The economic recovery in the United States has ushered in a new era of competition, as markets become a bit more saturated thanks to a greater range of opportunities than any other time since the recession. At the same time, demands in virtually every industry have transformed significantly in a relatively short period of time, as consumers and employees expect a more technologically advanced experience from the businesses they work for and frequent.
Communication and collaboration have been at the center of these transformations, to say the least, as almost every trend that has gained traction in the past few years has been specifically targeted at enhancing the connections between individuals and organizations. This is one of the many reasons why so many entities are expected to have 24x7x365 customer service and support capabilities from both their workforce members and clientele.
Unified communications has been one of the more important and progressive products of the information and communications technology revolution in the past few years, allowing companies to more seamlessly integrate all of their collaborative assets into one optimally functioning framework. Because mobility and other trends are intensifying so quickly, it would be difficult to imagine a business reaching the top of its market without UC in place.
Still growingComputer Weekly blog contributor Rob Bamforth recently argued that while UC has certainly been an important aspect of business communications for more than a decade now, it has not stopped moving upward with respect to mission-critical status. Remember that enterprise mobility is still somewhat of a young and burgeoning trend, while the Internet of Things is expected to have at least some impact on UC frameworks as it scales up over the next few years.
According to the author, one of the more prominent concepts to keep in mind here is that the individual solutions used to communicate, including video conferencing, voice over internet protocol phones, instant messaging and the like, are all evolving in their own rights. This means that leaders need to keep up with the progression to remain in the driver's seat as new options get released and made available for use.
However, Bamforth argued that this also translates to a more complex process of unification, which is the whole point of UC given the financial and operational benefits that accompany heavily integrated and cohesive collaboration solutions. When business leaders fail to properly intertwine their communications frameworks, the chances of disruption and poor user experiences will be inherently higher, but this can be avoided through a more persistent and informed approach to management.
Finally, the writer pointed out that mobile devices are already leading to more challenging territories for IT and UC managers, and that the sheer volume and diversity of endpoints will continue to create complexity in these environments. This does not necessarily mean that companies face a very steep uphill battle in the coming years, though, as options to alleviate some of the stress are readily available.
Maintaining controlBusiness leaders who are not entirely comfortable with and confident in their internal capabilities with respect to deploying, integrating, managing and optimizing UC solutions individually or as a unified framework should consider leveraging the support of a service provider. When trying to go it alone without the full range of necessary expertise and resources, these investments might not come back with optimal returns over time.
On the other hand, managed service providers can help ensure that the systems are functioning properly at all times, all the while taking the strain off of IT and UC departments in the organizations.