A unified communications cultural revolution

Work isn’t somewhere you go, it’s something you do.

As the business world continues on its journey of digital transformation, this statement is more valid than ever. Organisations across the world have embraced the mobile revolution and are enabling users to access business data and applications anywhere, on any device.

Remote working has also undergone a quiet revolution over the past five years. Where “homeworking” used to be euphemism for slacking off, most organisations now recognise that remote workers are just as, if not more productive than their office-based colleagues. Attitudes have changed to such an extent that more businesses in the UK allow remote working than don’t.

Technology has had an important role to play in this. Ubiquitous wireless connectivity, nationwide broadband access, 4G mobile and more bandwidth than you can shake a stick at mean that big data applications can be used anywhere.

When it comes to business communications, our fascination with multiple devices is having an influence on the way we work. The average UK user employees 3 different devices every day. More email and web browsing takes place on mobile devices than ever and the time we spend on static devices now represents just a third of the working day.

As IT and communications department have become service organisations for internal stakeholders, they have also become increasingly user-oriented. Device ownership has shifted outside of the organisation and tech teams are tasked with delivering business-critical data and applications to a wide variety of devices, running a variety of operating systems.

What goes for the employee, goes double for the customer. UK customers have become increasingly mobile and social in their interactions, expecting to move freely from one channel or device to another in the process of engaging with a supplier.

The always-on, IoT environment that has evolved over the past few years has bred a degree of impatience when it comes to communication. It wasn’t that long ago when a customer service SLA would guarantee an email would be responded to in 24 hours. Nowadays, customer expect a response time to be measured in minutes.

The thing that modern communications offers more than anything is choice. A unified communications culture means users can choose to work from anywhere, on any device, and customers can contact suppliers using a medium that suits them.

It is important to realise that modern users expect to be able to move seamlessly between communications media, without losing control over the conversation. When dealing with a customer enquiry, the medium of origin is not always the medium of resolution

Unified communications solutions have evolved to meet a range of real-time and any-time (synchronous and asynchronous) communication needs and typically include technologies such as IP telephony, instant messaging, audio/video conferencing, email voicemail and SMS.

Presence is a key component of Unified Communications and is essential if organisations are to make the most of the technology. It enables users to identify contacts, locate them, view their status and choose the best method of communicating with them.

Introducing new UC technology is not just about a change in process and policy, it is about affecting a change in communications culture. User adoption is the single biggest indicator of success; when you introduce a new technology, you must bring the users with you on the journey.

The last thing you want is to invest in a sophisticated UC solution, one that provides all the bells and whistles, and have your employees use it like a standard telephone. The communications landscape is littered with UC implementation projects that met all the technology requirements but failed to deliver broader business value.

If you would like to find out more about cloud, hybrid or on-premises UC and collaboration solutions from ONI, visit: https://www.oni.co.uk/solutions-services/ucc-as-a-service/ call us direct on 01582 429 999 or email getintouch@oni.co.uk

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