At Focus Group, we’re going back to basics on unified communication and its business benefits…
2022 is hotly debated to be the year of Unified Communications (UC)! But what exactly does it mean and is it right for your business?
A quick introduction to UC and UCaaS
UC is an umbrella term for the integration of multiple enterprise communication tools, such as voice calling, video conferencing, instant messaging and content sharing into one single, streamlined interface. Essentially, a UC solution brings together all the ways your business communicates and lets them ‘talk’ to each other so they can work together.
It’s partner in crime ‘unified communications as a service or UCaaS' describes the delivery model used for cloud-based services and software, referring specifically to APIs and communications.
Benefits and why unified communications is so important
With UC, everything is simplified; one platform enables your employees to connect, share and work together, which brings about obvious business benefits, such as:
- Increased productivity & efficiency – UC makes it easier to do your job! - Take business calls anywhere on any device, quickly share files, undertake video meetings and receive all communications to your preferred medium. Faster collaboration is achieved.
- Enhanced customer service – respond to customer or supplier demands wherever you are and on any device! - Serving customers faster and smarter will build better rapport and customer satisfaction – and increase revenue.
- Empower a hybrid workforce - With many teams continuing to blend their work-from-home/office-based/on-the-move lifestyle, employees in a unified communications world simply need an internet connection to gain access to your network and the host of tools/features they need to get cracking are at their fingertips.
- Scalability - meaning you’re ready to grow! As a result of every communication tool being integrated into one interface, it’s quick and simple to add or remove users and features as required.
Communication or collaboration?
It’s key is to realise the difference between communication and collaboration – the two terms often get used interchangeably, but do not mean exactly the same thing. Communication refers specifically to how people contact each other e.g. email or instant message, while collaboration refers to interactively working together towards a shared outcome. An example of this would be sharing a document online with others and making changes for all to see. The right approach to unified communications will empower your teams to both communicate and collaborate with ease.
What is unified communications as a service?
So, what is unified communications as a service? UCaaS is delivered as a combination of cloud services which provides a single platform for all your business communications. UCaaS, unified communications services are suited to businesses of all sizes and provide a whole host of benefits from improving internal processes to collating all your services into a single bill for your communications.
Unify your business
Unified Communications as a service offers a wealth of features, for businesses of all sizes:
- Mobility – Staying connected regardless of location.
- Web-based user interface – provide sull call control from web browsers, enabling users to customise phone settings, voicemail and more.
- Presence – let others know when a user is available to communicate.
- Unified messaging – manage all types if messages from a single application and switch as necessary.
- Conferencing – a group of users can communicate via voice or video from multiple locations, which can be extended to other organisations, suppliers and clients, etc.
- Advanced notifications – receive notifications in your desired medium, for example, a voicemail can be sent via text message or email along with a copy of the recording.
What to look for in a UCaaS provider
A quick Google search will make it quickly apparent that unified communications is the talk of the technology sector. So, if you’re looking to make the move to a digitally fuelled future, what should be top of your considerations list when looking for unified communications as a service?
- Data management – a huge security concern for all businesses. It is key your UCaaS provider has data centres located in environments where you need them the most, and that these give firms the freedom to manage their own data.
- Protection – businesses need to be able to protect all data from being accessed by the wrong party. Most UC providers use end-to-end encryption, while firewalls and controls will need to be implemented to reinforce security and make sure every form of data is safe and secure.
- Network security – a concern for many now with so many employees choosing to work securely but often beyond the realms of the office. VPN technology is fast becoming part of unified communications, so heightened network security is fundamental to protecting VoIP networks, etc.
- User access – a high level of control when it comes to permissions needed for employees, allowing them access to what they need to do their job, but not to other tools or types of data.
- Preventing scams – unified communication solutions for business come with tools to make it easier to track and monitor potentially fraudulent activity, helping to prevent phishing and scam calls and highlighting immediately if they occur.
- Future-proof – UC providers at the top of their game will also work to constantly update, upgrade and enhance their security environments as new threats and scams evolve, providing extra layers of protection where and when they are needed.
A Unified comms solution is a must-have for any modern business and does inevitably means a transition to the cloud, which may make some businesses apprehensive when it comes to security issues and building the safest environments, particularly where instant chat apps and video conferencing is used or when sharing confidential files or large volumes of sensitive data.
Unified communications can actually simplify the issue of security in many ways; aligning all of your communication channels in the same environment means it is easier to track signs of potential problems. Businesses also have greater levels of control over who is assigned use of certain features and functionality.
Our unified communications solutions
You guessed it, the UC specialists at Focus Group are on hand to guide you through your digital transformation to ensure your business operations are unified, secure and firing on all cylinders!
Our UCaaS solutions embrace innovative technology that delivers on all communication and collaboration fronts. We will ascertain what suits your budget and make sure what is in place works for your business now and in the future.
Let’s take a look at some of the proven solutions which could take your unified communications to the next level…
Focus Horizon VoIP phone system
Easy to install and with no upfront costs, the Horizon VoIP business phone system is second to none! With powerful call management features, it offers call recording and reporting, as well as call analytics to help see what areas you could help boost your business. It also offers business enhancements you can tap in to when the time is right. Focus Horizon customers can opt to upgrade to Focus Collaborate, a rich UC solution featuring voice and video calling, instant messaging and conferencing – every tool needed to support your business.
Collaborate can be added as an extension to your existing cloud phone system quickly and easily, giving you agility, business continuity and improved customer engagement.
Microsoft Teams phone system
The power to call people outside of your Microsoft 365 business domain and from any device. It’s cost-effective, reliable, scalable and has collaboration tools to impress! Whatever you need to do, it does! Call customers, hold a video meeting with a supplier, sync calendars, use the chat function or share files – no problem! And all your data is protected and stored in a secure cloud environment, always.
Ready to make the transition to the world of Unified Communication to harness its powerful benefits for your business?
Sonia Older is the Campaign Manager at Focus Group and a highly experienced copywriter. She boasts over 20 years of experience in content marketing and PR across multiple industries, and is the key driver of content and PR for Focus Group across all UK offices. Away from work, Sonia usually swaps keyboard strokes for ski slopes in the Alps with her family.