The unified communications market has evolved significantly in the past two decades, rising from its foundation in IP telephony and rapidly branching out to encompass virtually every type of collaboration possible. Business leaders have been aggressive in their adoption and use of these modern technologies, and employees have been empowered beyond what would have been imaginable only a short time ago, regardless of where they might be at any given moment in the work day.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then the quick globalization of market economies and demand for the ability to work from anywhere at any time would likely be the main drivers of this increasing investment in UC tools. Going a step further, the average business remains on the hunt for the most agile, affordable and reliable solutions available to ensure that its customers can reach representatives and others with ease and convenience, further stimulating UC growth.
Small business owners will often have a proverbial universe of advantages to gain from the use of UC solutions, especially when the technology is based in cloud computing environments, as they are under more stringent demands regarding budget and management. With the right managed service provider, UC can be a boon to enterprise operations and collaboration, helping companies step into the modern era of employee and customer demands.
A closer lookCIO Magazine blog contributor Josh Erwin recently reported that a key driver in the UC market has been mobility and, more specifically, remote work and telecommuting, given the growing popularity of these programs across industries and regions. The average workforce member increasingly expects unbound collaboration access, meaning the ability to communicate with teammates and others using advanced technologies, and this demands plenty of attention to detail on UC frameworks.
According to the author, one study revealed that nearly eight out of every 10 employees function professionally from locations outside of the physical workplace regularly, to the tune of about once a week or more. This has been made possible by more elastic information and communications technologies that allow businesses to grant remote workers access to core infrastructure, mission-critical apps, data and UC frameworks.
Erwin pointed out that while many companies are indeed adopting UC solutions, including instant messaging and video conferencing tools, the onus really needs to be placed on the unification at this point. After all, the whole point of UC is to connect the more popular modes of communication for more seamless management and user experiences, and if a company does not put any focus on these somewhat complex processes, it will be unlikely to enjoy optimal results.
Finally, Erwin noted that virtual conference rooms are likely to be a major pressure point for businesses in the coming years, with the goal being to open up the doors to even more powerful remote worker functionality.
What to considerSmall business owners will often need a bit more assistance in the selection, implementation, integration, maintenance, management and optimization of modern ICT solutions, including those attached to UC. Rather than trying to only provision out-of-the-box options that are labeled as being ready to use, the best option might be to leverage the support of a managed service provider that can take care of the more technical aspects involved.
This will protect investments from the threat of poor usability or a lack of proper integration, each of which can stifle returns relatively quickly and disrupt productivity in the process. Reliable MSPs can ensure that every component is functioning properly and working to the greatest advantage of each department within the company.