What Are Unified Communications?

Communicating through multiple applications might sound cumbersome but it is actually how most people communicate. Think about all of the ways you communicate and the different apps that must be used. There's the phone, which doesn't support email. So you need an app to use email. Messaging isn't in your email app or phone so yet another app is needed for messaging.

That's just for personal use. Businesses have far more complex communications needs. There's video conferencing, secure file sharing, visual voicemail, and more. Bringing all of these apps together is what unified communications are all about.

Unified communications is a suite of applications that consist of:

  • CRM
  • Messaging
  • Video calling and conferencing
  • Phone systems
  • Billing integration
  • Reporting
  • Call routing and management

Some businesses won't need all of the above features. Businesses can also start with a minimum feature set and add more features as the business grows.

Unified communications are provided as a service. There is no hardware that needs to be purchased. This is in contrast to just a few years ago when an on-site PBX was common. A PBX is basically a phone system inside of a business. It has to be installed by the phone company. Hardware is either purchased or leased from the phone company.

Unified communications turn the on-site PBX into a cloud-based PBX. Instead of spending money to have the local phone company install a PBX, the cloud service provider maintains all the hardware on their premises.

Because no hardware is sold or installed, the cost is far lower than that of an on-site PBX. Customers pay a flat monthly fee for the service and any technical support. Expanding the system to include a new employee is as simple as adding a new employee through the administration software, which is part of the application suite. The service provider doesn't need to come on-site and install any hardware or software, configure the employee's access, or even get involved in the process.

What Features Of The Unified Communications Suite Will Benefit Small Businesses?

Unified communications aren't just for large businesses. Many small businesses are utilizing the benefits of unified communications. There are some applications and features that small businesses will find useful.

Some small businesses use disparate applications for internal messaging and communications among employees. To use these applications, employees have to be in the office. If an employee is traveling, the only way to communicate with them might be through the phone.

Subscribing to a UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) provider can eliminate these problems. The UCaaS software is installed on each employee workstation. Additionally, a mobile app is provided. All employees will now be able to use the same application to communicate, no matter where they are. The mobile app will pick up any conversation where it was last left off.

Lots of small businesses are moving to dispersed teams. With these teams, employees can be scattered across the country. With UCaaS software, all an employee has to do is open the app on their personal computer or mobile phone. From there, they can join an existing messaging through or even video conference calls. Video conferencing is how many remote teams come together, since meeting in person isn't possible.

For doctor's offices, recording calls and controlling access to voicemail is important. Because of HIPAA regulations, these small businesses can't take any chances. With UCaaS software, customer calls are recorded and encrypted. Access to them and voicemails is strictly controlled to protect patient privacy.

To summarize the main points of this article:

  • Unified communications allow employees to communicate using one application no matter where they may be located.
  • A unified communications suite can be scaled up with features as the company grows.
  • Small business will find the ease of communications, video conferencing and security especially useful features.

Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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