What Are Unified Communications Solutions?

Communications come through many channels and keeping up with all of them can be overwhelming. There's social media, email, phone, voicemails, chat, video and the list goes on. For any business owner, the more communication channels you open up, the more you have to keep up with. How does one stay on top of it all? Unified communications solutions are the answer.

A unified communications solution brings all of your communications under one umbrella. Imagine using one application to access phone, voicemail, text, video, email and any other type of communication you can think of. The extent of communication integrations will depend on the service provider that you can choose.

Unified communications are popular with call centers. Given a large number of applications that call center reps to have to deal with, having one app to manage all of their communications is far easier than dealing with multiple applications.

Problems That Unified Communications (UCaaS) Can Help Your Business Solve

For many businesses, checking voicemail on the office phone means having to be in the office. Depending on the phone company, you might be able to remotely dial in and check your voicemail. But then there is email, which uses a different application. Your company might offer chat or video conferencing, which means yet even more applications.

Each of these different applications has different vendors. When something goes wrong, you have to seek out the right vendor for the app. Because these applications were created by different vendors, there's little chance that they will communicate with each other.

A unified system brings all of these different applications together in a service called UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service). UCaaS is an application that you can download and install on your desktop. Behind any unified communications, the solution is hardware and a team to manage it. Basically, you are getting a cloud-based PBX (private branch exchange) without all of the overhead.

Let's look more in detail at how a unified communications system works. We mentioned there is only one application to deal with. When you open this app, all of the communication channels you've set up will be available. Phone and voicemail are two of the primary channels virtually every business uses. You can view your phone history and read voicemail transcripts in the app.

These features will follow you around as well through the included mobile application. Most cloud-based communications providers offer a mobile application. If for some reason, you don't have access to the mobile app and the only email is available, you can still receive PDFs or MP3 attachments for voicemails.

Other features include virtual meetings. No need to download and install a completely separate app anymore. The unified communications application will display a history of your virtual meetings. During a virtual meeting, you have access to both audio and video. There are a chat, a whiteboard and the ability to upload files as well, making the entire experience very rich.

Email is also tied into the unified application. While it is great to have all of these different communications applications in one app, the integrations are another benefit. If you are reading emails and decide you want to speak to someone rather than reply, you can click a call button right in the email for that person. Depending on your settings, the call will be recorded and automatically transcribed, which allows for searching through the call's content.

For call centers, call routing, queueing, and IVRs are all part of a unified communication solution. The days of needing to install a PBX on-site are gone. Communications service providers manage all of the hardware at their location. The end product for customers is a software application and service to the backend hardware. For this, customers pay a much lower, monthly flat fee than if they had an on-site PBX.

To summarize the main points of this article:

  • Unified communications solutions allow companies to consolidate their communications into one app.
  • Unified communications solutions are cloud-based services
  • Using a unified communications solution cost less and is more productive than using multiple communications applications.

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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