Today, flexibility at work is one of the most critical factors contributing to job satisfaction, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency reports 20 million Americans actively choose to work part-time for more flexibility. A choice of work environment and location is now a key factor for many job seekers when searching for a better work-life balance and evaluating new career opportunities. (Source: FlexJobs). The idea is that more flexibility at work provides a more desirable work-life balance. As a result, this produces a higher quality of life and more productive, happier employees. While flexibility at work means many different things to many other people, the underlying theme revolves around individuals wanting the ability and support to work from anywhere and at any time when it’s in harmony with their schedule. This could be in the form of flexible workspaces, remote working options, or flexible hours. To provide this level of flexibility at work, enterprises are looking to Unified Communication & Collaboration (UC&C) platforms and applications that empower the mobile and connected worker. So, the million-dollar question for enterprises and SMEs alike is, does one UC&C platform fit all? And, will it provide the flexible work environment we all crave?
While the short answer may be no, looking deeper into the UC&C market, there’s more to the story. Despite some growing pains, business leaders today see unified communication and collaboration platforms as one of the best ways to optimize business communications across the enterprise cost-effectively. To see how this technology might impact organizations of all shapes and sizes, let’s dive into a couple of critical considerations.
- Similar business objectives, different scale- Whether an organization has five employees or 500; employers are looking for the same thing when it comes to UC&C technologies. They want a productive and connected workforce empowered with communication tools that focus on the task. That could include enterprise-grade business phone services, access to simplified virtual meetings, video conferencing, mobile apps, whiteboarding capabilities, etc. It also includes giving employees access to these tools whether they are working remotely, from home, or mobile, anywhere across the globe.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a top priority for all – Leading organizations of all sizes have an eye on the bottom line and TCO regarding technology. UC&C platforms help lower TCO because they shrink the high operating and capital expenses of out-of-date, wired technology. Most UC&C solutions today also let companies adopt a pay-as-you-go model, which is more cost-effective.
- Streamlined access from any device- Unified communication and collaboration systems fit into today’s global and mobile work environment because they ensure a consistent user experience across all communication channels. Whether employees are working remotely or on-the-road, they can access all the productivity and communication tools they need to be productive. UC&C systems offer a unified platform that’s centrally managed and accessible by employees. For instance, VoIP phones and mobile apps are used on smartphones, laptops, and tablets for secure communication through voice, text, audio conferencing, online meetings, etc. For example, suppose a customer places an order online and wants to modify that order by calling customer service. In that case, they may still want an email confirmation of that change and a text message alerting them to the new delivery schedule. Whether an employee is working at a remote contact center or from a home office or coffee shop across the globe, that account manager should be able to manage that situation intuitively and quickly as if they were working from the corporate office. That is achieving job satisfaction and delivering an excellent customer experience− all empowered by a UC&C platform.
- UC&C-as-a-service is universal- With UC&C-as-a-service, communication and collaboration tools are delivered by a service provider through a cloud-based model. These services offer extreme flexibility by having characteristics such as self service web portals for management, conditioning and reporting by delivering the applications from a common platform. They are also faster to install because there is opportunity to have the infrastructure deployed and maintained offsite. Organizations of all sizes can benefit from centralized management capabilities that allow IT to make system-wide modifications, with proper privileges, and employees to ‘self-serve’ and customize service options—without the need to involve IT in every request. When delivered through a cloud-based platform, businesses can often link into popular business applications with built-in integrations to popular applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Google. Many platforms also offer analytics capabilities to see real-time data and trends across the business. A startup might use these insights to track customer trends and habits and add resources as needed. An enterprise might use this data for R&D or respond to new business opportunities more quickly than ever before. A centralized platform and built-in integrations also reduce the dependence on internal IT teams, which leaves them free for other priorities.
While not all unified communication platforms or business requirements are the same for SMBs and large enterprises, they generally run parallel. UC&C platforms emerged as a significant game-changer—their ability to transform employees into a connected and productive team regardless of the organization’s size. Today’s premium UC&C platforms and those offered as a service are incredibly modular, meaning they can scale to sync with the size and priorities of an organization. This gives companies a significant advantage in delivering that coveted sense of workplace flexibility while delighting customers along the way. CTG has been working within the UC&C industry for over 20+ years. Let’s evaluate your current set-up and see if a UC&C platform will work for your business. Contact us today!