How to Use Unified Communications to Achieve Large-Scale Capabilities - 1

Unified communications is the integration of communication services such as e-mail, telephony, instant messaging, calendars, and directory services. Unified communications solutions that are hosted and delivered as a service can bring the capabilities of unified communications to small and midsize businesses. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Jonathan McCormick explains how unified communications improves collaboration while reducing the cost of communications that are vital to the operations of small and midsize businesses.

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While many small and midsize businesses say they need a unified communications (UC) solution to help their business achieve maximum potential and better compete with larger organizations, the term "UC" can bring to mind notions of IT headaches and complexity.

Having to manage relationships with multiple vendors for various communications systems can be not only overwhelming but also time-intensive and challenging from an IT management perspective. Additionally, SMBs want to decrease the time needed to make smarter business decisions across departments and people.

In today's competitive environment, employees don't have the time and resources to check voice mails, hunt for contact information and look to see if other employees are present and available. Moreover, the installation and upkeep of traditional communications systems such as phone PBXs is expensive.

UC has far too long been a capability enjoyed by larger enterprises due to the complexity around the various vendors involved. But hosted UC solutions can bring the capabilities and benefits of UC to SMBs, allowing them to enjoy boosted business productivity with low cost and simplified management.

To eliminate any misinterpretations, let's define what UC actually means and outline how it can positively impact the operations, performance and success of a SMB's core business activities.