Every day we are bombarded with communications of all sorts so that at some point everything just becomes a hodgepodge of literal mixed messages! In the busy workplace everyone from the director to HR to secretaries and department heads receive phone calls, email messages, text messages and then there are those platforms in the Cloud where staff and partners share intelligence as well as work orders and other bits of information such as scheduling and a calendar of events.
With so many lines of communication open, something seems to get lost in the translation. For this reason alone, it is vital to set up a Unified Communications strategy so that all messages and communications of any kind are routed to a central location for dissemination. From busy call centers to corporate headquarters, a Unified Communications strategy enables the proverbial right hand to know what the left hand is doing.
Analyzing Your Current Communications
It would be unrealistic to assume that you got all your communications systems from the same supplier. From your email server to your telecommunications provider to your Internet provider to your Cloud based video conferencing platform, there are a number of companies that you deal with and when you are overwhelmed with a busy daily routine it becomes quite difficult to keep track of everything. One suggestion would be to look for suppliers that are Cisco partners able to work together so it is easier to get everyone on the same page but if not, it is still possible to unify all your communications with the right platform.
Understanding What It Means to Unify All Your Communications Platforms
In very basic terms, Unified Communications is like a clearing house through which all your communications must pass. It is a platform that can be likened to a watchdog that gathers everything as it comes in and redirects it to a central holding place for your attention. Thus, if you get an email from supplier B and a phone message from your wife along with a sales call from a company you’ve never heard from, the system will reroute everything to a ‘mailbox’ where you can pick it up or discard it as needed.
Many companies use a digital whiteboard so that they can quickly glance up, look at what calls are waiting, what messages need a response and literally who is doing what, when and where. Another way to look at Unified Communications strategies is with the funnel analogy. Everything is gathered in and then simplified down so that it passes through one spout, one channel.
Cloud vs. Legacy Infrastructure
Since Unified Communications is a software platform, it can be based on site or in the Cloud. Cisco partners often work in the Cloud because this is a great money saving feature for small to midsized businesses. No costly infrastructure is needed because the server houses all data and programs. All information is unified and sent to the Cloud where it can be retrieved from any location you happen to be. Instead of calling your phone number to pick up voice mail and looking at your mobile phone for text messages while grabbing your laptop to see if you have any new email, you can simply log in from one device to access your dashboard where everything is already organized and ready for you to read, respond or discard. It’s a novel approach to an age old problem.
Organization Is Key to Business Success
One of the constants that you have come to learn as a business owner, director or manager is that organization is key to your business’ success. Time is money and you waste so much of it looking for misplaced messages or files sent in email that you can’t remember where you saved them along with all sorts of communications that simply get misplaced. How many deals have you lost over the years because you didn’t get the message that a client wanted to meet with your or had an offer/counteroffer to make? A Unified Communications strategy enables you to keep all your communications in one central location for ease of access.
However, there is one further point that you should consider here and that is the fact that a Unified Communications strategy will also evolve over time as does your need for various types of communications. Where voice messages were once a vital part of your business success, email or Skype messages may now be the dominant force behind all your business communications. Before deciding on your strategy, understand that a Unified Communications strategy is fluid and can be amended as time goes on. With the right Cisco partner and state of the art hardware and UC software, you will have more time to do the thing you do best – make money not track down messages. And that’s just how it should be in a successful business.