Unified Communications and Collaboration
The real definition of Unified Communications is dynamic, and changes with every organization. At its most basic, one could say that Unified Communications is “communications integrated to optimize business processes.” A more verbose definition might purport that Unified Communications is the integration of real-time services, like telephony and instant messaging, with non-real-time service, like voice messaging and email. The habits and needs of the corporate workforce serve to accurately emphasize the correct UC strategy.
One might think that a facet of Unified Communications is a powerful collaboration solution, like audio and web conferencing. It is more accurate to say, however, that a well-defined UC architecture creates an environment where collaboration is more fluid. When employees are working together to achieve a common goal (like making the sale, winning the case, or diagnosing the problem) unifying the tools available gives them a UC solution that has greater effectiveness than the tools individually.
When trying to communicate with a particular colleague one might call their desk phone, call their cell phone, send them an instant message, send them a text message, and send them an email. Each of these tools, on their own, provides a vital connection to the employee. With so many different modes of communication available that colleague may now have two voice messages, an unacknowledged instant message and text message, and a new email. They now have five different avenues from which to reply, from five different failed attempts at communication.
When unified, this scenario would play out differently. What if that colleague’s desk phone and cell phone rang simultaneously? What if, upon reaching their voice mail, that voice message could be sent automatically via text, email, or instant message? What if that voice message could be transcribed to text for the user?
A true UC solution takes the enterprise tools available and allows them to work together seamlessly.