you a better understanding of these capabilities, and some key aspects to look for to address the needs of your business!

1. Voice 

Voice may be basic by definition, but the solution you choose should be really robust! The basic voice features enable users to communicate via a telephone line or VoIP, on both desktop telephones or mobile devices. Beyond that, conference bridges, voicemail capabilities, call queues, routing, and analytics are all a part of today's top UC offerings. The most important think to look for here is something simple - in both user management and billing.  

 2. Presence 

Presence is a common feature that allows employees to visually and easily manage their availability online – a feature that’s especially useful for remote teams. With presence, team members can easily see who is available and then choose the most appropriate time to communicate. This is a great way to save time and minimize disruptions, especially in an organization that requires constant communication.  

3. Unified Messaging

Comprehensive UC solutions streamline and unify your messaging options and integrate key tools like voicemail, text, email, instant message and other electronic media platform tools commonly used today. Ideally, messages should be easy to send and receive on any device –typically a desktop computer or smartphone. More intuitive functionalities also offer options that allow users to see their messages in real time and prioritize accordingly.   

4. Mobility 

Mobility is a very important aspect of today’s workplace, and key UC features are able to support this. Given the rapid adoption of flexible or remote work options and bring-your-own-device trends, this is an especially relevant feature. Key features that allow you to take your business communication with you on your mobile device are facilitated by Hosted VoIP features, which is usually included with UC tools. This allows you to reliably receive inbound calls and securely collaborate with team members, on the go. 

5. Integrations 

UC solutions should be able to easily integrate with third-party business applications that are commonly used in your office. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and your UC solution are a natural opportunity for integration. This can enable your sales or customer service teams to provide easy, personalized communications and service.

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Keep these basics in mind to determine whether or not a UC solution is right for your business. If you want to learn more - or consider adding collaboration tools like web conferencing and online meetings into the mix - get in touch with us at GoTo! 

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