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Create a unified comms strategy

Unified communications, also known as unified comms or UC, is something all businesses use to a lesser or greater extent, but it’s also a term that is often misunderstood. A unified comms strategy is often thought of as being very expensive or complicated and out of the reach of smaller businesses. In reality, you can create a unified comms strategy to be as simple or complex as you need it to be. However, in order to create a strategy that will work for your business, you need to understand the principles of UC and work out what you need to gain from unified communications.

What is Unified Communications?

According to Wikipedia, Unified Communications is:

“an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience. It optimizes business processes and enhances human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies.”

In simpler terms, a unified comms strategy pulls together all the different methods of communication a business uses and integrates them so they can be used simultaneously, by anyone or from any location, helping businesses to work smarter. For example, whereas in the past a contract agreement may have required a face to face meeting, a telephone call and some information sent through the post, all of which would take time to accomplish, the same deal could be completed within minutes using a unified communications strategy that included audio and video conferencing and data transfer.

A great example of unified comms technology is Microsoft Lync, which is software that unites voice, data, video, audio, instant messaging and web conferencing. It can be run alongside interactive white boards such as SMART boards to aid collaboration but it’s also just as easy for individuals or home users to benefit from it. For example, if a company using Microsoft Lync wants to include a remote worker in a conference they can use the software to send out an email invitation, which will include a phone number for audio connection, details on using a web cam and a link to share data over the internet in real time.

How to create a unified comms strategy

So now you understand what unified comms is, it’s time to create a unified comms strategy that’s right for your business. The term means different things to different people, and there’s no “one size fits all” solution. Think about how you currently use communication tools and what priority you give to the different communication methods – video, audio, data etc. For example, if your directors are based in different areas of the country or world and need to meet up regularly, then high definition video might be really crucial. On the other hand, if you want to be able to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and project management then fast data transfer is going to be much more important. You also need to consider how many people you want to be able to communicate with, and where they are based. Do you mainly only communicate with one person at a time, or do you need the facility to hold conferences with many people? Will you be communicating with staff within your building – or with suppliers, clients and employees scattered around the globe? Are you going to invest in dedicated equipment, or would a cloud- or internet-based solution be more cost-effective? These are just some of the questions you need to consider before you create your unified comms strategy.

At Smarter Interactive we listen to what our clients need and find solutions that work for them. If you would like our help to create a unified comms strategy that’s right for your business, fill in the form on the right or call us on 0118 336 0010 today.

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