If you have never been properly introduced to the definition of “unified communications”, you could easily be excused for feeling a large degree of confusion. After all, it can look like a dauntingly complex term at first glance. However, rest assured that this apparent complexity is deceptive…
Unified communications (UC) refers to a framework under which a range of business communications tools are firmly integrated. This tightly-knit communication system is great for fostering improved communications and collaboration across various work environments.
However, before you start thoroughly developing a UC system for your own company, you need to carefully consider what communications platform to choose. In fact, this platform could prove to be just the first that you select as your UC system takes shape.
Now, as you were reading the last paragraph, a very particular question may have kept popping up in your head and making you increasingly fraught with anguish: “What is a unified communications platform?” Yes, it’s yet another obscure piece of jargon to unpack – but we can certainly put it together for you.
Find a platform on which to build your success
As you read through reams of text on the subject of UC, you could quickly become wrecked with confusion as you wonder what exactly constitutes the “platform” in this whole equation.
A UC environment can comprise multiple platforms, which can account even just for the back-end systems. TechTarget raises this point in explaining: “A unified communications environment is typically supported by one or more back-end systems, often referred to as UC platforms”.
You could take note of this when starting to build your own UC system with an IP telephony platform. That could support an audio conferencing system of which a web conferencing system could make use. You could also plug a unified messaging client into the latter system.
Benefits of a UC platform
- Smooth the communication channel within the company
- Freedom to choose from many different products and services to tailor your UC system to your company’s needs
- Multiple sites could be connected under that same phone system. This would be a particular boon if your business runs multiple, geographically scattered offices or retail outlets.
- As new features for that phone system are released, your firm can quickly receive those updates.
What platform should you add to a platform?
In trying to choose your back-end UC platform, you should think carefully about whether you would like it to be single-vendor or multi-vendor. These terms are probably largely self-explanatory; indeed, they refer to how many vendors offer services that can be integrated with the UC platform.
Once you have settled on a back-end platform, your thoughts could soon turn to possibly implementing a web conferencing platform on top of it. The merits of such a smooth platform should not be underestimated, as it could ease your interaction with various clients simultaneously.
However, such is the beautiful seamlessness of UC that, when you would favour promptly switching to different communication tools, you can easily follow through with that plan. Such tools that you could add in preparation include those for text-based email and chat.
Some of the creative possibilities
As you continue to enrich your UC system by bulking out its functionality, you could be startled by the increasing number of quirky ways in which that system can give your business a crucial edge. UCToday highlights various examples of how these methods could materialise.
Quite a few clever trends have taken effect in the UC world. Infusing a business communications system with artificial intelligence can ease companies’ routing and management of calls. Therefore, customers can be automatically connected with the agents most capable of meeting their needs.
Furthermore, even if an agent feels the need to change the communication medium through which they are interacting with the customer, the conversation can remain cohesive. The agent would be able to take prior discussions into account as the customer continues to receive assistance.
However, exactly what type of assistance would the customer like to receive? Some types, like explanations of how to fix a faulty product, are not always easy to deliver over a standard phone system. However, it could be a very different story over video chat.
If your company is particularly forward-thinking, it could even consider integrating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology into its customer service. When you present the customer with the right digitally-generated imagery, you could more easily guide the customer through rectifying their problem; confusion between the customer and agent might never prove a factor.
Crucial factors to consider in deciding on a UC platform
At Gamma, we offer many different services which your organisation could add to its UC palette. These services also include Gamma Mobile, with which data could easily be sent between your office-bound devices and the mobile devices of your staff on business trips.
For that ease of use, you could largely thank the service’s exclusivity for the UK corporate market; you wouldn’t need to fret about consumer traffic slowing down the network at inconvenient times. You could also augment Gamma Mobile with our Connect service, which can imbue your workers’ mobile devices with a range of functionality that they might have thought limited to desk phones.
Nonetheless, you might have dragged your feet in implementing a UC platform for your business – perhaps out of fear that it would be beyond your firm’s financial reach. Rest easy that, today, many UC solutions are tailored for the lower employee counts of smaller businesses.
Still, if you are inexperienced with UC platforms, you could too easily stumble in attempting to choose the correct one. To help you to avoid making this mistake, we will refer to various tips cited by UCToday. You should look for the following features in a UC platform before you choose it…
Make sure that your workers could easily get up to speed with the platform; you won’t want to have to pour an excessive amount of time and money into extra training. It’s also a good idea to check that the platform could work with many different systems and features.