Three Ireland’s Karl McDermott makes the business case for unified communications.
The larger and more diverse your organisation is, the more important it becomes to work together as one, and to present one unified, consistent image to all customers and partners. Unified communications (UC) makes this possible.
UC converges your desk phones and mobiles. It enables conference calls from home, instant messaging on the move and collaboration with remote colleagues or customers – all on any device, anywhere and at any time. It provides the most flexible and comprehensive communications capabilities available on one platform, from one provider.
UC makes both business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications seamless. Getting in touch with the right person becomes easier and more efficient. Capabilities such as video calls and desktop-sharing showcase your agility and professionalism, while getting the job done quicker. Last but not least, all communications in any direction are always more secure.
Increasing efficiency and productivity, reducing costs, improving customer relationships – UC brings together all the ideals of enterprise communications and makes them a reality.
Increased productivity through greater flexibility
When employees can work wherever and whenever they want, they are simply more productive. UC makes their laptop, mobile or tablet the key to unlock access to all the tools, resources and colleagues they need, so they can be more efficient and more effective in the office, at home or on the go. The ‘presence’ feature also makes their availability status visible in real time to other users (and vice versa), optimising their responsiveness, reducing the need for voicemails and saving wasted time.
Flexibility is not just an everyday advantage of UC. It can also pay dividends in business continuity, on the one day in a thousand when the most unlikely scenario becomes reality.
With hosted UC as part of your disaster recovery planning, anything from a catastrophic office fire or flood to a power cut or snow-blocked roads can be taken in your stride with uninterrupted and seamless communications. With no on-premise infrastructure, you can work as if in your office, even if your office is no longer working – and your customers need never even know.
Reduced costs with more control
Traditional communication via PSTN/ISDN phone lines is expensive. Migrate to UC and you can scrap those line rentals and significantly reduce your communication costs.
You can also adopt an OPEX per-user-per-month model, which makes the cost more predictable and easier to control and budget for. Updates and upgrades are included in the price to keep your solution ‘evergreen’ without ever-increasing costs.
Plus, the availability of high-quality, easy-to-set-up video calls and online meetings means that you don’t have to physically go to every meeting, dramatically reducing your travel expenses.
Hosted UC means the server hardware is located in data centres with a far higher level of security than your own server room is ever likely to achieve. It is delivered over secure, private network connections, and all communications – voice, messaging and video – can be encrypted if required.
Enhanced customer experience
Customers don’t care how you do it – they just want someone to answer their call or respond to their message quickly and effectively. With UC, you can give your customers the kind of communications they want.
Whether it’s a video call, webchat, instant messaging with customer care advisers, or a presence-enabled directory automatically routing calls to the correct department or person, UC’s features help you create a customer experience to remember, rather than one to forget.
With a video call, you can even give them the kind of communications they might think they can only get in person. And, using video for internal communications can make meetings more efficient and easier to schedule because a one-hour meeting only takes an hour, not an hour plus travelling time (and costs).
Benefits beyond communication
Integrating UC into specific business processes – whether in finance, HR, your contact centre or elsewhere – makes it quicker and easier to identify all colleagues and customers involved, and to contact them directly from within the process, with just one click.
Karl McDermott is head of 3Connected Solutions at Three Ireland. He has been leading the development of Three’s ICT solutions for business customers since 2010, playing a key role in the company’s evolution from mobile operator to end-to-end ICT partner. Having working in ICT for more than 20 years, he combines his extensive knowledge and experience with Three’s network and portfolio to deliver solutions to Irish businesses.