Why Unified Communications are the way to go to keep communication streamlined in your companyAmit Bathla
Private and hybrid cloud-based communication tools are the future. In addition to serving all your communication needs, they also leverage the capabilities of your existing architecture.
One of the most important aspects of business is communication. You’ll admit that your relationships with your employees, stakeholders and customers are all built using various modes of communication, such as voice, video, email, instant messaging, etc.
However, with the need to be more efficient in a rapidly evolving competitive landscape, it was realised that multiple communication channels were not serving the purpose quite right. In fact, on a few aspects, they acted totally opposite to how they were intended to. Time, cost and complexity associated with their usage were posing certain challenges. That’s what gave birth to unified communications (UC).
Let’s first understand what unified communication means. It refers to a unified platform that integrates all communication channels like chat, voice, video, web, etc., and keeps them in one place. This means instead of choosing different tools, organisations can only use one medium for different communication needs, saving a considerable amount of time and resources.
The UC solutions are smart, economical, time-saving and secure. Looking at their potential, organisations around the world are increasingly adopting them at an impressive speed. A report by Grand View Research says that from the year 2018, the global market of unified communications is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.8 percent and reach $143.49 billion by 2024.
How UC addressed the concerns with traditional communication tools
Over time, organisations using different communication tools like phone, emails, and instant messengers realized there were a few serious concerns in this communication system. Employees have to spend a significant amount of time in understanding the functioning of each tool, gaining its know-how and mastering working on it. This becomes even more concerning in a larger organisation with higher headcount where training employees on various tools alone eats into a sizeable chunk of bandwidth and surely, affects productivity.
Another challenge in using multiple tools is that there is an undeniable possibility of committing errors or information getting lost when shuffling between tools.
A unified communications platform offers a great deal of convenience. Instead of multiple apps, you only have one centralised tool to log in to. Traditional communication platforms require you to refer to various sources to access distributed information. With a unified tool, you can get all the information at one place. Besides, you don’t have to remember many passwords.
Clearly, it saves a lot of time and resources for your organisation, which can be used in more strategic work like generating leads, increasing revenue, improving customer service and a lot more. Thus, UC contributes to a superior performance.
Additionally, multiple communication tools bring along various associated costs like hardware, licensing, software upgrades, maintenance and support. Since a unified communication app eliminates the need for other tools, your overall communication costs are reduced to a only fraction of what you would incur in a traditional model.
Leading UC providers
UC is being enthusiastically deployed and used in various sectors like education, hospitality and financial services. Leading players have already disrupted the communication solution market with their unique offerings. Slack, for example, uses its built-in features for voice and video chats and is one of the best team apps for any employee across the organisation. It’s an easy-to-use application with a large user base and a high level of data security. However, it cannot be integrated with enterprise telephony and other UC platforms yet.
Skype for Business was probably the most used UC platform until recently. It provides a wide range of communication solutions and is easy to integrate with enterprise telephony. Skype for Business also offers a full integration with Microsoft 365 applications. It has been helpful to the organisations in giving the employees the flexibility at the workplace with mobile capabilities. Its full range of services is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X etc.
Microsoft Teams, which has received a positive welcome from business communities, helps users to connect a wide range of Microsoft tools into their workspaces. Microsoft launched this tool in November 2016 to its Office 365 service suite. It’s a chat-based team collaboration tool to create a common virtual workplace. The e-discovery feature makes its applications more secure and compliant. It also has chatbot assistance for users to answer their queries in real time and helps them be more productive at work.
Rainbow is a Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) and Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS). It is a hybrid cloud solution that is easy to integrate with existing private business exchanges (PBX), team-based messaging applications, and third-party apps. So, it allows multiple stakeholders to communicate on a single platform simultaneously in their respective environment in a secure manner.
Rainbow empowers you to utilise a complete range of cloud-based services and at the same time, leverage your on-premise capabilities. So, you can design a communication architecture according to your business needs in a cost-effective manner.
What is ahead for UC?
The UC market is constantly evolving in response to the growing need for smarter communication solutions for businesses. In order to give their employees more flexibility, perform remote operations, facilitate seamless communication and improve employee collaboration, organisations are channelising their focus on unified communications software. Many of them are now looking to get rid of age-old voice systems. They are looking to leverage UC functionalities to integrate all intelligent tools into their daily business operations and make way for an agile workforce. They want to integrate UC into their enterprise architecture and encourage user adoption to increase productivity.
Private and hybrid cloud-based communication tools are the future. In addition to serving all your communication needs, they also leverage the capabilities of your existing architecture. With Rainbow taking the lead with its hybrid solutions, there is a good likelihood of more players following the suit. Realising the need for a unified communication and collaboration platform, many leading global technology companies have started giving strong considerations to UC venture. In days to come, we are set to see a lot of activity in this space with the arrival of many new and innovative UC platforms.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)