An introduction to unified communications (UC)
As the demands of today’s fast-paced technological environment increases, enterprises must ensure the adoption of workplace applications is managed in the most effective way.
Unified Communications (UC) or Intelligent Communications (IC) are terms used to describe enterprise communication tools linked to collaboration and productivity. Tools such as instant messaging (chat), Voice over IP, web & audio conferencing, and desktop sharing are linked with productivity gains and should be accessed in a simple way to provide a seamless user experience.
You may be thinking about implementing a Unified Communications solution or wondering what use cases in your organisation Unified Communications might be applicable to. So we’re going to delve a bit deeper into the key elements of a Unified Communications solution, and some of its features and applications.
Key elements of a unified communications solution:
Integration with productivity applications
Your UC solution needs to effectively integrate your communication applications into a single front-end interface. By combining apps like video, email and voice together, your organisation can leverage the increased productivity that UC provides through time savings and enhanced organisational agility. This is by giving your employees access to all their communication applications in one place, which can be accessed on any device in any location. Meaning that as long as your employees are connected to the internet, they are always connected to your organisation.
Ease of use and adoption
A vital part of a UC solution, and a major concern for UC, is how it is adopted by your organisation, and making sure it is simple for your employees to use. A complicated UC solution further discourages employees from embracing it. Ease of use can be improved by simplifying the access to all the applications in your desktop, where they work together to maximise employee output. With the result being that employees can seamlessly turn a chat into a call, video conference or collaboration space, in just a few clicks. Simplicity, combined with the user-friendliness of UC through the integration of your communication applications, will increase the adoption by your employees and allow your organisation to leverage the benefits of UC faster.
Accessibility to needed features
Your UC solutions needs to have the most up-to-date features so your users, and their organisation, can increase their productivity. This can be enabled through automatic updates of applications, so the latest features are easily available. Your UC solution needs to not only give you access to the features you need now but be able to adapt to the needs of your organisation as it grows.
Organisations are all in different stages of their journey to a UC solution. You need to make sure you are fully supported in your migration, so that the best and most appropriate UC solution is put in place for the organisation. It’s necessary to plan what you want from your UC solution and how this is implemented and to find a provider who can guide and support your organisation throughout this journey.
Working from home (WFH)
Working from home is where an employee can perform their work activities from home, instead of at the office. UC enables WFH by giving employees access to the tools they need to perform their tasks outside of the office. WFH can be improved through Office 365 as this allows users to access their Microsoft applications and have their communication needs met through Microsoft Teams, all in their own home.
Currently WFH is viewed by businesses as being simply a benefit for employees as it provides the option to not come into the office; however, the business benefits are often overlooked. WFH can improve productivity, as employees always have the latest files available and can eliminate unproductive travel time, and increases collaboration as employees are always able to connect with each other, no matter their location.
Organisations are starting to expand their ability to offer WFH to their employees to ensure business continuity, by increasing the scope of activities that can be performed outside of the office to encompass all employees. This is so they can all perform their duties in case of an emergency which prevents them from traveling to the office.
Desktop as a service (DaaS)
Desktop as a service is a method of delivering a complete virtual desktop environment to users, which integrates a variety of components, including operating systems, applications and files from the cloud. This allows access to your desktop on a range of devices (including laptops and phones) in any location. This can be provided through a subscription-based model, so your organisation only pays for what they use. This goes hand-in-hand with Office 365, which is a solution that enables a full end-to-end environment for many organisations.
Currently, there are still a lot of applications that are office-based which require physical installations. However, there’s a push to move to a landscape that is fully self-serviced, where employees can access their desktop from any location and from any device.
There are two major drivers behind this shift to DaaS. Firstly, the cost savings from DaaS are high, as organisations can reduce the amount of hardware they require, as well as the office space and desks they need. Because this solution is completely virtual, you only pay for what you need as it is a subscription-based model. Secondly, DaaS improves productivity as employees can access their desktop from any location at any time.
Our Intelligent Communications solution
At Colt, Unified Communications is referred to as Intelligent Communications, powered by Microsoft Office 365. We differentiate ourselves by leveraging our unique global voice, fully owned network and data centre assets to provide you with the best end-to-end experience.
Colt’s Tier 1 network offers reliable and predictable connectivity, with resiliency provided by premium service quality options. End-to-end support gives predictable system uptime and the assurance that we will be there to solve any issues, allowing businesses to effectively leverage workplace technology now and into the future.
Colt is certified for ISO/IEC 27001, which is the only auditable international standard defining requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) ensuring adequate and proportionate security controls have been established. You can find out more about our Intelligent Communications solution on our product page here.
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