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How can enterprises excel with unified communications?

January 08, 2016 by Valerie Meffert

The unified communications trend has reached a pinnacle of adoption and understanding in the private and public sectors, with a growing majority of businesses leveraging Voice over Internet Protocol phone services and other tools to modernize their collaboration capabilities. However, many leaders might be wondering how they can take these investments to the next level and excel past their competitors with respect to collaboration and innovation.

While the tools used are more diverse than ever before, and decision-makers can choose from a proverbial universe of options for each type of UC solution, the technology itself is somewhat difficult to leverage as a competitive differentiator among users. Rather, business strategies will tell the tale of whether the UC frameworks are moving above and beyond the standards in the field and into more robust, next-generation territory, and this is why planning is so important.

In the coming years, there will be plenty more to gain from UC, especially with globalization spreading so rapidly and a wider range of enterprises taking their brands into new territories. Video conferencing, mobility, text messaging and VoIP will remain central to the strategies of many, and taking a unique approach to utilization can go a long way toward boosting the overall impact of these solutions on a given company's bottom line, especially when the right service providers are in the picture.

Lessons in alignment One of the fundamental aspects of maximizing return on any communication or IT investment is the alignment of those solutions to core business objectives, as failure to do so will threaten the experience users have with the tools. TechTarget contributor Jon Arnold recently listed suggestions regarding the purchase of UC solutions, affirming that there are several considerations that transcend the product selection itself, including those related to implementation.

This is among the most important matters to remember when moving through the process of creating an initial UC strategy, as firms must ensure that the products chosen will be properly integrated and configured. According to the author, businesses should be looking for service providers that can adequately handle their needs from the initial planning stages onward, and those that have good track records when it comes to client relationship management.

There are plenty of options out there that would simply provide out-of-the-box equipment and software at a lower price point, but viewing these investments in the long term is far more advantageous given the benefits related to reliability and functionality across the business. What's more, Arnold noted that the deployment model will need to be a specific focus, with companies choosing between wholly on-premise and cloud, or hybrid models that bring the more desirable parts of each together.

At the end of the day, he pointed out that the most important matter here is to understand what the business objectives and needs entail before beginning a relationship with a provider.

More diversification to come Currently, UC is very much a buyer's market, as demand has increased competition among vendors and diversified the options available to enterprises today. This is evidenced by plenty of reports that have been released in the past few years regarding the rapid expansion of the UC industry.

For example, Grand View Research recently released a study that predicted the UC market to be valued at roughly $75.8 billion globally in 2020, following a compound annual growth rate of 16.3 percent between last year and the end of the decade. As such, leaders should not settle on the first option they find, but rather work hard to identify they best possible vendor and solutions for their specific needs.

Valerie Meffert
Valerie Meffert

Having written for companies ranging from MTV and CBS to the Winter Olympic Games and Reuters, Valerie heads up ThinkingPhones' communications and PR machine. At the risk of dating herself, she'd like to point out that her MTV tenure occurred during the Carson Daly era—she takes no credit (nor blame) for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." A resident of Park City, UT, Valerie enjoys the four things her town is most famous for: hiking, skiing, film festivals, and weak beer.

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