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5 Reasons Unified Communication Systems Is The Backbone Of The Enterprise

business phone systems Where once there existed a separate avenue for each business communication tool, they are now fully integrated within a single system referred to as a unified communications system. The extraordinary increase in efficiency that Unified communication systems provide to businesses is changing not only the pace of the market but the way business is conducted. Those already on board with this superior level of communication consider it the backbone of the enterprise. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. UC Caters to the Essential Component of Business

To begin with, every business has one thing in common – the need for communication. Just as a person cannot stand without a backbone, a business cannot thrive without communication. And the better this need is catered to, the more efficiently a business can operate. Regardless of the industry, the equation works out the same. Efficiency equals success. Unified communication systems have completely changed the way businesses operate. From small businesses to large enterprises, it’s a new-age technology that can be afforded and utilized by both to level out fields of communication.

2. Seamless Integration

A fast paced enterprise environment requires a suit of tools that enhance performance. With unified communication systems, every tool is brought together with seamless precision to create an application driven atmosphere that allows employees to effortlessly maneuver from one tool to the next. UC transcends technological barriers by merging the functionalities of VoIP phone systems with instant messaging, email, mobile phones, videoconferencing and more to create an enterprise operation that runs smooth from one task to another.

3. Wise Investment

Like any investment, the up-front cost can appear a tad intimidating. But, to put a spin on the old-age saying, a minute saved is a penny earned. The return on investment for unified communication systems can be found in the time it saves. According to one source, 49% of user organizations saved up to 20 minutes per employee each day just by utilizing the presence and IM feature of UC, which indicates when an employee is present at their desk so they can be reached the first time. Wasted time trying to track down a co-worker adds up. So do other communication barriers that can be otherwise streamlined with IM chat and web conferences.

4. Reduce Travel While Strengthening Relationship Development

Unified communication systems also alleviate the need for employees to travel as frequently as they once did without forfeiting the face-to-face meetings that develop into strong business relationships. With the use of videoconferencing and web conferencing, 68% of user organizations reported increased productivity within business transactions that take place in different geographic locations. These applications make getting to know out-of-town, out-of-state or out-of-country business relations easier than ever, fortifying loyalty and long-standing partnerships better than costly and less frequent trips in person.

5. Allow for Movement

The new-age way of conducting business has cut employees from their desks and unleashed them into a wide world full of possibility. With unified communication systems, their journey outside the confines of the office is not only made possible, but highly productive. Gone are the days when calls were missed because employees strayed from their desks. Now, mobile phones and devices are fully incorporated within unified communication applications to provide the same level of communication no matter where business takes you. One phone number, one voicemail and limitless access to the information and people that keep your business thriving.

The market is a competitive place, driven by ones ability to embrace new trends and apply them to out perform competition. Keep your company’s competitive edge sharp and your employees productive by investing in a  unified communication system. The move forward could save your business time through increase efficiency and assist in achieving the many goals that will keep your company successfully driving into the future.

About the Author

Scott Resnick is a business phone systems expert and President of Today’s Telecommunications Industries, LLC (TTI) in Houston, TX. To read more of Scott's expertise on NEC VoIP phone systems,  visit www.ttihouston.com/blog. 

Before You Make the Leap to VoIP

When thinking about switching to or starting VoIP services there are some things that you should think about that many people don’t. They mean the difference between crisp, reliable calls and choppy, dropped calls. VoIP uses the internet in a way that it wasn’t quite designed for and there are a few things that you want to make sure are right.

Consider your internet connection. Is it bad? Do you have frequent slow downs? Are you constantly downloading or browsing? Are multiple people using the connection? Most DSL lines are asynchronous. They receive more speed downloading than uploading. This works just fine for most internet activities. Your computer or tablet needs to receive far more information than it needs to send when playing games, checking email and just generally browsing. This is not true of a VoIP call. A VoIP uses the exact same amount of bandwidth in both directions.

Synchronous DSL (or cable, or fiber) provides the same bandwidth both coming and going so calls will sound good on both ends. Remember what YOU hear depends on your download speed, which is probably good, but what the CALLER hears is up to your upload speed (probably a little slow). Some unscrupulous providers will make sure downloading incoming calls gets priority while ignoring the upload of your outgoing calls. You can hear just fine so you’re happy, but anybody calling is annoyed at noise and choppiness.

Once you have the correct pipeline for your internet connection arranged you need to make sure that your VoIP lines are getting priority. It’s important that VoIP data packets are received in the correct order in as close to real time as possible. A properly set up Quality of Service (QoS) router will make sure that any data associated with your phone calls arrives at the other end on time and in the correct order without unduly sacrificing your other internet activities. It never hurts to give your VoIP and data lines two separate networks either.

As with all things there is only so much you can do to make sure that things work perfectly. Your VoIP provider has a responsibility to you to keep your phone lines up and running. This is often expressed in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The provider essentially says that their equipment will work at least some percentage of the time otherwise you get a partial refund for the month.

Most of the time this percentage is 99% or better. In everyday parlance we are used to 99% essentially meaning 100%, but in the literal world of an SLA 99% means that your phones could be down for up to 7 hours in a month and it would be completely acceptable. That 99% also doesn’t count planned maintenance or issues with your own equipment.

This is why it pays to understand the equipment that you need beforehand. If you set up your own equipment poorly or don’t manage your internet connection properly you will be stuck with a system that does not work and in many cases your service provider may not be able to help.

Most maintenance happens in the middle of the night though, and there’s no guarantee that those seven hours of possible downtime will happen at a time when it matters, or even at all.

99% is not necessarily a scam or a rip-off. No system is perfect and anyone who offers you 100% reliability is lying. You should understand what your SLA means so that you aren’t frustrated later though. Unrealistic expectations cause as much frustration as deception or misleading marketing. Knowing what you are supposed to be getting makes it far easier to bring grievance when you don’t get it.

There’s more to getting VoIP to work for you than just buying new phones. It can be a great business decision that saves you money and increases efficiency. It can also be a headache if you don’t have everything in order. Keep your eye on these things and you’ll be making things much smoother for yourself.

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About the Author

Eric D. is a technology and communications blogger for Affordable Communications. He is an explorer of the possibilities of a digitally connected real world.

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