By: Hugo Harber, Director of Convergence and Network Strategy, Star
Published: 18th January 2011
Copyright Star © 2011
Over the last two decades, technology innovation has brought the world closer together and has given people more ways to communicate with each other. While these changes have brought new heights in productivity and created a more mobile, global, and “always-on” world of work, this rapid transformation also created new challenges in today’s business environment.
Information workers and IT professionals are each struggling to manage multiple systems for communications—desktop and mobile phones, email and voicemail, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Instant Messaging, and web- and videoconferencing. While many of these individual communication tools are considered indispensible, they do not necessarily work well together to help people collaborate and increase their productivity. To foster efficient communication and collaboration within the workforce, organisations need a way to streamline both one-to-one and one-to-many communications, giving employees access to the information they need, when they need it.
Companies face high costs when using traditional communication methods. Long-distance charges, maintenance costs for fax and voicemail systems, and travel costs for employees all cut into company margins. Increasingly aware of the bottom line, organisations frequently look for more cost-effective means of communication and collaboration across all boundaries. But the new methods must be more than just cost-effective; they have to be fully accessible and user-friendly, and they should not trigger extra costs such as additional IT support or staff requirements. These issues lead to large IT departments and a inflated cost of ownership.
Working anytime, anywhere
Business communications are increasingly complex and require workers to manage multiple devices, applications, and face-to-face interactions in an attempt to stay productively connected with one another. As the information worker population shifts from working in headquarter locations to working anywhere, anytime, and across corporate boundaries, the challenge of reaching key decision makers in a timely manner increases. The inability to reach others at critical times results in numerous delays and lost productivity. Star has found that sometimes businesses slow down or even halt mission-critical projects due to employees’ inability to reach key decision-makers.
As soon as the challenges of this sort of person-to-person latency have been addressed, the challenge is raised to one of boosting the effectiveness of teams by improving collaboration. Unified Communications support such efforts by shifting communications, as appropriate, from asynchronous channels (email, voicemail) to synchronous modes like instant messaging, PC-to-PC audio and video, electronic white boarding, Web conferencing, application sharing, and mobile access.
Building blocks of Unified Comms
Unified Comms streamline communications
Unified Communications technologies streamline communications for end users, increase operational efficiency for IT professionals, and provide built-in protection for an organisation, while serving as a future-ready foundation to enable business process innovation.
For many end-users, communications take place in disparate, disconnected silos. For voice communications, you turn to the desktop or mobile phone. For email and instant messaging, you turn to your PC. With the multitude of applications and tools from which to communicate, end-users face a chaotic environment. WorkLife, Star’s managed communications platform, breaks down traditional silos and allows end-users to collaborate within the context of the desktop and mobile applications they use every day, with the ability to switch seamlessly between modes.
An organisation’s internal communications systems often consist of a set of diverse applications and capabilities, making it difficult for employees to use the various systems and equally challenging for the IT departments to deploy, manage, and maintain the systems—all of which leads to user frustration and high total cost of ownership for IT. Unified Communications simplifies the deployment and management of this infrastructure to make IT operations more efficient and reduce the frustration associated with disparate systems.
Increased productivity, fostering and collaboration
Unified Communications offers significant benefits to organisations, including increased individual and team productivity, fostering of collaboration, improved relationships, enhanced security, and enterprise-class scalability. By granting instant access to team members, partners, suppliers, and customers across geographies, time zones, and organisational boundaries, timely information can flow rapidly and efficiently. Organisations can improve team results by using Unified Communications to share ideas and information faster and more effectively.
Posted: 21st January 2011 | By Steve Edwards :
I could not agree more!!!! U.C. not only reduces overhead (IT, Training etc..) but increases productivity and gives the users control of their communication channels. We at the Live MarketPlace believe this so much we have implemented the same UC capabilities into our supply chain, thus creating the first Supply Chain Collaboration Network. Thank you for the information and input into this arena.
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