Organizations communicate faster and with a far greater precision once they start using Unified Communications (UC) solutions. In a fast-moving world where professionals are mobile about eighty percent of the time, they have to be able to send messages, email documents, streamline videos, and discuss campaigns real-time from their various separate locations. More important, they must be able to perform this from one platform that can synchronize their communications methods and organize any of their information, ideas, and other bits of exchange in an orderly fashion. UC makes this possible by integrating office-based email, web-based email, instant messenger, social media, and incoming phone calls under its network.
Communications becomes faster and less stressful because your employee no longer has to jump from one email inbox to another to check his messages. It also becomes more accurate because documents and messages sent through the various tools refrain from becoming redundant. The risk of losing documents and files also decreases because UC tracks their transmittal throughout each phase.
There are five ways by which UC can further improve communications among your team members:
Real-time communication regardless of location: The 21st century workforce is both global and virtual. Forbes Magazine ran an article saying that there are about 1.3 billion people who work productively outside the office, connected to their organization through a mobile device. An executive in the U.S. can easily reach out to his colleague in Asia or train his European regional managers through a video conference. UC empowers your team members to see the U.S. states or countries where their counterparts are located, or whether they are online or not. If all of them are available and online, they can immediately call for a video conference right there and then, or discuss important issues through a long exchange of emails that ultimately resolves it.
Flexibility in choosing the most effective communication tool: Once your remote team members have located each other and agreed to communicate, they themselves can make the process easier, less cumbersome, and more productive by choosing the most effective tool to do it. UC allows them several options that can accommodate their situation at that particular point in time. For example, team members who are currently deskbound in four different states may choose to hold a videoconference because the sensitivity of the topic requires more personalized interaction. The next day, in doing a follow-up of the tasks agreed on in that video con, they may just decide to discuss it via instant messaging because all of them have only half an hour to discuss the issue before boarding their respective planes that will take them back to the home office.
Cloud storage of important documents: Accessing and then sending documents while having an online meeting is one of the culprits that often bog down communication. We put on hold our colleague with whom we are having a video conference and take more than a few minutes to switch back to our web-based email and then sift through our inbox to find that one precious powerpoint presentation that he needs to close a deal. The same thing happens with instant messaging as we may have to close one app and open another just to retrieve and email a document. Time is lost, momentum slows down, and in some cases if we can’t find the document, we might lose an opportunity. UC neutralizes this risk by placing all the documents that the team members need in in the cloud where they are easily accessed within seconds.
Response time of team members become faster: UC immediately notifies you if you have an urgent message in your inbox or instant messenger. Team members who need your feedback at that moment don’t have to wait for hours just to get a reply. Decisions are made and issues are resolved without any down time. After installing a UC solution, restaurant franchise The Rose Group experienced a reduction in employee complaints and a boost in company morale, because their executives were now immediately alerted once their staff asked for their intervention.
Collaboration becomes a learning experience: All the above advantages in using UC lead to one thing: the sharing of ideas and information among team members becomes a learning experience that enriches everyone while developing creative solutions. Virtual interaction can become enjoyable and rewarding, as each team member begins to value the other’s contribution. Jason Andersson of Unified Communications Strategies notes, “But as these technologies now reach maturity, they become much more interesting for business to enhance collaboration and introduce new ways of problem solving and competence sharing, or learning. These virtual meetings provide a record of learning, a flow of ideas shared in small groups (dyads) or larger settings. By using flow mechanisms (RSS feeds), it is much easier to follow a discussion or subject of interest and it does not take time away from ‘real work.’”