There was once a time when you didn’t have to make an arduous decision about which communication tool to use for which purpose in the workplace. After all, you weren’t necessarily given a huge amount of choice in the first place.
While, a decade ago, an office PC would typically come as standard, you would be lucky if you also got a work mobile phone with which you could make business calls and texts. It’s a very different situation these days – you could even say you probably have too much choice…
All of a sudden, the “bad old days” of having few communication tools to choose from might not seem quite so bad on reflection. However, you really can have your cake and eat it – a wealth of tools between which you can easily switch as necessary…
What is unified communications?
Unified communications (UC) might initially seem like a technical term of relatively recent origin, but the concept has been around for decades. As long ago as 1985, one voicemail system purveyor, VMX, started offering an “email reader” feature on their voicemail system, notes Inc. contributor John Rampton – and the concept of UC has kept expanding from there.
These days, you probably often use UC in your day-to-day corporate life, perhaps without even realizing that there was a fancy name for it. For example, if your business is entrenched in the Google ecosystem, you might often use Gmail for emails, Google Docs for collaborating on text-based projects and Google Hangouts for participating in or hosting webinars.
Therefore, unified communications can be succinctly described as a system where you have various communication tools right at your fingertips and all built into a single interface. Given the wide variety of tools on which your business might currently rely, putting together a UC system can actually be much easier than you might have realized…
The building blocks of a UC system
These days, workers rarely have to worry about whether their employees will have sufficient room in their budget to fund a phone for each worker. After all, many of us probably already have, in our pockets, phones far more powerful than our employers could afford for us.
As acknowledged in an ITProPortal article, “we live in an age where people want to choose their own devices and applications and personalize their work-related communications experiences.” Providing your employees with “the same high-level user experience that they get when they use a consumer application or platform can help to keep them engaged while they are on the job.”
It naturally follows, then, that getting the right UC system in place is often a matter of choosing the right software rather than investing in new hardware. For example, embarking on an Office 365 roadmap by AddIn365 could familiarize your team with the AddIn Work Hub, an Office 365 collaboration tool which wraps various Office 365 services under its net.
Those include Groups, Teams, Yammer, SharePoint and, of course, Office for a comprehensive, all-in-one solution.