If I was to ask you to give me a simple definition of Unified Communications (UC), how would you respond?
Almost an Oxymoron, a simple definition for Unified Communication eludes many of us because there is nothing simple about Unified Communications.
Tech leaders and Business leaders will argue fiercely on this very topic because technologists want to break down UC into the various technology Silos while executives want a seamless communication tool.
Both parties seeking the same, however the path for those planning Unified Communications is less clear because we all know…
The simpler the technology in practice, the more difficult the planning and implementation becomes.
So what are the pieces that comprise Unified Communication?
Here is the shortlist of the major components for a successful UC deployment.
- Voice: Forever the staple of business communication. Access to a high quality voice solution needs to be at the very core of your UC strategy.
- Video: The future of communication for the last 20 years, pervasive bandwidth is now making high quality video a reality, and further affordable. No Unified Communication platform is complete without it.
- Instant Messaging: Chat may seem like child’s play, but in a world where we communicate far more over text, email and IM; businesses stand to gain from having an enterprise instant messaging tool.
- Productivity Tools: Email, Calendaring, Contact Management, Web Collaboration, File Sharing and storage all have a place in the Unified Communication solution. Often via Outlook (or similar) the ability to connect your everyday tools is the future of UC.
- Unified Messaging: The ability to get your Voicemail from anywhere via a simple email is a wonderful convenience and great for efficiency.
- Presence: The ability to see from any device who is available, who is away and who is in meetings makes for faster companies as resources can quickly connect to one another to obtain needed support or collaboration.
- Mobility: The “Anywhere Office” is a very real thing. Mobility gives the full toolset to users from an array of machines including your smartphone, tablet, PC or other. BYOD (Bring your own Device) has further pushed the mobile movement as more devices are being integrated into daily business operations.
- Business Intelligence Integration: This is the last piece and perhaps one that is most often overlooked. But ask yourself this…How does your organizations communication tools integrate with business systems like CRM (Customer Management/Contact Center) and ERP (Accounting and Resource Planning)? Given the heavy use of these packages in day-to-day business, not being able to connect to your UC system makes them less useful than they could be.
So now that we know the pieces…making them work in perfect harmony is another story and ultimately the Link (not lync) between another failed tech rollout and organizations communicating over any medium from anywhere.