Over the lifetime of your business, your telephone system will be called upon to undergo a number of changes, to keep pace with both physical and market conditions.
Your business may expand or diversify for any number of reasons - seasonal demand, an increase in staff numbers, a relocation to larger premises, or a move into regional or international markets.
A UC platform will help you cope with all of these conditions and ease the processes of scaling up, as your business develops and grows. Here's how.
Ease of Management and Scaling
From the outset, a Unified Communications platform will enable you to change the scale of your business telephone system, to suit your existing needs. UC platforms have IP (Internet Protocol) telecommunications at their core - and this technology has flexibility and ease of management built in.
With accounts and telephony features assigned and created virtually, using digital information and software, technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) make it possible for you to add the precise number of users, lines, and channels that you require, with a few clicks on the web-based administrative software panel that gives you governance of the system.
If you're hosting some, or all, of the UC infrastructure at your business premises, your IT department will have a single point of access to manage the elements of your communications environment. And if you go for a cloud-hosted solution or a subscription to "UC as a Service", responsibility for infrastructure and management issues will be transferred to your service provider, freeing your in-house IT team to concentrate on growing your business.
Mixing Real-time and Conventional Communications
Unified Communications converts your business telephone system into a wide-ranging environment, combining real-time and more conventional or deferred methods of messaging and communication.
Voice telephony, email, voicemail, SMS text and Instant Messaging, web and video conferencing may be used in conjunction with presence tools, to ensure that no matter how large or widespread your organisation becomes, your people can always remain in touch with your customers and each other.
Furthermore, UC makes the integration between these various communication methods seamless. So workers referring to a presence panel can easily determine which channel is most appropriate to direct a message or customer query to the person best qualified to deal with it. And they can switch directly from a delayed method of communication such as email, to a real-time phone or video call, as the situation demands.
Access From Anywhere
Your business may expand globally, in a number of ways. For example, you might wish to open branch offices in various locations within and outside the UK. You might enter an international partnership or merger agreement, or recruit new talent from different countries.
In any event, your business telephone system will need to be adaptable enough to accommodate these new locations or hires.
With a Unified Communications solution, you can be sure that every member of your organisation will have instant access to your business telephone system day or night, and from any location across the globe where there's a viable cellular network or internet connection.
UC platforms are accessible via mobile apps on the major operating systems - a real benefit for home-based, travelling, remote, or international staff. These mobile capabilities are also an advantage if you're operating a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme.
And "anytime, anywhere" access also ensures that your business telephone system - and your business - remain accessible to your customers and supply chain partners, 24/7.
In addition, UC and IP telephony providers like LG Networks have security and backup measures in place to ensure that your business network stays available, even in the event of power outages, downtime, extreme weather and other disasters.
Improved Collaboration and Efficiency
Increased staff numbers or a greater number of sites can put pressure on your business telephone system and your communications capabilities in general, to ensure that your workers can stay in touch - both with your office and each other.
Instant Messaging and chat applications, together with improved voice and video conferencing capabilities, presence panels, and advanced call handling features will enable your staff to engage in real-time and deferred communications. Unified Communications marries these capabilities with collaboration tools, web-based resources and document-sharing platforms to enhance their ability to collaborate on group projects and to get things done more quickly.
With a UC system combining your own office productivity software, cloud and mobile applications and the multitude of features available on a VoIP platform, there are also numerous ways for you to increase your productivity and improve your business operations.
Improved Customer Service
Using presence tools to know which of your staff are available at which times, and taking advantage of the call routing, forwarding, recording, and message handling services of a Unified Communications system powered by IP telephony, it's possible to improve the speed and quality of your customer service operations.
Cloud-based UC resources will ensure that your service and help desks are reachable by your customers, around the clock. And with tools like the Auto-Attendant (providing electronic receptionist services), customisable greetings, menu options, and the ability to use call or transaction records to optimise customer service delivery and problem resolution, you'll also be in a position to extend your customer-facing aspect as your consumer base grows.
Finally, a Unified Communications system will probably end up saving you money, in both the short and longer term - even as your business expands.
The minimal capital outlay for hardware and infrastructure (especially with a cloud-hosted solution) is just the start. With a UC subscription or managed service, maintenance and management costs are minimal. And using VoIP or SIP technologies, your business telephone system will incur reduced call rates, while giving you an escalation in available tools and features.
If you'd like to know more about how Unified Communications (UC) can help in scaling up your business - or how you can get the most out of your business telephone system - contact the experts at LG Networks.