There might be as many definitions for “unified communications” as there are UC solutions. This tends to make UC and its potential benefits rather confusing. In a recently published white paper that’s written as a guide to UC for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) takes a different approach.
In this whitepaper, the focus is on what UC can do rather than what it is. The underlying purpose of UC, Frost & Sullivan says, is making it “easy and cost effective for employees to reach one another -- as well as business partners and customers—as soon as they need to, wherever they are.”
UC, Frost & Sullivan posits, can help SMBs manage or overcome the top challenges that may be limiting growth or competitiveness: constant pressure on key employees, an owner who needs to be everywhere, multi-functional job roles, intense competition for customers, and limited IT and telecom expertise.
Unified communications offers three core benefits that help SMBs operate more effectively. These are customer care, better productivity, and reduced communications costs.
“With skills-based routing, presence information and conferencing, unified communications makes it easier to stay in touch with your customers, and ensure they get the answers and support they need,” Frost & Sullivan said about UC’s ability to address customer care challenges.
The research firm said that as much as 75 percent of SMB organizations view collaboration as critical to doing business. UC tools can make collaborating faster and easier. UC means less money must be spent on travel, and it also means that call volumes (and associated expenses) can be reduced by substituting in things like instant messaging and video conferencing.
Ultimately, according to Frost & Sullivan, said, UC helps SMBs “make better decisions more quickly, speed development and production times, and fill orders faster.”
To illustrate this point, Frost & Sullivan explores the benefits of UC to people in different SMB job roles, including the business owner, customer care reps, sales staff, and knowledge workers.
Frost & Sullivan’s whitepaper about UC reads more like a guide than a technical paper. It’s chock full of how-to tidbits like what to look for in a UC solution, what to ask vendors, and key elements to look for when choosing an all-in-one UC solution.
For much more on this topic, including discussion about which UC elements are most important to SMBs, read the full white paper.
Unified communications provider Broadvox (News - Alert) will be exhibiting at ITEXPO East 2011. To be held Feb. 2-4 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit Broadvox in booth #606. Don’t wait. Register now.Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf