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What is unified communications software and why do you need it?

With hybrid working on the rise, finding the right tools to allow employees to work from anywhere is paramount for businesses of all sizes.

One of those technologies is Unified Communications (UC). Unified communications (UC) is a term used for a broad range of cloud-based software and applications that allow people to use a variety of devices to communicate with each other. UC can include everything from basic voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone service to sophisticated collaboration tools to enable employees to work together on projects from different locations.

If you are looking for a way to improve communication within your business, UC may be the solution you need. In this blog, we’ll explore what makes a good UC software, we’ll list some of the best out there and how to get the most out of your chosen solution.

Why do you need UC software?

UC software is rising in popularity amongst businesses because it allows them to communicate with their employees and customers in a variety of ways. Since UC software is cloud-based, employees can use many different devices to communicate, including phones, email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. This allows businesses to reach their customers and employees wherever they are and makes it easier for employees to work together regardless of location.

What are the benefits of UC?

As we’ve mentioned, as the business world becomes more and more competitive, the need for efficient and effective communication becomes more important than ever. UC software provides a number of benefits that can help businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

  1. Increased productivity

With a UC solution, your employees will only need one platform for their communications needs – reducing the time they spend flicking between tabs and looking for the information they need.

For your IT team, this also means dealing with just one provider and saving time in the process.

  1. Reducing costs

Another benefit of having all your communications solutions within one platform comes down to cost savings. Gone are the days of dealing with four different providers and dealing with four different subscriptions.

UC software also has much lower Capex than on-premises solutions, as it only requires laptops or existing devices to be deployed. Not to mention that it saves travelling costs by providing high-quality remote meeting experiences.

  1. Improving employee satisfaction

As we’ve mentioned, consolidating platforms is one of the main benefits of UC. For employees, this means being able to work whenever, from wherever they are – greatly improving work-life balance.

On top of that, when all employees use the same platform, your business can foster better team collaboration and ensure all employees feel connected and engaged.

  1. Enhanced customer service

Another great benefit of unified communications software is that it can help to improve customer service. By providing a single platform for all customer interactions, businesses can provide a more seamless and efficient customer experience.

Even better, by integrating a UC solution with your contact or call centre, you empower your agents by giving them access to find the right resources or people within the organisation to help your customers – without having to call them back due to disconnected systems.

What should you look for in a unified communications solution?

When it comes to UC, what ‘good’ looks like will depend greatly on your business requirements. If you’re looking for a tool to empower your employees, you might need a UC platform with enhanced collaboration features; on the other hand, if your main concern is improving customer communications, you’ll need to look at a software that integrates contact centre features into the same platform.

The next step is to consider your business size and what features are available in the software. For example, is the software scalable to accommodate a growing business? And does it include all the features you need?

Finally, it’s important to price the software into your budget and ensure that it will be a good return on investment. After all, the goal is to find the best unified communications software to improve communication within your business – and that can only be accomplished if the software is affordable and easy to use.

Whatever your requirements may be, there are a few things to always consider when choosing the best platform for your business:

  1. User-friendly

One of the biggest challenges when adopting a new platform is making sure that employees actually use it. When choosing a UC software, you should ensure it is easy to use, and intuitive and that it integrates with any platform already existing in your tech stack.

You also want your employees to understand the change and how it will improve their day-to-day. To this end, many providers will organise training sessions with your team to go through the platform and answer any questions they may have.

  1. Reliable

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. For businesses, this means that any tech stack needs to be able to adapt to any inconvenience or accident.

Your chosen UC software should include tailored business continuity with network and number-level resilience to keep your business working. This means that even if anything were to happen – a storm, a flood, or a worldwide pandemic! – your communications system will be up and running, with barely any disruption to your business.

  1. Flexible and scalable

Changing market conditions can be tricky for businesses – the pandemic was proof of that. At times, a business workforce can be halved in less than a week (remember furlough?), or might need to be doubled to meet demands. These changes can be difficult to manage with on-premises solutions, and sometimes, even with some cloud-based ones.

The right unified communications solution will allow you to add or remove users seamlessly and with little disruption to your service. You should look for a solution that provides business-grade reliability, regardless of the number of users.

  1. Affordable

Especially in times of crisis, budget does matter. Cost-effectiveness is one of those aspects that cannot be overlooked when choosing a UC solution. While generally, cloud-based solutions will often be more affordable than on-premises, this technology’s cost spectrum is still varied.

Small businesses should look for a solution with a low initial investment (i.e. new hardware) that fully integrates with any existing software. That way, you can make the most of your existing investments and save on costs. For larger enterprises, the key is integration – a good example of this is choosing a telephony solution that integrates with Microsoft Teams to make the most of any existing Microsoft licenses.

  1. Future-proof

Technology changes quickly. You might be deploying the latest UC software today, but in a matter of years, that technology could very well be considered prehistoric.

When choosing a UC solution, you should ensure your provider provides automatic updates as soon as they are released. Most importantly, they have a history of investing and upgrading the platform over time.

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of UC?

If your business is looking for a way to improve communication and boost productivity, unified communications software is the perfect solution for your business.

Head over to our dedicated page to find out more.